The current gen. I almost didn’t buy into this one for several reasons. For one, Microsoft really dropped the ball with their early plans. Always online, mandatory Kinect, giving points to people who sat through TV adverts… and charging again for pre-owned games. Fortunately somewhere along the line someone convinced me to buy into the latest and greatest.
Wii U was my first, purchased around two years ago. Like most Nintendo consoles before it I really just wanted it for the exclusive, first party titles and when I saw it bundled with Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon I jumped in.
It’s a great console, and a real shame it didn’t sell. Given the hype that Nintendo can generate for their Mini reissues, and the fervour that exists today for Switch (which has already passed Wii U’s lifetime sales) it’s strange that this passed so many people by. The gamepad is cumbersome, and I tend to avoid games that require its use, but with a Pro controller you’re away on the kind of games we love Nintendo for.
In my opinion Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World and the HD remasters of the two Gamecube Zeldas are amongst the very best of their respective series. Splatoon was a new IP, and very much fun, and games like Zombi U made intelligent use of the gamepad and it’s screen within the game world.
A few months later I was convinced by a friend (who just happens to run a game shop…) to invest in PlayStation 4. I’m glad I did, it’s a fantastic machine. Probably my favourite console of all time. Lack of backwards compatibility is its only weakness – though not a massive problem for me as I still have all four PlayStation models to enjoy the older games. The system’s library is vast enough regardless, with some of the finest exclusive titles available on it – Horizon Zero Dawn, Until Dawn, Nioh, Uncharted and Bloodborne leading the charge.
The PlayStation 4 is a powerful machine, giving some fantastic graphics on my 1080p TV. I have yet to experience it in 4K or HDR, which can only be better. The PS4 Pro that I now own downscales many games from something higher than 1080p, which has the effect of smoothing edges.
Xbox One S was a recent addition to my collection. I purchased it in a good sale after Gran Turismo Sport failed to impress me, simply to play the various Forza titles. They haven’t disappointed. I will keep the console solely for the exclusives, and I now have most that I want – Forza 6 and 7, Forza Horizon 3, Halo Collection, Quantum Break, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Cuphead. All are fine games.
The controller is the finest reason to enjoy the console. Very comfortable in use, the joysticks have a good weight, whilst he real highlight are the analogue triggers – they have vibration motors that add extra depth to games, particular racing and shooting games.
Microsoft seem to have (at least until their next console) put to rest their slightly nefarious ideas – Kinect is not required, pre-owned discs work just fine with no additional cost. Further, they are doing a good job of bringing 360 and even Xbox games to the system through their backwards compatibility updates.
I haven’t said much about Switch, which I bought a few months ago now. I’ll be honest, I’ve not spent an awful lot of time with it. It’s great for holidays, playing in handheld mode in hotels and the like, but I’ve not been particularly inspired to enjoy it at home. Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild, the two flagship games of the system, do nothing for me. The strength of the game library so far is in its indie eShop titles, most of which are available on the other consoles. Too bad really, but Switch is going the way of the N64 for me.
So my favourite. Again, it could be any of them for their own reasons, but deep down I know the answer to be PlayStation 4. I have never owned so many games for any one system, partly due to increased disposable income but mostly because there are simply so many great games to play on it! DualShock 4 is also a fine upgrade that Sony so desperately needed to make to their controller, which has essentially been the same for two decades.
Comment below or or look me up on Twitter if you want to share you experiences and thoughts. @bitlandgaming.