Is this the most underwhelming start to a new generation of consoles ever? That might sound like hyperbole, but you know what, it might just be true. While the launch line-ups, despite the lack of a genuine triple-A title, are certainly solid enough, the difference from what has come before (and what is already available), almost across the board, is, dare I say, negligible. Yes, the particle effects are pretty and all, and every generation sees a collection of vaguely up-scaled ports at its launch, but even the exclusives, while a step-up from what we are used to, are hardly mind blowing, and shit, if you happen to be a PC gamer, probably fall short of what you’ve been playing for the last year or so.
Have we hit the ceiling, or at least gotten close enough that vast improvements can no longer be achieved?……..Maybe. HD was the big thing last time around while the PS2 provided a very clear and immediate leap over its predecessors capabilities. Before that, there was 3D gaming, and before that, the very identifiable jump from 8bit to 16bit (wow, twice the power). Now though? Well, we’ve got 1080p (most of the time), and, come on, who really gives a shit? Sure, 1080p might be the superior output, but it’s hardly the jump from standard to hi-def that we got last time around is it. You might be able to see it in screenshots, and you might even notice if you are really looking for it….maybe. But unless you were told otherwise, would you really know if a game was running at 720p or 1080p? I’m guessing no.
Yes, some of the exclusives do look very pretty and I’m sure the improved processing power will start to show down the line, but for now, based on videos and screenshots, I would honestly struggle to take the Pepsi challenge on the next-gen. Multiplatform titles in particular, are almost alarmingly similar. Again, I’m not blind; there are obvious improvements to games like Assassin’s Creed IV and FIFA 14 (the crowd do look proper nice), but it’s hardly the generational leap you would expect from a new console after the longest generation of all time. The lighting is certainly superior, some of the finer details are slightly improved, but for the most part, what you’re looking at on PS4 and Xbox One is hardly mind blowing. Heck, even technical powerhouse, Killzone: Shadow Fall fails to truly blow the socks off.
I’m sure that the ‘Gears of War’ moment will come sooner rather than later, but for now, the long awaited next generation has arrived with a bit of a whimper. It’ll come good, of course it will. It’s just a shame that there isn’t anything truly identifiable from a creative or technical perspective at launch……….that is unless you are really into particle effects of course.