VG247 staff pick their favourite titles released since the new console generation kicked off last November.
It seems like only yesterday that the next-gen consoles launched and we got all giddy and damp over the possibilities that they could finally deliver to us. The last generation dragged on for far too long, and we sat like slavering dogs last November, puppy-dog eyes shining in anticipation of The Future of Games.
Arguably we didn’t get that. The launch line-ups were good but not stellar, but I think secretly deep down we all knew that would be the case – it’s always been the case with new launches, right? What we did get were big old boxes that are trying to deliver on a promise – it’ll take a few years to get there – there will be mistakes and duds, but more than a few big hitters along the way.
So here we sit, taking stock of what we’ve seen and played of this “next-gen” era so far. Now the dust has settled and the summer drought begins to heat up, the team at VG247 wanted to share their favourite games released since the PS4 and Xbox One first turned up on our doorsteps, fresh out the plastic and polystyrene, like newborns covered in that weird gunky stuff. Ugly, but loveable.
Tell us your favourites games released since last November are and why, and we might be able to run a follow-up article.
Titanfall (Xbox One)
“It reminds me of fond days spent racking up colossal phone bills with Quake 3: Arena’s 56k multiplayer on Dreamcast.”
Dave says: When this juggernaut was revealed we were all a little bit guilty of shouting “it’s Call of Duty with Robots, LOL” – but we now know that it’s much more than that. I love this game’s lightning pace, verticality and parkour antics. It reminds me of fond days spent racking up colossal phone bills with Quake 3: Arena’s 56k multiplayer on Dreamcast, as we bounced between jump pads pulling off laggy skill shots.
The Titans are real game-changers that mix up the flow of battle, there is strategy to be found beneath the core gunplay and Respawn is good at rolling out free content. It’s the game console streaming was made for, thanks to all the incredible stunts going on in each match. Call of Duty has serious competition, and that’s coming from a long-time Call of Duty fan.
Wolfenstein: The New Order (PC)
“I appreciate Machine Games focused solely on the single-player experience providing it ample time to focus on a polished, fast-paced campaign.”
Steph says: Being a fan the Wolfenstein franchise, I was really looking forward to this iteration – and I wasn’t disappointed. Between the fluid animation, shooting and stealth mechanics, the rather decent AI, and the crazy “out there” storyline, it’s a fun experience. I like the fact my choice during the early part of the game has an impact on the plot – like many games offer in this day and age.
It also provides the player with another reason to play through a second time, offering more cliche for your cliche. Visually the game is top notch, and despite some of the highly detailed areas, I haven’t experienced any choppiness – which is a nice change of pace, considering I need to upgrade my PC rig. Finally, I appreciate the fact Machine Games focused solely on the single-player experience. This clearly provided it with ample time to focus on the dialogue, create a polished game, and develop a fun, fast-paced campaign without sacrificing time and resources to build a functional multiplayer component.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (PS4)
“Flogging the oggin is a thing I didn’t realise I wanted to do until I was doing it, and building a pirate empire had become one of the great satisfactions of my life.”
Brenna says: Few cross-generational games are as markedly differentiated as Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Between my housemate and I, we have four versions of the latest stab-a-thon floating around the house, and there’s just no denying that given the choice we’d rather play on PS4 and Xbox One than the older consoles.
It’s not just the shorter, less frequent loading times and smoother experience; going next-gen has turned me into some sort of slathering graphics beast. Whereas previously I would turn a blind eye to jaggies, low-resolution textures and flat lighting, I’m suddenly looking at these relics of the past era as eyesores. If a character’s face isn’t casting multiple shadows, if the ocean isn’t a gorgeous sparkling blue that extends forever, if the world doesn’t heave and writhe with detail – I can barely stand to look at it.
If you’re yet to lose yourself in Kenway’s world, you have much to look forward to. A cast of characters you’ll actually remember most of. Free running across delightfully varied towns and landscape crunchy with gameplay potential. The most satisfying set of sword-to-face options yet. And a ship you’ll half want to marry once you get your greasy, eager paws on it.
I’m pretty sure if I’d never seen the PS4 version of Black Flag, I’d still love it. Flogging the oggin is a thing I didn’t realise I wanted to do until I was doing it, and building a pirate empire had become one of the great satisfactions of my life. But having seen that beautiful ocean, I can never go back. 10/10 for next-gen, would transition again.
“The atmosphere creates an air of threat that doesn’t let up until the very end – that’s a difficult thing to pull off in the best of horror movies.”
Matt says: I know Outlast was originally a PC release but I honestly wouldn’t have got around to playing it despite my love of horror games. The same also goes for Don’t Starve and a few other hits that pop up on home consoles after making a decent impact on PC. I’m lazy, and I like the curation that consoles do for me.
Outlast, and the Whistleblower DLC that follows, is everything that I love from horror games. It’s creepy, it’s disturbing, there’s a story there that just about makes sense, but more importantly it makes me jump out of my seat. The scares are incredibly well executed and the atmosphere creates an air of threat that doesn’t let up until the very end – that’s a difficult thing to pull off in the best of horror movies over 90 minutes, let alone a ten hour video game.
It’s a ghost train horror ride and the simple mechanic of surviving – fleeing! – armed only with the light from a camcorder is a brave move that really pays off. Of course I’d love a mod that gives me a shotgun and lets me walk back through Mountain Massive Asylum delivering gut-shot justice, but that’s a different game entirely. As it is, I’ll happily play through Outlast again.
Watch Dogs – for laying the foundation for a solid franchise.
Don’t Starve – a deviously cool indie hit.
Forza Motorsport 5 – It’s just a taste of next-gen racing. Just a taste.
Resogun – It’s a damn good Defender clone.
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