After a slight week’s break (no particular reason…) we are back again with a weekly slice of gaming information, news and opinion… well, lots of opinion. Ok, lots of rants.
This week we look at the ongoing PS4 vs. Xbox One console war, the fall and cost of local multiplayer gaming and some of the week’s latest gaming news.
THE SONY PS4 HAS WON…
Well this is the statement that we all have been hearing for the past few weeks since E3. Heck, we even stated it in our E3 roundup piece, but let’s not all jump on the bandwagon. Firstly this writer only stated that the PS4 had won the incoming battle of the next gen consoles because of Microsoft’s DRM and always online issues, but since the big E3 event Microsoft has made a huge u-turn on their stance and has since brought itself back into contention with Sony (in gamer’s eyes).
However, I’m going to make a statement that many may not want to hear:
“I am more interested in the Xbox One than the PS4”
There, I said it. It’s true and it’s hard to explain why. On paper Microsoft has tried to do something that would have restricted our gaming experiences – strike one. They have priced their console higher than Sony has – strike 2. Finally, you have to use the bundled Kinect 2.0 system with the Xbox One – strike 3.
That’s pretty much all the reasons to hate the Xbox One and for some these reasons have written it off even before it launches. Well let’s take a look at those issues… Yes, the Xbox One is more expensive, and this is in part due to the bundling of the Kinect System. However, if gaming is to move forward in terms of controls then the Kinect (which MS is focusing on) will need to be available to all users as a mandatory feature.
Having Kinect 2.0 as an optional extra doesn’t give game developers incentives to use the system and it means that many of the future changes developers and Microsoft will make towards their consoles will be optional to the masses. With the Kinect being mandatory for the Xbox One, this isn’t the case. Developers can experiment and trial new control systems including voice, gesture and body recognition. It’s the future.
So that being said, why not Kinect?
Sony will also be looking into motion controlled gaming with its next generation PlayStation 4 Camera system too, but to take advantage of this you will need to then go out and buy an additional accessory to use any games, therefore making you pay more.
With these points aside, my one reason for not fully getting behind the PS4 is games.
I’m not saying the PS4 won’t have good games, but from the two E3 announcements I am more excited about the games that are coming to the Xbox One than the PS4. What’s more, some of the games that Sony is heavily promoting for the PS4 will be coming out on the Xbox One at the same time, so I’m less inclined to buy the PS4 just to play Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, Destiny or Watch Dogs.
Furthermore, Ryse: Son of Rome, TitanFall, Killer Instinct and Halo 5 all look amazing and will initially only be on the Xbox One.
My last reason to support the Xbox One: The Xbox 360. Microsoft has doen a great job with the 360; they have consistently brought great games, Xbox LIVE is excellent and always has great applications to use on your console and my biggest bugbear of the PS3 is the downloads. Updates on the Xbox 360 are a pain, but updates on the PS3 are just incredibly slow, making new game updates and software upgrades a hated affair rather than a slight inconvenience.
Ultimately until both consoles are released and have a good year under their belts, no-one will be able to tell who has “won” the next generation console war. Until then, don’t write off Microsoft.
Local Multiplayer and the price of playing with friends!
I hate saying this, but back in my day multiplayer gaming meant 2-4 people all crowded around one TV with someone inevitably getting the rubbish controller. In today’s climate, multiplayer gaming means a whole different thing! Gone are the days of playing your mates in your front room and in are the times of playing each other in your own front rooms.
Now don’t get me wrong; I love the ability to shoot my friends online or hook-up for short (more likely long ) periods of time with a friend who could be anywhere in the world, but there is a lost magic to having a few friends over to play on one screen.
One of the biggest selling points of the Nintendo 64 console and what ultimately elevates the console above many classics is the four controllers and classic multiplayer gaming. If your N64 game did not have multiplayer modes then you were forgotten.
I spent far too many evenings, weekends and holiday periods inviting a few friends around and killing hours on games like GoldenEye, WWF No Mercy, Conker’s Bad Furday and Perfect Dark. Being one of three brothers meant that one screen multiplayer gaming (now known as ‘local multiplayer’) also came with its own set of house rules and accusations. Commonly shouts of “stop looking at my screen!” and “He’s button mashing!” could be heard throughout my house, much to my mother’s dismay, all of which added to the charm of playing together in the same place.
But today’s modern gaming is different – it’s well-known that playing online will bring out possibly the worst in gamers across the globe, with insults, threats and general disdain being thrown about in just about any game on any online console.
But what if you wanted to play at a friend’s house? Well, at the moment with the current generation of games consoles – the Xbox 360, PS3 and to some extent the Wii – we still have a decent amount of support for the classic form of multiplayer fun. However, the worrying thing is the next generation of consoles.
Reports suggest that for a gamer to buy an additional Xbox One controller they will have to shell out a whopping $60 in the US, which by direct conversion means it may cost as much as £40 in the UK. That’s a big of sum of money for the occasional friend to play, and for just one at that. Microsoft isn’t alone in this either, with Nintendo’s Wii U GamePad not being sold separately from the console resulting in one user getting a different experience to others on Nintendo’s latest console. Nintendo’s confusing use of the Wii console controllers – you can use the GamePad or Wiimotes but not at the same time – doesn’t help matters.
Sony has stayed away from the leaks at the moment but with its touchpad-boasting DualShock 4 controller being a major step up from the current PS3 controllers, we can all expect a hefty price rise for their accessory as well.
It’s not just the big name brands either. With the OUYA console an extra controller will set you back $50 or nearly £30 in the UK, which in USD is half of the price of the actual console itself. This from a console that only really excels when you are playing with friends (see our OUYA mini review here), is a huge shame.
It’s just all getting a bit too expensive to have friends come around and share games, isn’t it?
Undoubtedly, we will all buy an extra controller for our new consoles… but will we be buying a 3rd and 4th for those times when the whole crew comes round? Probably not.
So to me it seems like a sad realisation in the gaming world where some of my best experiences with a games console are looking set to become something of a relic.
Game’s of the year get DLC of the year?
Two of the top contenders for the coveted “Game of the year” title have this week announced incoming DLC. Bioshock Infinite from Irrational Games and The Last of Us from Naughty Dog have both revealed that they will be extending their story with new downloadable content in the next few months.
In the case of The Last of Us, this is a pretty sharp turnaround from the game’s initial release and some shiny new content, and for Bioshock Infinite it’s arriving quite late.
2K games and Irrational made an official announcement regarding the BioShock Infinite DLC where they detailed 3 DLC packs which consist of the “Clash in the Clouds” wave based multiplayer games mode and the two part “Burial at Sea” single player story mode.
The latter will return gamers to BioShock’s original Rapture at the time of the civil revolt and will feature Infinite’s Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth in an alternate reality.
Little is known about the first DLC pack for The Last of Us, but Naughty Dog’s Bruce Straley (Director) and Neil Druckmann (Creative Director) confirmed in a Reddit Ask Me Anything that “News is on the way about the first DLC drop. Should hear about it this month,”
When asked if there will ever be any additional story content centering around lead characters Joel and Ellie, Druckmann said, “It’s possible. We’re playing with some ideas, but no direction has been set yet for the next game.” With lots of time jumps placed in The Last of Us’ single player it could be easy to add in a flashback adventure for Joel and Ellie or equally Naughty Dog could explore a whole new set of characters.
What we have been playing?
Having finished The last of Us twice I have since pulled out a few games from the “need to play over the summer” collection. Notably tearing up the Americas in Assassin’s Creed 3 and The Witcher 3, both of which were picked up for a deal in the Xbox Ultimate Games sales.
In light of the next instalment of the WWE franchise of games coming soon we have also been competing more for the Gadget Helpline World Title in the office on WWE 13, which is an old favourite.
Finally, after the Steam Summer Sale loads of great titles have been snapped up including DayZ, Dwarf Fortress, Napoleon Total War and Neo Scavenger, all of which are killing our rainy day blues on the PC.
What’s out this week?
Again there’s not a lot of big games coming out. You can pick up the BioShock Infinite Clash in the Clouds DLC which will add a Hoard-like mode to the shooter, which would be our pick in terms of new gaming stuff this week.
You can also pick up the recently Kickstarter-funded Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded for the PC which sees a remake of the infamous graphic adventure. The jokes and the sexist premise are all old and still intact.
Gaming opinion of the week
Are you ever too old for Pokemon? If so,we might be in trouble.
See what Sonic sees in the FPS view!