It hardly matters whether you’re on the blue team or the green team because both the PS4 and the XB1 are slick, powerful and vastly overshadow your current kit. But are either of them worth shelling out for on day one? Here are ten reasons why the answer to that questions is a resounding ‘yes’.
When you first load up Killzone: Shadowfall and play through the introduction, you’ll spend at least a minute staring out at the illuminated cityscape and marvelling at what your new console can do. Whatever your feelings about the game as a whole, there’s no denying that Killzone makes an exemplary ambassador for just what the PS4 is capable of, boasting detailed textures that extend for miles. You’ll find no polygon-occluding fog on New Helghan.
What do you get when the guys who invented Call of Duty break off to do something different? Potentially the best new shooter in years. While CoD continues to roll out incremental updates, Jason West and Vince Zampella have channelled their creative energies into something entirely new: a multiplayer shooter that amplifies the vertical, with nimble, jetpack-equipped soldiers wall-running along buildings before raining death upon the competition. What’s more, the titular Titans add a weighty new form to combat, bestowing players with a fifty tonne mech to storm around in. It’s as much fun as it sounds and a welcome change from the increasingly stagnant annual mega-franchises.
The DualShock 3 and the 360 controller have been with us through thick and thin, killstreaks and combos. They’ve been like old friends but, like the pal you grew up with but suddenly find you have nothing in common with, it’s time to delete them from your contacts list. DualShock 4 marks Sony’s first real form-factor revision since PS1 and does away with the slippery convex sticks, extends L2 and R2 so they finally feel like triggers and not glorified shoulder buttons, adds a touchpad and features an on-board speaker for atmospheric sound effects. Xbox One, meanwhile, builds on the 360’s near perfect aesthetic with much improved thumbsticks that boast a smaller, more natural top. It also introduces haptic feedback via rumble motors in both triggers, allowing a level of tactile response that adds an entirely new dimension to gaming –when you first rev up a car in Forza 5 you’ll know exactly what we mean.
Speaking of which, Forza Motorsport 5 is the closest you’ll come to owning a supercar – at least without a Premier League Salary to pay for it. Car porn in its purest form, it’s almost impossible to distinguish these virtual machines from the real thing and when you’re gunning around the track in an Aventador with a Lotus Exige nipping at your bumper, you’ll feel like all your Christmases have come at once.
While it’s now been pushed back to 2014, the third inFamous remains one of the most interesting PS4 titles currently in the pipeline. The winning combination of parkour and powers returns but unlike in previous games you’re not limited to jolts of electricity. Rather new protagonist Delsin Rowe takes the Peter Petrelli route and absorbs the superpowers of those he comes into contact with. The result? A more varied and engaging gameplay experience that lets you shock, burn and, yes, neon people to death.
Playing games in full 1080p HD (progressively scanned 1920x1080 pixels) is nothing new but playing a game at 1080p and keeping the framerate to 60fps is a major step forward for console gamers. While 30fps has long been the standard, most modern TVs run at 60hz (60 screen updates per second), making 60fps the sweet spot for smooth animation. For fast-paced shooters like Call of Duty: Ghosts (pictured) and Battlefield 4, the added frames serve to smooth out the action, making the step up more integral than in slower titles. The effect is subtle but noticeable, and unlike the jump from 24fps to 48fps movies, it doesn’t ruin the cinematic effect.
Another launch title that has slipped to 2014, Watch Dogs first appeared on people’s radar at E3 2012 when it was instantly apparent that the demo wasn’t running on any current gen hardware. From cars, to cafes to cinema awnings, the world of Watch Dogs is staggeringly detailed, right down to the flapping of the protagonist’s coat-tails. As it happens, the game will still appear on 360 and PS3 but to be in with a hope of doing justice to the urban sprawl of future Chicago, you’ll want to run it on XB1 or PS4.
Be honest, there’s a small part of you that yearns for the zombie apocalypse after every episode of The Walking Dead. Dead Rising 3 is like that, only with less chance of being mauled to death and eviscerated by re-animated corpses. Exclusive to Xbox One, the latest and greatest instalment in the Dead Rising franchise lets you see every gaping wound and flap of rotting skin as you duct tape chainsaws to sledgehammers and wade into a sea of walkers.
Can you get better graphics and faster gameplay than a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One? Certainly, but you’ll need to be willing to drop a couple of grand on PC gaming beast. For those with more modest pockets, £349 for PS4 and £429 for XB1 is a far more affordable outlay and one that will last you a good few years into the bargain. Of course you could just stick with your existing gear and with games like Dark Souls 2 coming out on 360 and PS3 next year, there’s every reason not to consign your legacy machines to the scrapheap just yet. But the new consoles have now arrived; they’re sleek, they’re shiny and they’re here to stay so do yourself a favour and pick one up.
What do you get when the guys who invented Halo break off to do something different? A massively multiplayer roleplaying online first person shooter, that’s what. As the cumbersome genre tag suggests, Destiny is far more than Halo multiplayer with a new coat of paint: Destiny aims to meld twitch-shooter mechanics with the progression and persistent world of MMORPGs like World of Warcraft. Of course, we’ve all heard things like this before (Defiance, Dust 514 we’re looking at you!) but when Bungie, the company that defined the console first-person shooter, makes bold claims, a wise man pays attention. It’ll be available on current-gen titles as well but if Destiny is half as ambitious as we’re led to believe, you’ll want some real power under the bonnet when this one drops.