PlayStation’s argument for the wallet
Sony and the PS4 has a robust profile when it comes to console exclusives and fostering new intellectual property. PS3 owners are still in a daze from the wonderful Naughty Dogs game, The Last Of Us, fresh on their minds. On day one, owners of the PS4 will be able to gobble up hours of time with titles like Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS3 launched with Killzone as well), Warframe and Knack.
The Killzone franchise has been a strong performer in the first-person shooter genre and is Sony’s first-party response to Halo. Killzone’s strong suit has always been its unique weapons and entertaining multiplayer. Really, in a sea of FPS that is really all that needs to be done right with one exception, Killzone: Shadow Fall looks pretty awesome and the demos do not give it the proper visual justice.
For those who are unfamiliar with Warframe, it is a free-to-play PC co-op third-person shooter. As far as gameplay is concerned, it fairly accurate to describe it as a stand-alone and gorgeous version of Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer mode with guns, ninjas and lightning swords. The game is beautiful and certainly is a blast on PC.
Lastly, there is SCE Japan’s Knack. And it should definitely not be overlooked or dismissed. It has the appeal of being a launch day title to please parents and kids (both young and old) with its action, puzzler, platforming game style. As well, it has an intriguing Dreamworks/Pixar-esque story. With cool looking physics and different ways to smash those pesky green goblin armies, Knack looks like a blast to play.
Microsoft’s play for the piggy bank
Microsoft reinvigorated its platform by directly dealing with and addressing the criticism of their original DRM stance. Now that that is taken care of, the focus of the Xbox One can finally gravitate towards the games. Available as first game purchases or downloads are Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome, Killer Instinct, Dead Rising 3 and Lococycle. Forza is Microsoft’s direct response to Gran Turismo and has a significant following given the quality of the racing series. As long as they retain the depth and fun of the series, the appeal for next-gen racing fans will reside in the Xbox One, especially since Gran Turismo 6 will be a PS3 title.
Ryse: Son of Rome is a gorgeous quicktime event action game set in a testosterone laden ancient Rome. The game has an interesting flow to the game utilizing traditional hack and slash mechanics mixed with Rocksteady’s Batman style of multiple enemy combat. Meanwhile, Killer Instinct was a pleasant surprise and has that retro vibe to pull at the heart strings of classic fighting game fans. To satisfy the undead fascination, Dead Rising 3 should be another solid zombie filled slaughterfest that retains the fun weapon customization and Saints Row-esque open world feel to it. Family friendly titles like Kinect Sports Rivals and LocoCycle round out the launch titles which should provide strong incentive for a first day Xbox One purchase.
And the heavyweights?
Titanfall, inFamous Second Son, and The Order: 1866 are some of the launch “window” titles conspicuously missing from this list. Titanfall made some enormous waves at E3, Respawn Entertainment (headed by Jason West and Vince Zampella of Infinity Ward fame) truly unleashed one of the most exciting and refreshing titles in the FPS genre. Titanfall is the killer app that Xbox One needs and is sure to draw in the masses due to its Call of Duty pedigree and polished multiplayer-only gameplay. InFamous: Second Son is going to bring the full force of Sony’s talented in-house development muscle and will give weight to arguments that the PS4 should be in the living room. The Order: 1866 has not been much more than a cinematic tease so far but futuristic weapons and werewolves set in an alternate universe catches the attention of gamers. Co-op were-wolf survival horror? Should be a grand time.
Who’s got the “it” factor?
While this quick run down may be missing a few gems, overall the launch expectations of both companies will be tremendous and fairly even. Sony took an early lead by showcasing their tech first and riding the momentum that E3 gave them. With strong first-party support and an exciting future to look forward to with prized studios like Naughty Dog, Sony sure is making the disastrous PS3 launch a long forgotten memory. The Xbox One was a bit of a question mark heading into their official reveal and what games they would showcase. Long generation hold-overs such as Gears of War, Halo and Fable were unlikely to make fully fleshed appearances. But Microsoft came out and took full advantage of the exclusive games they did own despite being late to the announcement party. With a couple of months to build up the onslaught of game experiences on either console, Sony and Microsoft will be in full gear of their “purchase me!” campaigns. Based on what’s been confirmed so far, whose launch title lineup would you be throwing your money at?