By Cole Parkinson
It’s been a little over a year since the next crop of next generation gaming systems were released and it finally feels like both Xbox Series X and Playstation 5 consoles are the main focus.
At the beginning of any new generation of consoles, developers and publishers promise to continue to publish games on both the new and old consoles. While it definitely benefits those on the older systems, it also hurts developers as they become spread more thin trying to make the game work on old tech while also explore possibilities the new systems bring.
A perfect example is February’s release of Horizon: Forbidden West for PS5 and PS4. The PS5 version saw plenty of visual upgrades and focus on the haptic triggers found within the DualSense controller, while the PS4 version sees a decline in resolution, animation, and overall performance. So, the best place to play it is obviously on PS5. But that delves into another subject.
The biggest issue continues to be supply issues which has led to a decrease in available PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles. While those looking can still see occasional drops, there is still no guarantee you’ll be able to pick up a system whenever you want. And with this pandemic continuing well past where anyone wants it to, it’s hard to say when stores will be flush with these consoles.
Those who do have one have no doubt experienced plenty of positives. Of course, any new tech can come with its share of bugs, I think overall, the Xbox Series X and PS5 have been relatively easy in terms of transition. The biggest negative has been a lack of true next gen games, but again, COVID-19 have played an active role in that. Another barrier for some is pricing, and that’s completely understandable. These things aren’t cheap and while they are nice to have, if they’re out of your price range at the moment, it’s not life or death considering a large amount of new games are still being released on them. And speaking of games…
This year sees plenty of games on the slate and while delays can still happen, it should be a great year for gaming. But looking at these next gen games that are currently out, it’s truly astounding what developers can do. Ray tracing is one of those things that you may not notice immediately, but once you do, it’s hard to play games without it. Seeing reflections in puddles of water, glass, buildings, and everything in between is extremely cool.
The lack of load times is almost with a doubt one of the best improvements on the previous generation. All PS5/Xbox Series X games now have you back in the game in seconds. Before, several games near the end of the generation would see load times up to two minutes in some cases.
A good example of upgrades is the recent PS5 remaster of the PS4 Sony exclusive Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. I see quite a few notable upgrades notably in textures (both in characters and the environment), load times, haptic triggers in the DualSense are great, and let me tell you the locations you visit in the game are the best they’ve ever looked. Sure, they looked absolutely stunning back when it originally released on PS4 in 2016, but no you could convince people they’re watching a TV show. It’s that good.
And the thing is — it’s only going to get better. Once developers have more time on both consoles, the boundaries will be pushed even further. Rockstar is currently working on the next Grand Theft Auto, and after Red Dead Redemption 2, I except them to knock it out of the park. I have a hard time believing it will top RDR2, but you never know.
Xbox has tons to look forward to with Bethesda Game Studios, 343 Industries, Obsidian, Machine Games, and Arkane Studios. There’s going to be tons of great games coming for Xbox this generation and that’s only a good thing for gamers.
Playstation of course has Naughty Dog, Santa Monica Studio, Guerrillia, Insomniac, and Sucker Punch all to look forward to through the next several years.