End of a Console Generation: Best Console (Jack's View)
So we’re here, standing at the dawn of a new generation of games consoles. But before we start to embrace the Xbox One and Playstation 4, lets take a look back at the previous generation and why it was so special. In this part, I’m going to pick my favourite of the three consoles.
I’ll start off with the Wii, which I think most of the Developer’s Accomplice team would be expecting me to pick given that I’ve always loved Nintendo. It’s for that reason that I adored the Wii, as it was the only place to play excellent games like Super Mario Galaxy 2, Super Smash Bros Brawl, Donkey Kong Country Returns and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. It also changed the way that we play games and for me was the most innovative of the three consoles thanks to it’s unique remote controller which expanded the market and got even more people playing. The success speaks for itself in the sales figures, but some felt alienated thanks to Nintendo’s new approach. It’s hard to keep everyone happy, but I felt that the big N struck a nice balance between their classic franchises and the fresh new ideas that would appeal to those that hadn’t really touched games before.
But despite these things, the console was still lacking in a number of departments. The online system paled in comparison to that of it’s competitors and the lack of HD graphics meant that many of it’s titles failed to compare (although having said that some developers, particularly Nintendo, managed to embrace the system and really push it to the limit).
Next up is the Xbox 360, which had a bit of an early advantage being the first of the consoles to go to the market back in late 2005 (where has the time gone?). It also had the best controller this generation in my opinion. It was comfortable, well designed and the layout was perfect and I’m glad that Microsoft won’t be changing it a great deal for their new console. Xbox Live, despite the cost, was probably the best of the online services this generation, and of course the console had some awesome games. In terms of exclusives that really appealed to me it was somewhat lacking compared to the rival consoles, but those that did come to the console (such as Halo, Gears of War, Viva Piñata and Left 4 Dead) were excellent. What’s more, I found myself purchasing the vast majority of multiformat titles primarily because of the comfort afforded by the controller.
However, next to the exclusives available on the Playstation 3, the 360 paled in my opinion. Games like The Last Of Us, Uncharted, God of War 3, Journey and Metal Gear Solid 4 were all system sellers in their own right and most of which feature in my list of the ten greatest games of this generation. What’s more, the console also played host to a number of excellent multiformat titles like Mass Effect, BioShock and Skyrim, meaning that if you could only afford one console, the Playstation 3 probably had you covered. The free online service was also a particular draw for the console, and the fact that the system also doubled up as a Blu Ray player meant that it provided excellent value for money.
All three consoles were excellent and had their own strong points. Comparing them is tough (especially the Wii, given that it was so different) but for me, the most important aspect of a games console are the games. Although it’s nice to have extra media features available, I buy a console for it’s games and these are how it is remembered. For me then, the Playstation 3 was the defining console of it’s generation. It had all of the awesome multiformat titles that I loved and a stellar line up of exclusives that couldn’t be found anywhere else. Worth it just for The Last Of Us and the Uncharted trilogy, the PS3 can stand proudly alongside the two previous Playstation consoles (which were both notable for their excellent selection of games). It’s for that reason that I’ll be picking up a Playstation 4 before an Xbox One too.
Of course, it will be interesting to see how the next generation plays out. Nintendo has once again innovated with it’s Wii U console, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the latest entries into their most popular franchises and see how they utilise the Gamepad controller. With Microsoft’s change of heart regarding their online service, they’re appealing to their fans again, but it would have been interesting to see how they moved the market forward with some of their more radical ideas. And as for Sony, they seem to have played their announcements well so far. All three consoles will likely have some great games, again the major selling point for me, but which one will come out on top remains to be seen, It genuinely could go in any direction.
And remember, that’s just my opinion. Drop us a comment though, what do you think? What was your favourite console this generation and why?