Winter is coming! …the next gen consoles have arrived.

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If you haven’t seen the two part Southpark episode which merges the console wars and Game of Thrones, I suggest you do so right now.

The only console I picked up this generation was the Wii U… why you may ask, because there really aren’t any games that are interesting enough on the new consoles at the moment that would prompt me to buy either a PS4 or Xbox One.

And this….

2350457-grand_group_artwork_-_super_mario_3d_world… I love Mario games. Mario 64 was my and many other peoples favourite. Super Mario 3D World looks like it might deliver that experience again. Mario Sunshine and the Mario Galaxy franchises didn’t really do it for me, they felt like cheap imitations of Mario 64. This and the Zelda series are what interests me.

As for the PS4 and Xbox One, all these exclusives they have can be replaced and are replicated on the PC just fine. Killzone is essentially Crysis, Forza is any other racing game you can find for half the cost on Steam or Origin, and anything that does interest me will be coming out on the PC. Titanfall and Tom Clancy’s The Division are scheduled to make an appearance on the PC as well. With the PC versions I will get superior controls (mouse, keyboard), if I wanted to do some gaming on the couch with a controller I could also do that, graphics will be better, frame rates will be higher, and more that likely I’ll pay $20 less for the game on the PC than the console. After all the consoles are slimmed down and less powerful versions of a PC. So buying these games on the PC is a no brainer.

The PS4 is a gaming device, that’s it, to be honest there isn’t really anything next gen about it. All SONY did was update the CPU, GPU, and RAM, and voila you got yourself a PS3.5. It’s a bit underwhelming really. As far as the graphic differences between the PS4, 360, PS3, and Wii U. They aren’t that much of a big deal as you would think. Distance and screen size make a big difference in this metric as well. IGN recently did a comparison of these systems graphical capabilities, I took a couple screen caps from that video. Have a look…

Out of the 4 systems the PS3 has the worst graphical capability, the Wii U and 360 are right on par with each other, where the PS4 has the sharpest graphics of all of them. Look at the screen with the Assassin perched on the tower, on the PS4 the foliage and water ripples really stand out in this scene. Yes the PS4 has graphical superiority, but I’ll tell you this, I play this game on a Wii U and a 55″ TV screen about 12 feet away. It looks really good on this system as well. Like I said the PS4 next gen is a little underwhelming.

If you troll the internet you will hear about the superior graphical power of the PS4, in numbers the hardware looks better for the PS4 than the Xbox One. I agree. However the PS fanboy train is forgetting a few things here about the Xbox One, I wouldn’t rule it out just yet. The Xbox One has it’s CPU and GPU clocked higher, it has esram which brings it’s RAM data throughput closer to the PS4, also GDDR5 runs at higher frequencies, but it also has higher access latencies. And finally Miscrosoft has a cloud render cluster which can offload some of the processing that the Xbox One has to do to servers which the developers can utilize. The RAM is really a non issue in my opinion, in the days past of PC gaming a Radeon HD 5870 with 1 GB of GDDR5 RAM highest achievable graphical setting was high. Unless of course you had 8GB+ of DDR3 system RAM, only then you could achieve ultra graphical settings. This means that the GDDR5 and DDR3 RAM worked together to achieve this feat. So stop the fanboy train, because the PS4 and Xbox One are graphically closer than you think. Also let me remind you of the superior hardware the PS3 had compared to the Xbox 360, yet the 360 pulled ahead in most games of the PS3. One thing to note is that the PS4 has better developer tools this time around, apparently they are closer to PC dev tools than the tools of previous PlayStation versions. This is where the Xbox One is lagging right now, and this is why you see Dead Rising at 20-30 frames per second, why COD Ghosts and BF4 run at 720p. Give it some time and the gap will disappear.

Personally if I were to go with the PS4 or the Xbox One, I would pickup the Xbox One just for the features alone. Price is not an issue, I’m adult with an adult job which comensates me just fine for the work I do. The controller is more comfortable, the integration of Kinect 2 and voice commands is more next gen than just a GPU, CPU, and RAM upgrade. As a home theatre enthusiast the whole media centre idea appeals to me more. Xbox live has proven to be a superior online gaming platform to PSN, however we’ll see how the new PSN integration fairs. Finally the future game lineup with the Xbox One is a little more interesting.

Today I will be picking up Super Mario 3D World. I’m going to be like a fat kid in candy store, essentially in a euphoric bliss.

This is one mans opinion, like it or hate it, that’s my $0.02.

PS4 is failing, COD hasn’t changed, and BF4 is back on track.

ps4-rhombox-croppedAs of this writing the PS4 is having a little trouble. Their PSN network has crashed twice so far, units are arriving DOA, and some units have bad HDMI ports.

I hope for all the gamers out there, this is an isolated event and the 0.4% failure rate remains at that. We won’t know the full story till next week though, the first 72 hours is critical, this is the burn in stage. This is where people really put the system through the cycles, and if the quality is sub par it will come out during this time. Also real world use differs from the lab. Temperatures and environments differ from house to house unlike the lab/factory setting. This is not to say that PS4 will fail, if we learned anything from the 360 launch is that if handled correctly despite it’s problems it can still succeed and Sony needs this win, last time I checked they were deep in the red. Also Sony is loosing $60 per unit sold, which they hope to get back from PSN subscriptions and game licensing. Similar to what MS did with the 360 last generation.

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Recently here in Canuck land, Best Buy and Futreshop had a amazing trade in deal. If you brought in any old used game into the store you could trade it in for a brand new copy of either BF4, COD Ghosts, or Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag for the PS3, 360, or Wii U. I took advantage of this offer and got myself a copy of COD Ghosts and AC IV BF. Black Flag is a decent adventure game, something one would expect from the franchise. COD Ghosts on the other hand is the same old with a new setting. It’s absurd how this franchise is being milked for every last penny. It’s the same run and gun garbage of COD past, nothing has changed, level design is basic, and it is still full of newbs. This game doesn`t even pose a challenge online anymore. They need to do something about this franchise and shake things up. Once again I was very disappointed with this.

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Finally let’s talk about Battlefield 4. The PC launch of the game was abysmal, network lag, server crashes, and stutter. Plagued with problems reminiscent of the BF3 launch it was unplayable. Before launch there were promises of the new and improved Netcode, which was supposed to improve online performance. This was not the case. There were problems when playing online, sometimes it would appear that one would get shot around corners, it seemed that there was too much network lag. Sometimes the game would crash at random intervals, and servers would also crash at random intervals. I gave up and put the game down. Then came two weeks of server updates, and on November 14th a 1GB client update. What a difference the update made. Online play is now smooth, enemies are no longer appearing from nowhere, and the game is finally competitive again. Once again I am able to play the Battlefield franchise which I have been playing since the first version “1942”, in college on a LAN environment. If you’ve never played the BF games I suggest you give them a try. They are a squad based, scratch that… squad oriented cooperative games, you have to work together. If you play the lone gun man like in COD you will go down faster than a teenage girl on prom night. The only advice I have to you in this game, is always play cooperatively, this makes the difference between winning and losing.

See you on the Battlefield.

UPDATE: It looks like both systems have their issues after all. XBO has Blue-Ray drive issues. Glad I bought a Wii U. I think Nintendo is the only company that can build a proper gaming console. I’m really sick and tired of this beta culture.