Monday, November 18, 2013

Greatness Has Arrived; Next-gen is Here

It's hard to believe the PlayStation 4 is now available in North America. It feels like only yesterday I was blogging about the PlayStation meeting (back in February), yet here we are in November. PS4 is out and the Xbox One is right around the corner. Somehow...the PS4 managed to shatter my lofty expectations in my first weekend with the system. I had a great time with a number of different launch titles and was often reminded just why I love this hobby so much.

Here are my impressions after one weekend with the console and a handful of launch games.

The visuals are downright stunning.
Resogun is truly the gem of the launch lineup. Upon starting the game, you'll probably be confused and overwhelmed at all that's happening on screen. Enemies attack from all sides, a voice keeps telling you to save humans, and a number of those said humans are "lost" with little explanation. Don't be deterred by the initial confusion. Stick with it and you'll quickly learn the nuance of the game, how you save those humans, and how to dispatch the countless enemies thrown your way. I enjoyed the time I spent with previous Housemarque titles, Super Stardust HD and Superstardust Delta, but neither drew me in as completely as Resogun has in my first weekend with the title. It's an old-school "shoot-em-up" at heart, yet there is enough innovation here to make the whole experience feel fresh. Oh...and there's also the graphics, which are completely mind-blowing.

Killzone: Shadow Fall
Yet another visual showcase.
This is the game where I'm most confused by the lower review scores, although I've admittedly spent almost all my time in the multiplayer mode. The graphics are gorgeous (noticing a trend here?), the control are perfect on the new DualShock 4, and I've had an absolute blast with the multiplayer. The early parts of the single player where markedly different from previous Killzone games and I found it entertaining thus far. I've actually never finished a Killzone game so I'm anxious to see if Shadow Fall holds my interest through to the conclusion. I can already say I'm enjoying the multiplayer far more than previous Killzone titles.

NBA 2K14
At times, you'll think it's the real thing.
The NBA 2K series has been the king of basketball games for years so it comes as no surprise they have made the jump to next-gen with ease. The majority of the upgrades come in the graphical department. At times, the game looks more true to life than any video game to come before it. Unfortunately, there are still graphical glitches and technical shortfalls that definitely remind you...yes, you're still playing a video game. Luckily, they aren't enough to break the experience. I came away very impressed by the crowd animations, which finally seem to be unique and diverse enough where you won't find the "tall guy in a blue hat" every other row. The gameplay is as rock solid as ever, but it actually plays slightly different from previous iterations. 2K wasn't bluffing when they hyped their eco-motion engine.

Looks to be a great "beat-em-up" for the family.
Knack is the title I spent the least amount of time with, although I did watch my young cousin play through the first couple of hours of the game. It controls well and the story seems better than I was expecting. Definitely the weakest in terms of graphics of the game's I've mentioned, but there are certain effects that have the "wow" factor. I'll reserve my full judgment until I've played more, but chances are if you're interested in these types of games, you'll probably like it. If not, it's certainly not going to win you over.

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