Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Round one to the underdog

It's been a strange year in the console world.

On the approximate first anniversary of both the Xbox One and the PS4 I am playing a last generation exclusive. There are still games on my list that will not be getting the new and shiny treatment, big games, games like the third Borderlands and the aforementioned Assassin's Creed: Rogue. This is not shovel ware, they are quality titles that, for what I assume are financial reasons, have been intentionally left behind.

Either the old generation will not die or the new one is not quite sure how to start.

Owning both consoles makes it impossible to not play the compare and contrast game. They both sit on the 'new' side of my television, vying for my attention, while the Xbox 360 and the PS3 relax on the old side, knowing that my time with them is not complete. I don't have an answer for which of the new breed is better, but I can say that the Xbox One sees much more use and I can give you a few reasons why.

Achievements. Those damn achievements. I have mentioned how I have fallen for the meta-game before. Microsoft has found new and more insidious ways to leverage it against me. The most recent hook was the 'last thirty days' list right on the home screen. My earned achievements over the last months are totaled up and ranked against the rest of my friends list. I am always second and it pisses me off. It makes me want to play more. The logical part of my brain knows that I am being played but the side that likes to see numbers get bigger will not let it go.

This is just one example of how the Xbox One feels newer. The dashboard was already a grand departure from that of the 360 and it has received numerous improvements. Not all have been for the better, but it is always different and that keeps me interested. The PS4 is very, very similar to the PS3, so much so that the interface is boring to use. It works but it is rather spartan.

I will say that, by not changing the store, the PS4 actually comes out ahead of the Xbox One. The Xbox One store is a nightmare, with all the games dumped together into a single menu. On more than one occasion it has simply not worked, something that I have never run into on the PS4.

Including the Kinect with the Xbox One was an excellent idea and I was sad to see them back off of it. Yes, I know that almost everything that the Kinect does the Playstation Eye can do as well, but it was part of the package for me and I would never have been exposed to it otherwise. The Kintect is a functioning part of the system, one that makes it more user friendly and contributes to the next-gen feel that the Xbox One has in spades.

But what about the games? The XBox One has had, by far, the superior exclusives. The biggest PS4 games are still months away and I do not know if any of them will compete with Forza Horizon 2, regardless of genre. Step away from the big games and the PS4 fares much better, making good on its promise to be the indie haven, going so far as to give away a good chunk of them. Yes, I enjoyed Rogue Legacy and Velocity 2X but I did not jump into the next generation to play games that would run in a browser on an ancient computer.

Multi-platform should be the equalizer, even the deciding factor, and the PS4 wins that contest. It has more peas, better frame rates, all the things that the more powerful machines are supposed to be about. It is, without a doubt, the more powerful machine but it is the less compelling system. Less than the sum of its parts, a hollow monster that can crush most games but do little to hold my interest apart from that.

This is, of course, an entirely biased opinion. I have more loyalty momentum towards Microsoft than I care to admit, but I was ready to drop the system entirely along with the rest of the internet when the rumors of no physical games and no rentals were floating around. That cost them so much good will that the system may never recover. I came back and was not disappointed, nor am I disappointed with my PS4. It is my number two system, my system for small games and odd exclusives. The Xbox One is for everything else, its daily use making it all the more comfortable.

...and I still have my PS3 for JRPGs and my Xbox 360 for Street Fighter. My entertainment cabinet is never going to organized again.

No comments:

Post a Comment