My experiences with the next generation of gaming consoles

First and foremost i know I said I wasn’t sure if I’d even get a PlayStation 4 yet alone an Xbox One, yet here I am. I had already paid off the PlayStation 4 and I only owed less than half for the Xbox One, so I traded in one of my Xbox 360’s for a decent amount at Gamestop (Who I might add actually gave a decent amount thanks to the 30% bonus towards a trade in for either of the next gen consoles) so it was a no-brainer to just finish paying it off. So yes I do own both consoles a a small amount of games across both systems, I know what I said and that’s the last we’ll speak of this, ok?

Alright now this isn’t a review, it isn’t a chance to start a flame war or anything like that. I’m just putting out there my experiences and what I’ve been enjoying so far. I’m not a fan-boy by any stretch of the imagination and if you were to ask me what my favorite or platform of choice would be, I’d promptly tell you “PC” and move about my business. I won’t be talking about how the hardware works, which is superior, etc….. If you want that, go read about that elsewhere, these are my opinions. I’m not trying to sway your decision or force you hand, it’s you money and not mine. You do what you want with your cash and I’ll do the same.

Be forewarned, it’s a long, long read.

playstation_4

So I’ve had my PlayStation 4 since launch day and with it I managed to pick up Knack, Need for Speed: Rivals, Killzone: Shadow Fall, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes and Madden 25, which was supposed to be NBA2k14 but the person at Target screwed me over, Resogun and Contrast since they both were free via the PlayStation Network. I wasn’t too thrilled when I found out that Drive Club was pushed back until 2014 as that was really my main reason for a PlayStation 4, however EA equalized that when they pushed up the release date for NFS:Rivals and also the reports that I seen that NFS:Rivals supposely ran like crap on the PC. It was almost like EA sabotaged the PC version of the game to get more console sales which didn’t sit right for me and hey who was I to argue about it, I needed a racer.

All in all I’ve enjoyed the PS4 but I won’t lie and say it’s been all bliss as it hasn’t been. Sure I  haven’t had any issues with the system and the experience so far has been seamless, I’m willing to say I’ve enjoyed the PS4 over the Xbox One in many aspects except one; the games. For the gate the PS4 has suffered with a drought more so than it’s competition has. Yes it does have a healthy selection of games but many of these games are 3rd party titles and can be played on the Xbox One or even the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.  It’s a disappointment but it’s not a game breaker and if anything it’s helped me decide that the PS4 will be my multiple platform system of choice, meaning all 3rd party games that come out for both next generation systems will be purchased for the PS4. So with that out of the way I’ve been playing the hell out of Resogun, a truly amazing gem and one filled with nostalgia (Those who grew up playing Defender will understand) and Need for Speed: Rivals and its perhaps the best NFS title I’ve played since NFS: Hot Pursuit. 

I’m not entirely sure why I picked up Killzone as I’ve been extremely picky on playing FPS games on a controller and I’ve been like this for some time. The only exception to this rule has been the Halo series and likely the upcoming Destiny. Though all is not lost as I’ve opened the game so I can’t return it, basically forcing myself to play it, eventually. Knack hasn’t been stellar as far as platforming games go, it’s pretty basic. Sure it’s very eye pleasing but as far as game play goes it’s pretty cut and dry but it does have some intriguing elements that give it some personality. Not what I was expecting but it isn’t a failure in my eyes.  Madden 25 hasn’t been touched but for good reason, it’s going back as soon as Target gets some damned copies of NBA2k14 for the PS4. And seeing how Black Friday has just pasted, the chance that Target or any store for that matter hasn’t been picked dry would be akin to finding an oasis in a desert. It’s possible but not very likely.  As for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, well I have just have one word for it, FREAKING FANTASTIC. Oh wait, that’s two words, oh well. Sure it’s a 3rd party title but between my kids and myself, this game has had the most playtime by far. There’s so many favorite heroes to play with and it’s just so much fun to play. 

As for the PlayStation 4’s hardware, yes it’s a sight to be hold. As a technology nut it’s a sexy piece of hardware, a bit of a finger print magnet but extremely well done. Since that doesn’t really matter to me as it sits in my entertainment system and other than popping a game in it (if It isn’t in digital format) then I likely won’t see much of the system. The Dual Shock 4 controller definitely feels better when holding it compared to the Dual Shock 3. You hands are further apart than cramped and the analog sticks are more comfortable thanks to the dimple on them. The controller is as a tad lighter compared to it’s previous version and thankfully the L2/R2 triggers are longer and feel more responsible. The DS4 is a vast improvement over the the DS3, loving it. Now if Sony would only give us native PC drivers. 

xbox-One

On the other hand we have the Xbox One and just two games to go with it, namely Forza Motorsport 5 and Killer Instinct (2013).  Oh then there’s the Kinect, a topic of many heated discussions. While compared to the PlayStation 4 the Xbox One, technologically speaking is the weaker of the two, which is something that constantly comes up and apparently it is the ultimate deciding factor on which system is the best. Seemingly those who think like this haven’t been paying attention to either the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 throughout the years. The visuals that both those console are still putting out only shows that the battle is going to be waged and won by software and who learns the systems the best. I could understand if it was a vast difference between the two systems but there really isn’t, so let’s just let the software do the talking and we just enjoy the ride. So back to the games and in my case a very slim selection of games. Since I already had the 3rd party games I wanted on the PlayStation 4, that left me with two exclusives on the Xbox One which was fine by me. 

If you know me you’d know that Killer Instinct from way back in the day was one of my favorite fighters. I lived, ate and breathed it, mainly due to me working in an arcade for 3 years of my life (those were the days). So when a follow up / remake of the game was finally announced I knew I had to have the game, no matter the cost and in this situation the cost was $499.99. After following Killer Instinct and now finally able to play I am glad that it turned out like it did, game-play wise. It plays decently, the system has a vast tutorial to get you into fighting form and the net code is amazing. What I don’t like about the game is that there is no physical copies of it and that’s huge seeing how I’m pro digital distribution. I can appreciate an all digital format but if you can offer a physical format for those who like their physical discs then you should offer it. I also don’t like how they handle the micro-transactions, seriously that’s not the way to get your game sold. Lastly what’s with the character releases? Why give us most of the original crew and not give us Fulgore, TJ Combo or Cinder. For that fact is TJ Comb or Cinder even coming to the game? Finally where is the “Arcade Mode”? Other than selecting  versus and changing select 1 vs CPU or survial mode, there’s no way to play against the computer to hone those combos or get a feel of fighting other than going online or having someone playing with you. However despite those issues I’m having a blast playing the game with my daughter and online.

That leaves me with Forza Motorsport 5, a title which I feel is more a “Look what I can do” and could have easily been done on the Xbox 360, similar to what happened with Gran Turismo 6. That said it is a beauty title and if you’re a fan of fast cars and intoxicating exhaust tones then this game won’t disappoint. It’s more or less what Forza Motorsport 4 was albit with less cars and tracks, which is a bad thing in that retrospect but as far as a next generation title goes and if you’ve never played the previous Forza title then those missing cars or tracks won’t mean a thing. Heck they don’t mean a thing to me now. Sure I know we’ll end up getting those tracks and new ones via DLC for a price, everyone knows this. Sadly it’s descent into micro-transactions that many games are experiencing and while I don’t agree with this it won’t be changing unless the industry as a whole chances. I actually touched on this in a previous article regarding the DLC model (Link), check it out and see if you agree with me. As far as game play is concerned, well let’s just say I have a cousin who’s a auto mechanic and a bit of a car nut, but aren’t all mechanics. He’s actually got a chance to drive cars I’ve dreamed that I could and when he came over and found out I had the game, he basically locked himself in the room for several hours and came away as very impressed. A solid winner that game is. Oh, screw those Drivatars. Some of your racers out there need to learn how to drive, seriously.

Hardware wise, the Xbox One is a damned box. A big ugly box, similar to an old school VCR, it’s not very attractive to look at at the least. The controller on the other hand is very nice, especially the L2/R2 triggers. The bumpers also provide subtle feedback thanks to rumble packs being built into them, not many games take advantage of this yet but it’s a nice feature and I hope it takes off .I’ve heard a lot of people complaining that the L1/R2 bumpers are hard to press, which I haven’t found that to be true and I’m willing to bet that those who are complaining about it are holding the controller wrong. When a 5 year old can press them without issues, well that’s saying something.  I’m definitely impressed with the controller but there’s a negative, a minor negative but still needs to be mentioned. The controller uses batteries, not a battery pack but batteries. Compared to the Dual Shock 4 it appears outdated with no built in battery. Sure you can pick up a charge and play kit but I would also like to throw in there that Nyko makes a really decent package that includes 2 rechargeable batteries and a charger cradle for $29.99. I definitely recommend it, keeps you charged, in the game and as a bonus it’s somewhere to put the controller when you’re finished with it / them. 

And then there’s the Kinect 2.0, the scourge of gamers or so you’re implied to believe. Honestly after setting up my Xbox One and getting it the way I want it I can say that while the Kinect is still a gimmick for gaming as an add-on /appliance I’ve enjoyed it so far. I’ve got myself, my son and my daughter setup on it and I find myself enjoying the fact that when either one of us walk into the gaming room that it recognizes us and greets us. I don’t know about you but that’s the exact thing I’ve been waiting for period. Sure I expected it on a PC or in a house of the future but it works just as well on a console. It’s not without it’s issues as it’s clearly a work in process and it doesn’t work most of the time, I do feel once Microsoft gets all the kinks out of it and software rolls around then maybe gamers will embrace it. Maybe!  But having a camera in the living room has been amazing, I’ve setup Skype on it and I’ve played with it by calling my computer and even taking my tablet and taking a while around the block all the while having a conversation with my kids via the Kinect, having them see everything that I saw. 

 So there you go, both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the edge going to the Xbox One for enjoyment thanks to Killer Instinct and Forza for me but if you ask my children they would say they enjoyed the PlayStation 4. But that’s the beauty of opinions, everyone has one and it’s in the eye of the beholder to why they feel that way.  How about you? Which next generation console do you current enjoy and what upcoming titles / current titles are the reason for that? I’d love to know.

About The Author

Keith Mitchell
Editor-in-chief and all-around good guy!

Keith Mitchell is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Outerhaven. A grizzled IT professional during the day, but a passionate lover of video games after his 9-5 grid. Loves playing the Dark Souls series and has been gaming since he was 6 years old. You can find him on Twitter as @Shadowhaxor or you can email her at keith.mitchell@theouterhaven.net.