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The promise of next gen

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The next generation of consoles promised gamers plenty, but how much of that are they delivering on?

I’m finally sitting down to play Titanfall and it’s hard not to be excited. Respawn’s newest game represents so much of what we as gamers have been promised as the next wave of gaming. I take the controller into my hand, fire up a match and eagerly run out onto the battlefield. I’m quickly running on walls, boosting with my jetpack and hopping in my Titan. As I play a few matches running and gunning, an air of familiarity slowly creeps in. This all feels like a game I’ve played before–namely Call of Dutyand perhaps that’s to be expected, given that the team behind the Titanfall made those games.

As I spend the next few hours playing, it slowly becomes apparent to me that this was not the game I was hoping it would be. Everything I had heard about it led me to believe that it was going to revolutionize the multiplayer shooter genre, but what I was playing felt more like an updated version of CoD than anything else. That’s not to say that Titanfall isn’t a competent shooter or that there is no fun to be had while playing it; it’s just that it doesn’t do anything to revolutionize FPS games. It makes tweaks in the right direction more than it ever takes a stride into truly next-gen territory.

My experience with Titanfall had me walking away scratching my head–were my expectations just too high? Thinking back to the previous two generations, there are a few games that stood out as truly revolutionary, and ushered in the “Next Generation” of their respected times. Halo and Bioshock are two titles that immediately jump out as titles that introduced me to ways of playing I didn’t even know I wanted yet, because they were on the bleeding edge of what games were capable of.

When are we going to see that in the “Next Gen” of 2014? Titanfall hasn’t done it; Infamous Second Son, PS4’s big launch title, certainly hasn’t done it either. Which studio will bring us that first experience of something so amazingly innovative and unique that we won’t help but be able to say that next-gen has arrived? The last generation of consoles is still going strong even in the face of the new consoles being released. The PS3 and Xbox 360 received versions of almost every newly released game that are almost identical to their next-gen counterparts. In some cases, there are even better games coming out on last gen than the new. Dark Souls II, for example, is better than anything that’s been put out on both the Xbox One and PS4 combined.

Why shell out $400-500 on the new, when you can pick up a console with a library that spans nearly ten years and features some of the best games ever made? There’s no clear answer to that question now, but I choose to be optimistic about what the future will hold.Some heavy hitters are lurking just around the corner–Bungie has promised us Destiny this September, Bioware promises the new Dragon Age for fall of this year and maybe, just maybe, Watch Dogs will be just the game we need to tide us over until then.
For now it’s a game of patience, but in the mean time, our old consoles are already hooked up and waiting for us to play. What do you guys think? Is the next-gen falling flat so far? Or has your 360/PS3 already been retired?


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