It may have taken me a while, nearly three years in fact, to bite the bullet and buy a next-gen console – but last week I finally got my hands on a PS4.
I’d pretty much been set on the PS4 ever since it was announced way back when. Despite plying my trade on the Xbox 360 for the last six years, I’ve always felt a stronger affinity with Sony’s console – which I believe was better last-gen too save for the crucial fact that it was easier to play with friends on Xbox Live. I felt the PS4 was more open and more of an improvement on the previous version, whereas the Xbox One was just more of the same with a slightly bigger box.
With a couple friends also choosing the PS4 and the stars aligning with me having money and some decent games being out I decided it was the time to step out and get going on the next gen, and I’m liking it so far.
To start with I’ve picked up 4 games which pretty much sum up what I look for in a gaming experience, here’s what I’ve thought of them so far.
My favourite, and perhaps the most original, of the games I’ve got so far – it’s hard not to get swept away by the immersive nature of a Fallout game. Although it follows the same recipe as other Bethesda games, you can tell that it’s been polished an awful lot more than previous titles – as the shooting mechanics and the all-round feel of the game is far crisper and cleaner than it ever was before.
What little I’ve managed of the story so far seems interesting, and the map leaves a hell of a lot more to explore. I’ve barely dipped by toes in the irradiated waters of the Commonwealth so far, but I can tell it’s somewhere I’ll visit plenty.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III
Once again the Call of Duty series has started to build up some momentum, with Treyarch’s latest attempt at the monolith of modern games actually turning into something quite good. It’s much more lively and exciting than the last Black Ops, and manages to marry the fun and player-friendly nature of the series with a more serious tone well from what I’ve seen so far.
Also, judging by a few games worth, the latest Zombies iteration has also been greatly improved – moving a little more towards the classic gameplay of the series with some added bells and whistles rather than their disastrous attempt at reinventing the wheel last time around.
The first few campaign missions are pretty run of the mill though, and don’t come close to replicating any of the drama and intrigue that older Call of Duties once did. The whole near-future angle has now been done to death by Call of Duty so much so that I more than likely won’t bother with Infinity Ward’s latest entry into the series when it releases in November.
All-in-all Black Ops III is well worth the “shooter” role in my collection for now and will likely stay there until something properly new, such as Titanfall 2, comes out.
Grand Theft Auto V
I succumbed to greed on this one, buying GTA V again for the next gen to experience what the upgrades could have. The main difference is that you can now play the game in first-person, which completely changes the feel of the game in terms of combat but also immersion. Everything feels far more real than it did on the 360 and it is taking a lot of getting used to. Tapping between first and third person is literally at the touch of a button though, so for the trickier situations it’s easy enough to switch back into third person and get the job done.
I’m impressed by how much they’ve added to the game in terms of little touches that enhance the game subtly but on the whole make a big difference. The graphics and textures are far better and manage to highlight the creation of a “world” even better than the original did. Having stray animals knocking around for instance is a little difference that makes the place feel far more real.
I’m not far in to the game, and that means I don’t have much in the way of goodies to play around with, but I look forward to working my way back through the story and being able to wreak havoc in this new and improved Los Santos.
Luckily in terms of online my progress was saved across, so that means that my ranks and achievements/trophies have carried over too – letting me continue on my merry way.
This wasn’t a game I picked up along with my console, but it’s one I felt I needed to have. FIFA doesn’t really change all that much from year to year, but given the last time I picked the game up was four years ago – it does seem to be a different beast than it was before.
The main differences are to the presentation, with the menus and the games themselves feeling far more like a TV representation of football which adds to the excitement and the “occasion” of simply playing a game of FIFA.
The controls are a bit snappier and there doesn’t seem to be as much of the dreaded control caching that means that you can’t execute quick and connected attacks, so these are to be welcomed, but all together it really is just another FIFA game – with nothing standing out as especially new. Still worth having though to knock around for a few games.
I’m really enjoying having a PS4 and am really liking it as a console. It’s interface is sleek and easy to manage and games load up extremely quickly, which put together are the main things you want from a console. It’s also got a solid line up of games so far now that I’ve delved into and enjoyed what I’ve seen.
The most exciting things though are to come, with E3 around the corner in just two weeks’ time. We already know that we’ll see more of the new Mass Effect Andromeda which is slated for release next Spring, which will at that point be a massive five years since the last game. I can’t wait to see what they’ve done with the series, as the whole new galaxy should offer up some amazing new opportunities to do something different with the game.
The other main thing I’m looking for at E3, although far less certain, is the announcement of another Red Dead. Redemption was one of my favourite games of all time, and still I don’t think I’ve played a game that marries setting and story quite as well as that did. We might have had a long wait between Mass Effects, but by the time any new Red Dead would come out it’ll be coming on 7 years – which is a long wait nowadays for a sequel, especially to a game that was so roundly acclaimed.
The next-gen is now the current gen for me, and while I maybe a little behind the times on it I’m looking forward to making up for it. Now time to get off this laptop and back to my gaming chair…