Nov 212013

With the PS4 coming out last week, the Xbox One coming out tomorrow, and the Wii U getting its biggest game of the year (Super Mario 3D World) tomorrow as well, I thought it would be fun to reflect on the previous generation as well as look to the future.

I started out the last generation with the Xbox 360. Although it’s easy to forget now, the system had a wealth of quality exclusive RPGs early on in 2007 & 2008. There was Blue Dragon & Lost Odyssey from Mistwalker, Eternal Sonata and Tales of Vesperia from Namco, and Mass Effect from Bioware, in addition to multi-platform games like Fallout 3. More importantly for us personally, in 2008, the Xbox 360 really kicked off the modern indie era with games like Braid & Castle Crashers along with the Xbox Live Indie Games Service which allowed anyone who owned a 360 to make & sell games for the system. This eventually resulted in the start of Zeboyd Games with some text games released in 2009 and Breath of Death VII & Cthulhu Saves the World in 2010.

I picked up a Wii as soon as I was able to find one in stock (which I did by stumbling upon an employee at Target who was carrying one to store in the display case). Although the Wii had many good games, there were few standout titles for me. I enjoyed the early controller showcases from Nintendo in the form of Wii Sports & Warioware and I LOVED the Trauma games on the system (with Trauma Team being a personal favorite) but games like Zelda: Skyward Sword & Xenoblade turned out to be disappointments.

Finally, I picked up a PS3 a few years ago. Since buying the PS3, it’s become my favorite system with the most exclusive RPGs these days (like the Atelier series, Ni no Kuni, and later Tales games) and plenty of fun, quirky titles like Tokyo Jungle and Puppeteer. And with the addition of PS+, it’s redefined how I purchase games – before I would commonly buy games that I wasn’t sure about after they hit the bargain bin, but now I just wait for them to show up free in PS+.

So that’s the previous generation. How’s the new generation stacking up?

Not planning on getting an Xbox One at the moment. The flood of RPGs that the Xbox 360 received early on has long since dried up and it doesn’t look like it’s coming back to the Xbox One. Mistwalker abandoned the 360 when they canceled Cry On, Namco-Bandai is now firmly in the Playstation camp (Tales of Graces F & Xillia 1 & 2 on the PS3 and a recently announced PS4 Tales game in the works), and everybody else seems to have jumped ship to the portable systems or is making their games multiplatform.  Everyone’s got an indie initiative now (and in fact, the PS4 seems to be in the lead now) so they’ve lost that advantage as well. I do all of my TV watching via Hulu & Netflix (and we already have over half a dozen devices that will play both) & I’m not much of a FPS or sports fan so Xbox One doesn’t really offer me anything at the moment.

I got a Wii U when it came out and I’ve enjoyed it a lot BUT man the post-release drought was brutal. The Wii U gamepad is more of a gimmick than the Wii remote ever was (which actually was put to good use with certain games) but at least it’s hard for developers to mess things up with it. New Super Mario Bros. U was great fun (and I say this as someone who didn’t like the Wii game), Zombi U was an interesting experiment, and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (though not exclusive) was the best kart racer I’ve played in years, but then there was over half a year where big titles got delayed and next to nothing came out on the system. Now things are looking up – The Wonderful 101 is a great game, Wind Waker HD is the best version of one of the best Zelda games, and I can’t wait for the new Mario game on Friday – but third party support still looks grim. At least, Nintendo’s output this generation is looking to be of much higher quality than it was on the Wii.

Finally, I was able to get a PS4 at a drastically reduced price (aka Sony sent us a free one and we split the cost of a second PS4 between the two of us so we’d both get one) and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. The controller is a noticeable improvement over previous Playstation controllers (and unlike some people, I never thought previous Playstation controllers were bad), the user interface & Playstation store are faster & more aesthetically pleasing, and I absolutely adore how you can use headphones for all game audio (great for me since I do most of my console playing at night and don’t want to interrupt people sleeping). PS4 -> Vita remote play works really well with a direct wireless connection and I’m looking forward to using it for horror games so my daughters don’t walk in on me. Though it’s not really my thing, I can see how the PS4’s built-in streaming functions are going to be very popular and should help many games to go viral and sell more than they would have otherwise.

Most of the games I’ve played on it have been multi-platform releases – Contrast is okay but felt like a missed opportunity, Warframe (F2P co-op shooter) was kind of fun but looks like it’ll be REALLY grindy, and Need for Speed Rivals is fantastic. The one exclusive game I’ve played for the PS4, Resogun, is amazing. Calling it the next Geometry Wars is doing it a disservice. Resogun takes the good parts of the old classic Defender, eliminates the problems, increases the intensity, adds multiple stages & difficulty levels, several different enemy types, different playable ships, and wraps the whole thing up with some fantastic visuals & audio. Like any good shmup, Resogun makes you feel powerful when you’re doing well and makes you want to strive to do better when you fail. Resogun is the killer game for the PS4’s launch.

It might be too early to recommend a purchase of any of the new consoles quite yet though. The Wii U is great if you like Nintendo games, but not good for much else; the PS4 has a lot of potential but needs more quality exclusives, and the Xbox One is the most expensive of the bunch without having any killer launch games (though I hear Forza & Dead Rising are both pretty good if you like those series). In any case, this should prove to be an interesting generation to watch – will the Wii U make a comeback? Will the Xbox One succeed despite the high price tag? Was the gamer focus of the PS4 a wise decision in our new smartphone & tablet world? Stay tuned!

 Posted by at 10:31 am

  5 Responses to “The Previous and Next Generations of Consoles”

  1. You didn’t try Monster Hunter out on Wii U???? 🙁

  2. I’m in a similar situation as you were. Last gen, I got a 360 for Rock Band, along with the exclusive RPGs and I opt for multiplatform RPGs on the 360. I got a Wii when I could find one, although I haven’t been disappointed by any games I did play, though they were few. I only got a PS3 this year, because they finally had enough exclusives (Tales, Ni No Kuni, Atelier) to make the price worth it (and my buy in rule is 5 games and $200 generally).

    This generation is a quandary. The Wii U has lacked enough games for my buy in, but it looks like its getting there now that Mario 3D World is out. They still need a Zelda and a Metroid for me to buy in though. I have some issues with Nintendo as a company- with the online and account systems that I still dont trust will be fixed despite next months patch. I want to want a Wii U though.

    The PS4 and Xbone are different. I know better than buying hardware out the gate as it is, so I wouldn’t buy one till next year at the earliest, assuming one or both have games I actually want. Hardware-wise, I’m more interested in the PS4. Price-wise and consumer-friendliness, again I want the PS4. But game-wise, neither of them have anything I want, and no scheduled releases I want. Out of every game there is for either system, the only game that interests me at all is Xbox Fitness, because I’m hoping that P90X with the Kinect 2 is actually something amazing. But its not worth 500$ to me, and the privacy invasion that the Xbone comes with.

    In the end, I know that in 2 or 3 years I will likely own all three systems. But right now, I can’t justify any of them. So by the time there are enough games to sell me on any of them, I expect there will likely have been several price drops already. Much like games, I know by the time I get to them, they’ll already be $20, so why buy them new? (Unless its Bethesda. I always buy and play Bethesda games on release day).

  3. I had the exact same experience as you with the xbox 360. It was my first console this last generation. I wanted it for Lost Odyssey, Tales of, and Blue dragon. The other games came out after I bought it. Then it just kind of went kaput in the rpg area. A few more released for it, but they kind of sucked, and that was it. Then I snagged a ps3, and didn’t look back for rpg’s.

    As for the Wii U, it is my next console, as of next month. Number one, I won’t buy new tech at launch. You are just asking for trouble if you do. Two, I am interested in the super nintendo games they will be releasing. With Earthbound and Breath of Fire 2 out on it now, I am hoping they move on to far more games like Lufia 1 and 2, Blazing Souls i think it was called, Paladins Quest, and many other games from my childhood. I am also really hoping to get the Misadventures of Spike McFang.

    I am tired of dark and gritty games with tons of killing. The Wii U gives me a ton of games that sate my urge to play more colorful games, plus I bought Zelda already, and am getting Wonderful 101, and I am going all out when they finally bring out Bayonetta 2, X, and Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem. I think Nintendo is going to get on a roll soon. They are in a league all their own, and its up to big third parties to decide if they want to dance. I honestly don’t care myself, Nintendo is so unique, I would rather they stay the way they are than sway to big third party publishers and game developers to try to conform to the other two consoles.

    Just to throw this out there, I rather enjoyed Xenoblade =) My only gripe was the lack of a quest hub in each questing area. having to chase people down all the time got old.

  4. I’m a little disappointed in the failure of the Wii U in terms of sales, it just seems like the wii brought in many casual gamers, but many of those gamers are now mobile and facebook gamers.

    If there’s a next gen (technically current gen now!) console that I would get, it would have to either be the PS4 or something like the Steam Box or Ouya. Nintendo/Sega were my childhood, Microsoft took my mid teens (though I wasn’t the typical fps guy), and now I think I’ll dip my feet into the third major competitor, Sony. Looking forward to see what RPGs will be coming, as that is my genre of preference.

  5. I hope the Wii U continues to pick up its broken pieces like the 3DS did. The Xbox One has Killer Instinct which I want really bad. HOWEVER I have my 10 game rule, if I don’t think I can see myself getting at least 10 games for it I won’t buy it. Xbox One has some work to do if I’m gonna pick one up. I have a gaming PC so the PS4 doesn’t really look like it will herald much for someone like me yet. Witht he only two next gen games that I want so far (Final Fantasy 15 and Kingdom Hearts 3) years away and multiplat i’m a little bummed. So far for now I’ll stick to my PC,Wii U and 3DS

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