This week, Zero Punctuation reviews a few of the next-gen exclusives.
My non-gaming friends often say to me, "Hey, we'd really like to play the best video games; which of the next-gen consoles do you think we should buy?", to which I reply "Why did you just make two completely unrelated statements? That was like saying "I want to join the Russian ballet; what colour should I paint my arse?", or "I'd like to visit Morocco; how many times should I stick my head in a Corby trouser press?""
You want to play the best video games, you buy a PC, or, at a pinch, borrow a PS2 from a time traveller. The best reason to buy a next-gen console would be if you're stuck in an overloaded elevator and the only way to get it to move is to subtract a substantial amount of weight from your wallet. But there is one thing that these two basically-identical, ring binder-impersonating, artificially-restricted PCs-in-boxes have to justify themselves and that's exclusives, as in "which individual games they have taken hostage." So let's pair them off into a series of vaguely-connected comparisons, and ultimately decide whether we're going to rescue Mary-Jane or the busload of schoolchildren.
[each round title is sung as a short, jaunty tune]
Round One: Open-World Sequelising
You wouldn't rent out the Royal Albert Hall for a "who can spunk the furthest" contest, and you wouldn't make a console with the processing power of an autistic nuclear submarine without lining up some open-world games to show it off. Hence, a launch window that features Dead Rising 3 on the 'Bone, and inFamous: Second Son on the PiSser.
Now, inFamous 2, you'll recall, was one of my favourite games of that year, but a lot of my fondness for that game hinged on my understanding that it actually offered a decisive and satisfying ending for the series, rather than letting it eternally ride the sequel mill like some other games I could Assassin's Creed – I mean, mention!
But, on the other hand, Dead Rising 3 is a zombie game, and at this point I equate putting out a zombie game with presenting me a birthday gift wrapped in the paper from around a McDonald's cheeseburger: I don't even have to look inside to know that you're just not trying, are you? It also seems to have sucked out all the vibrant energy and turned an ugly shade of brown, like a crack whore covered in a thin film of cooking grease. So our first point goes to the PiSs Parade! (PS4: 1 / Xbone: 0)
Round Two: Historical Revisionism
I remember saying in my E3 video that Ryse looks like what you'd get if you took the spunkgargleweewee attitude of modern shooters and set it in ancient Rome. But having thought about it, maybe a sense of historical distance is precisely what spunkgargleweewee needs. After all, the Romans were a bunch of imperialistic bastards who went around stomping all over inferior cultures, but no-one begrudges them for it anymore, 'cause they were spreading civilized society, and life under Roman subjugation tended to have more orgies than previously. Thanks for laying the foundations of classical Europe, Romans, feel free to stop crucifying me now!
On the other hand, we have The Order: 1886 on PS4, also set in a time of European imperialism, but one everyone's still kind of embarrassed about, because the civilization-spreading aspect got a bit lost in all the massive racism. Of course, The Order is less about imperialism and more about werewolves. I think; I kinda stopped paying attention when they brought out the steampunk standard FPS weapons, because my eyes started rolling like two frisbees in a front-loading washing machine. (PS4: 1 / Xbone: 1)
Round Three: Blatant Nostalgia Teasing
The list of PS4 exclusives hints at an unnamed Uncharted sequel, whereas the Xbone's list boasts "unnamed Halo sequel." What a pair of teasers! You could almost picture their sultry eyes winking flirtatiously over their paper fans.
- "Bet you're wondering what we're developing under these skirts, aren't you, big boy?"
- "Is it something completely predictable, formulated in desperation from an utter absence of new ideas?"
- "Uh... can we get back to you?"
I didn't realize that "TBA" stood for "Too Bloody Apathetic!" Might as well just give the point to the PS4, just because Uncharted hasn't sequelled its balls off to Halo's extent quite yet. It's got a bit of ball left, maybe, hanging morosely from its shredded crotch like a discarded mouthful of scotch egg. (PS4: 2 / Xbone: 1)
[Fourth round title is sung to the tune of the Dr. Who theme]
Round Four: Driving Aboot
The moment videogames figured out how to make two things move along a path at varying speeds, racing gameplay had kind of come as far as it was ever going to. Well, games like Driver: San Francisco sometimes put a fresh spin on it, but realistic racing games, enjoyed by the kind of people whose pet tortoises die of boredom, can't really do anything to innovate except include larger and larger varieties of real-world cars and racetracks. With that in mind, Forza Motorsport 5 promises 200 cars and 14 circuits! Except, according to Wikipedia, Forza Motorsport 4 has 500 cars and 27 circuits. Now forgive me for flaunting my classical education here, but 200 is a smaller number than 500. You see, expecting next-gen consoles to evolve videogames any way other than graphically is like expecting the cat to guard your tuna sandwich. Oh, but wait, Forza 5 will release additional cars as paid DLC! Oh, well that's alright, then!
Yeah, I think Sony win; Driveclub might've been pushed back to next year, but at least it doesn't seem to be trying to screw us over so ineptly that you just wanna swat them off and shout "Forget it! I'll just punch myself in the balls!" (PS4: 3 / Xbone: 1)
Round Five: Shooters With "Fall" In The Name
Killzone: Shadow Fall is about the evil Helghast people being really resentful of the heroes having blown up their planet and killed their entire race. Cor, just can't let anything go, can they? It's funny; if you read the backstory to Killzone, the running theme seems to be the Helghast getting fucked over a picket fence left-right-and-centre, but we're supposed to hate them for bearing a grudge! They could easily work as the heroes if they didn't have the image problem. Glowing red eyes and Nazi hats; yeah, they could probably garner more sympathy if they swapped those out for some star-shaped sunglasses and a fez.
Gameplay-wise, Killzone sadly seems to have few ambitions beyond "look at the thing and shoot at the thing", whereas Titanfall pledges to mix things up with free running and mech combat! Multiplayer-only, but with the apparent intention to work plot into the online matches somehow, an attitude I find always tends to pay off about as well as working a hedgehog into an egg slicing machine, but maybe – What's that? Titanfall is getting a PC release? Well, that undermines the whole cocking premise, doesn't it!? (PS4: 4 / Xbone: 1)
So, at the end of that, the PS4 has the most points in this baseless-conjecture-on-games-I-haven't-played competition, and therefore has a slight edge in the upcoming grimy basement knife fight! But, viewer, there lies a world outside this grimy basement: the world of PC gaming! And all you have to do to experience it is come up the stairs and into the light, feel the rays of the sun and the cool breeze upon your skin, then go down some more stairs into the other grimy basement next door!
- The third way: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
- I talk shit but I'm wrapping up these credits quickly because my preordered Xbone is ready for pickup
- Won't get much station play if you haven't got a bone on