Grading the Next-Gen Launch Exclusives for the XBox One and Playstation 4
Gamescom is over, and with it comes one of the last large battlefields for Sony and Microsoft to convince us which console to buy. My fellow GamerVets tried to argue both sides (here and here) but true gamers should get both systems eventually. Which one will find a place underneath gamers’ TV first will have a huge impact on next generation gaming though.
I’ll be grading each system’s launch exclusives using my instincts and intuition, mixed with what I’ve seen online and in real life. So let’s get to it:
Release date: November ? – still unannounced
Number of launch day titles: 23
Number of launch day exclusives: 11 (1 timed exclusive )
The spiritual successor to Panzer Dragoon was revealed in E3, but a technical difficulty led to them playing the video without sound. Highly anticipated, but the reveal fell short. I actually think this game is flying well below the radar right now, which leads me to believe that while it may be a decent game, the fact that there’s not a huge marketing push behind it might mean that it’s just that: A decent, if unspectacular, game.
Dead Rising 3
Have you seen the new trailer? It might have lost the goofy charm of its predecessors, but Dead Rising 3 looks to be the best console exclusive to come out since Super Mario Bros.
Remember Fighters Uncaged? Yeah, I thought so… I don’t know if the world will ever be ready for a Kinect fighting game. Ubisoft has been pretty competent lately, so I’ll give them a little credit…
Forza Motorsport 5
I don’t play racing games unless there are guns strapped to the hood, but the old Forza games always impressed me enough to at least attempt to play them when I had the chance.
C-c-c-c-combo Brrreaker! The announcer, and the ridiculous strings of combos are probably the only things casual gamers remember from the original. We had a chance to try it out at FanExpo, and while it’s a fun button masher, it won’t replace the depth of other, more established fighters. Still, it’s about the only fighting game in town at launch, which earns it a bit of an advantage. Interesting pricing scheme too. I just hope they filter out the millions of free Jago characters online.
I love Twisted pixel, and right now, their brand of off-the-wall humour and off-kilter gameplay is exactly what this console needs to balance out all the seriousness going on. And you can’t get more goofy than an armed, talking motorcycle with Spanish-speaking Mexican mechanic in tow. I can’t see how they can hope to keep the gameplay fresh throughout the entire game though, so I’m docking it a bit for that.
I played the Peggle demo and it was cool… umm… but… can’t I get similar games on my phone? Shouldn’t they bundle games like this for free with the system, or am I missing something? I know a lot of people will love this game, but it’s not the next-gen system seller many of us are looking for.
As someone who was an avid golfer, I never really understood the allure of virtual golf. Ever since Golf on the NES, we’ve been hitting golf balls by stopping gauges at predetermined intervals on a power meter. This one is no different.
Ryse: Son of Rome
I know what you’re thinking: Slash, parry, QTE. Slash, cut, stab, QTE. QTE. QTE. Game looks cool, if you’re into QTE. Or slow, muscled guys in leather skirts. I didn’t actually get to play this at FanExpo, but it seems like they’ve toned down the QTE a bit from what I’ve seen, and it’s more about brutal melee combat ala Dynasty Warriors, but slower and gorier. I’m cautiously optimistic…
Remember when Sim games were huge? Sim City, The Sims, Sim Tower, Sim Ant… Now you can create a zoo from the comfort of your couch! Do you want to put the monkey cage next to the lion’s den? How about putting an aquarium right next to the polar bears! Oh the hilarity!… I’m sorry, but I can’t seem to figure out how to make this game appealing to play on a console.
Zumba Fitness: World Party
I guess they had to throw in a game to cater to the many soccer moms who’ll buy this console for their kids.
XBox One Average: 2.5/5
Release date: Friday, November 15
Number of launch day titles: 23
Number of launch day exclusives: 11 (1 timed exclusive)
This game looks like a fairly generic shooter, but one major thing sets this game apart: It’s FREE! Not sure about the longevity of this title, but I can get behind the price. Some curious design decisions were made such as the ability to see enemies at all times using a special visor mode (you can’t shoot though), which might make the game frustrating for some.
I don’t really know much about this game, but it seems to be some sort of stylistic platforming game where the main character can turn into a shadow and use shadows to traverse the landscape. It’ll be available on other platforms by year’s end, but launching with the PS4 on launch day. It’s very French.
DC Universe Online
I’ve never actually played an MMO and I can’t be bothered with many RPG games. However, throw in some DC characters, and you’ve got my attention. I’d be willing to give this game a shot, but I doubt it’ll be one I play for hours on end. The PC version looks decent, and I’m sure the PS4 version will look amazing too.
You know I’m not a big racing fan, but the game looks decent… and it’ll probably make do for PS4 racing fans until GT6 comes out in December. On the bright side, a limited version will be available for PS+ subscribers. Those who buy the full game also get 3 free months of PS+ membership. That’s at least worth a 0.5 bump in score
Killzone: Shadow Fall
I really, really wanted Killzone to be a Halo killer, but unfortunately, the franchise’s slower paced FPS gameplay is anything but that. However, things are looking up, and Shadow Fall looks like it can at least be the best FPS exclusive launch title on both systems. It’ll never be a Halo killer, but if they play their cards right, it might be able to go toe-to-toe with CoD.
I really don’t get the appeal of this ugly looking robot-thing that accumulates parts Katamari-style and grows in size using those parts. Is it a kid’s game, or will older core gamers be challenged? This game just lacks the attitude and character that some of the other PS platformers oozed.
This twin-stick shmup looks like a fun bullet hell game that should occupy a couple hours of your time. Like the aforementioned Peggle 2, it’s probably something that won’t show the full capabilities of the next gen systems, but will be a fun diversion.
Augmented reality “game” that requires the PS Eye. Who the hell is going to buy the Eye? Those that wanted this kind of stuff would’ve picked up an Xbox One instead. No thanks.
“They’re Pinky and the Brain. Pinky and the Brain. One is a genius… the other’s insane”. That’s the first thing that popped into my head when I saw this game. Tiny Brains is a puzzle platformer where you take control of 4 mice to get past traps and solve puzzles. The levels are brightly coloured, and the action looks fun. Not a system seller though.
I’ve seen this game in action on the PC (my brother-in-law plays it), and it’s an intriguing mix of fast paced melee combat and third person shooting – think Vanquish - but in MMO form. Great looking graphics, and the ability to play as a cyber-ninja with powers? Yes please! Bonus points for being Free to Play, for being developed by a Canadian studio! Expect a lot of grinding though (not my thing)…
Wow, yet another F2P MMO game on the PS4 – are you seeing a pattern here? This time, War Thunder puts you at the controls of a WW2 era fighter plane as you take to the skies to battle total strangers for air superiority. Not bad, and it’ll definitely be the best air combat title at launch. Who’s gonna get their Red Baron on this November?
PS4 Average: 3/5
The Old Guy in me Says
I’ve got both consoles pre-ordered and I know that I’ll end up owning both eventually, but I might go with the PS4 at launch.
The Xbox One has some phenomenal-looking AAA titles and arguably the best AAA launch title in Dead Rising 3, but they’re lacking in depth, especially in Xbox’s bread-and-butter: shooters. Had they launched a Halo or Gears of War title at launch, the Xbone would be a clear-cut winner. Heck, if they managed to get Titanfall out in November, you’d probably have been reading an article on Titanfall instead, and not this piece of fluff.
PS4 shrewdly went after already-existing F2P games such as WarFrame and War Thunder, and managed to undercut Microsoft’s console by removing the PS Eye from it’s bundle. If they managed to sneak in Beyond: Two Souls into PS4 or had somehow included a Naughty Dog or ICO game at launch, there would be no question who wins. PS4 sneaks away with the launch-day win, but it’s closer than we would have expected.
At the end of the day, gamers will have to determine whether the quality AAA titles that Microsoft’s Xbox One is offering, and the advantages of its Kinect and SmartGlass technologies can offset the PS4′s difference in price and well-rounded selection of free and paid games. One thing is for sure though – this next gen is shaping up to be a very interesting one for gamers.
Which console are you getting, and what games are you looking forward to? Sound off in the comments below.
A note on our rating scale: We rate things out of five, but don't confuse it with ratings from other publications. We’re not professional reviewers who do this for a living, we don't get sent free copies of games, and we don't have the luxury to play a ton of games during our work hours - we buy/borrow all our games and do this during our off-time, outside of our jobs and families. Our ratings take into account the time and money spent, and are here to help you make an informed decision on whether this game is worthy of your hard-earned cash and limited time.5 – An almost flawless game with good graphics, sound and gameplay. You might even want to replay it many times, despite your busy schedule. A must-buy.
4 – It has some flaws, but it’s still worth a playthrough. Buy it if you like this type of game.
3 – An average game targeted to specific niches. It has its redeeming factors. Buy it on sale or if you fit its target demographic/niche.
2 – The game sucks, but some will get enjoyment out of it. Play it at your own risk.
1 – Broken, ugly game with few redeeming qualities. Probably shouldn’t have been made. Leave this game alone and don’t even look at it.
0 – Worse than garbage. Game companies should pay you for the time you spent playing this trash.
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