Home > Gaming Wednesdays > Buyer’s Guide To The Next Gen (By Someone Who Hasn’t Touched A Single Console)

Buyer’s Guide To The Next Gen (By Someone Who Hasn’t Touched A Single Console)

December 5, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

So the next gen is officially here, which means it’s now the current gen but everyone’s going to keep calling it next gen for at least a year anyway. There are three contenders to the eighth generation throne: Nintendo’s Wii U, which has been out a year, Microsoft’s Xbone, which has been out for a couple of weeks, and Sony’s PlayStation 4, which has been out for a few days in the UK.

Since everyone else is discussing which one is the best, I thought I’d chip in and offer my opinion on it all. What’s that? I haven’t played any of the next gen consoles so therefore can’t have an opinion on the matter? Shut up, yes I can, it’s a free country and nobody can stop me.

In all seriousness, my judgements on the console come from what I’ve heard from various sources, and I’m mixing them all up with my own personal preferences to suggest which console seems to be the best right now.

Let’s talk about the Wii U first. I’ve previously written about the console, and expressed my concern over the lack of new titles. There’s a bizarre scenario lately where Nintendo fans will openly criticise Sony and Microsoft for a complete lack of originality, and then praise Nintendo for their original ideas, which is laughable when the biggest available titles for the Wii U right now are a clip show version of a 30-year-old franchise and a direct remake of a 10-year-old game.

Sure, Super Mario 3D World looks kinda fun, but it’s hard to get past the fact that it’s little more than features from every other Mario game, bolted together to form some kind of Frankenstein’s monster in red overalls. And if I really wanted to play Wind Waker, I could easily pick a copy of it on Amazon and play it on my Wii and not spend money on a brand new console for it.

I reiterate what I said about Nintendo in the past. They need to innovate. They need to take their charming, quirky sense of family-friendly fun and make something new and exciting and MUST-HAVE. Mario is all well and good, but honestly, they need some new IPs, something to make it stand out and show the world that yes, they are the most innovative console company and yes, you should buy a Wii U.

Until then, I will view the Wii U as an amusing novelty that I may pick up a few years down the line out of pity.

And then there’s the Xbone, which I actively refuse to call the Xbox One, because that’s what the Xbox released in 2001 was called. If you follow me on Twitter, you will know how much I pick on the Xbone. I pick on the Wii U too, but I also feel kind of sorry for it and want to like it. I make fun of the Xbone because boy, did they misstep on everything!

When Microsoft announced that they were going to reveal a brand new Xbox, I watched the event. I was curious and wide-eyed, willing to give the console an objective view, and if it looked better than the PS4, then I may have considered it.

Since then, Microsoft have scored negative points with me every time they do, well, basically anything at all. The focus on the multimedia hub options at the reveal looked rather pathetic to me, and now I’m hearing that none of those options are available in the UK, which makes me wonder why they even bothered in the first place.

And then there were the always-online rumours, which changed to a daily online check to a myriad of other things, along with the original restriction on used games. These decisions were reversed following a backlash, but the moment they decided those were sensible ideas, I knew I simply couldn’t trust the company with anything. Part of me feels the always-on DRM crap will sneak its way onto the console anyway with a firmware update, and if that indeed does happen, please send me lots of money for my amazing psychic powers because I told you so.

Oh, and I don’t want a Kinect. I don’t want a camera staring at me unblinkingly from the corner of the room, uploading my every thought to this mysterious “Cloud” they keep talking about but doesn’t seem to actually exist. The fact that Microsoft are absolutely determined to force people to use this thing doesn’t sit well with me.

Hearing about the user interface, which is apparently a tangled mess with a controller, and using voice commands is about as good as getting a stoned sloth to make your dinner for you, has not made me particularly optimistic either.

I’m also hearing that basically every exclusive launch title makes extensive use of everyone’s favourite form of exploitation – microtransactions. Ryse has it, which already looked repetitive and features useless quick-time events that do nothing if you fail them, and the microtransactions were just the rancid cherry on the cake of shit. Forza is a car game that doesn’t look as fun as the car game I already own, Gran Turismo 5, and also features microtransactions.

And all that’s before you bring up the reports that it doesn’t run in 1080p resolution nor does it support Dolby Surround very well, and you wonder, how is this “next gen” when it’s incapable of doing things a cheap freeview box can?

Basically, I have tried my best to be objective about the console, but quite frankly, it’s a mess and I hope it fails. Badly.

Then there is the PS4, which is…well, it’s alright. I certainly have plans to get one, albeit in a year when the PSN overload issue has been solved and more games have come out, but right now it’s looking decidedly average. Reports are pretty unanimous in saying that it’s a pretty nice bit of kit that does everything you want it to, but it’s a nice console in its potential rather than what it can currently do.

I mean, I do like the look of Infamous: Second Son, Watch_Dogs and The Order: 1886, and I know I’ll certainly be picking up OctoDad: Dadliest Catch for it someday, but right now it’s kind of choosing between Knack, which everyone says is terrible, and Killzone, which I think is terrible. So we’re not doing too well, really.

So basically, the PS4 is running on potential, the Wii U is running on nostalgia and the Xbone is running on fumes. The next gen kind of arrived less by crashing through a wall and throwing a party and more knocking on your door politely and asking if you’d like to come out and have a few beers for an hour or two, but it’s OK if you’re not up for it.

Or in the case of the Xbone, a drunken uncle crashing at your place and drinking everything you own before vomiting all over your new carpet.

Where am I going with this analogy? I have no idea. Basically, I’m saying, give the PS4 and Wii U a miss until they start living up to their potential, and give the Xbone a miss…forever.

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  1. James
    December 5, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    The Wii U’s first year was terrible, but I still feel it’s going to win out of the three you mentioned… Why? Because it’s a games console and therefore not treading on the heels Steam Machine.

    Also WWHD is a lot less of a must have game than Pikmin 3 or LEGO City Undercover… I don’t think they need to have new IPs given that very few new IPs could do anything a previous IP could do just as well (if not better)… but I guess I’m a player who prefers nostalgia to pointless repeats of the same core game (every FPS barr tribes). And let’s not forget that they have a significant new IP from last gen, that went on to be the third or fourth best selling video game franchise of all time (Wii), and a subset of it that I believe is 30th in Wii Fit (my numbers may be outdated though).

    I’m still gonna get a PS4 some day (if only for puppeteer, ‘cos nothing else interests me on it yet), and I did get my Wii U WAY too early (february next year looks to be the earliest reasonable pick-up date to get DKCTF and this years stuff to hold over ’till X, new Metroid, SMGXFE, constantly hinted Dragon Quest 10, A Hat In Time, Knite and The Ghost Lights, actually pretty much all the big kickstarter games… oh, and ofcourse SSB4)… but I honestly don’t expect console gaming to last that long, unless Nintendo manage to really push it’s family gaming niche…

    Infact the more I look at it the more I feel the Xbone had the right idea, making Kinect 2.0 the main selling point…. The right idea, just executed VERY poorly.

    Steam is going to have almost all the games Xbox and PS4 will (given they have the same hardware structure), plus former PC exclusives, plus (likely) more developers on side, plus Kickstarter games (even moreso than Wii U, and definitely more than the laughable showing of the others two), plus more indie games with greenlight (again probably more than Wii U who are, again trouncing the opposition), plus Valve games (if they learn to count to three), plus the whole library already on steam, plus steam sales… I just don’t see how PS4 plans to compete with that…

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