There are an abundance of current-gen titles available for the launches of both Xbox One and Playstation 4. Major, well-recognized franchises such as Call of Duty, Battlefield and Assassin’s Creed front the bill, but then there are the likes of FIFA and NBA showing new-found sporting quality.
Having played these titles on current and next-gen platforms, we tell you our platform of preference and whether these next-gen upgrades are worth the extra cash.
Angry Birds: Star Wars
People are rightfully angered at how much Angry Birds: Star Wars is retailing for, especially seeing as it’s a 99c App on iPhone and Android. From that, going to $50 is a pretty big leap! And while there’s not a whole lot of difference between the current and next-gen version of the game, both offer a fair sized upgrade from the mobile versions (as you’d hope and expect) – That said, you’re essentially paying for the same game and over $49 more for the privilege of having it on your home console.
Still, as a Star Wars fan, this remains my favorite Angry Birds title to date. Its full of the familiar fanfare and finesse the franchise is renowned for, but delivered with tongue-in-cheek Angry Birds flavour. The HD graphics and bright, vibrant palette are a real upgrade from the bite-sized mobile screen, but when comparing current and next-gen versions, you’d be hard-pressed to notice any difference. You’re not going to play on Xbox One and notice significant improvements over the 360 version. What you will get, however, is much improved Kinect support.
Kinect 2.0 can detect the clenching of your hand and recognizes your voice more than ever. With Angry Birds: Star Wars, players can choose to clench their hand and pull back on the slingshot, then open their hand to release the bird, or they can use their voice to totally control the game in collaboration with the gamepad. The game works incredibly well with Kinect and unlike the previous installment, makes for comfortable play.
Sure, the Playstation 4 version of the game makes use of the unique touch-screen on the Dualshock 4 and that would seem the most logical progression from touchscreen and it works wonderfully, but Kinect’s responsiveness is just as suitable (if not more so) and has become a favored method of control for me next to the gamepad.
With the additional bonus levels and expanded multiplayer support, Angry Birds: Star Wars is actually a great showcase for the new Kinect and one of the first titles to demonstrate just how good this new model can be with the right type of game..
Version to purchase: Xbox One
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Even on Xbox 360, this year’s Creed looks fantastic, but with the super HD quality of next-gen, coupled with improved color palettes, better frame-rate and higher resolutions, Ubisoft clearly designed this latest installment with next-gen platforms in mind. Without question, Black Flag stands out most as a next-gen game.
As you might expect, the water and weather effects are the defining features, but with the further 1080p quality of the PS4 version, as well as the additional Aveline content, it definitely makes most sense to play Assassin’s Creed 4 on Playstation 4
Version to purchase; Playstation 4
Battlefield 4 has had a troubled few months since launch. What should have been the most anticipated shooter this year has struggled to capture anyone’s imagination with repeated bugs, glitches and problems. EA have even been threatened with legal action due to the game’s poor quality.
Still, DICE are working around the clock to fix things and seem adamant on releasing a patch a day across all platforms.
And certainly, in recent days, the stability of the game is drastically improved from those initial launch hiccups.
From a visual perspective, however, Battlefield 4 is as good as it gets on next-gen. The game is astonishingly beautiful to look at, and really does raise the bar for quality and expectation. As a result, 360 and PS3 versions of Battlefield 4 are – arguably – worth ignoring completely. The color palette on 360, in particular, is far from easy on the eyes and the system really struggles to keep up with the game through regular hiccups. As you can imagine, the online experience is altogether pretty forgettable and renders the bulk of the campaign as a slog.
On Playstation 4, however, the game really explodes to life. Unquestionably, you can instantly tell that Battlefield 4 thrives and prosper for the resolution and horsepower. Of course, Battlefield 4 is probably best experienced on the highest-end of the PC spectrum, but with the arrival of next-gen consoles and the enormous amount of difference between the platforms, purchasing Battlefield 4 almost seems to be a necessity on Playstation 4 or Xbox One.
I’d choose PS4 in this instance, however, due to the 1080p, 60fps fluidity which Xbox One does not offer. Though the game currently seems to be more stable on Microsoft’s platform, the amount of patches and fixes coming out will probably bring both versions of the game on par with one another – in terms of stability – over the next few weeks.
Version to Purchase: Playstation 4
Call of Duty: Ghosts
The reality is that COD: Ghosts isn’t dramatically different from current to next-gen. The differences are there (the lighting isn’t as dull, the resolution better and textures are more crisp and refined) but on the whole, you would be just as happy playing COD on your current-gen platform as your next. I imagine the changes will be more noticeable next year as the developers try to squeeze more out of the engine and become more comfortable with the new platforms. That being said, the Xbox One version offers improved cloud and server support, making the online experience less choppy, offering fewer interruptions and making the gameplay experience more fluid than on any other platform right now.
Ghosts is still a very complete experience whichever platform you choose to play on, however if you have the choice, go Xbox One. That way you get the improved online experience (which, to be fair, makes up a sizeable chunk of the game), the slight graphical improvements and gain access to all DLC before anyone else.
In the words of Kevin Bacon: No brainer!
Version to Purchase: Xbox One
FIFA 14 looks great no matter which next-gen platform you purchase it on. In fact, FIFA 14 benefits significantly compared to its current-gen bretheren.
For starters, the crowd are much more alive and reactive. There’s a real feeling of atmosphere during your game which has been missing from previous instalments of FIFA. The next-gen processing power allows more action to take place on the screen at one time, therefore the crowd will be much more responsive during decision making and goal-scoring.
Then there’s the grass. The beautiful blades of grass which suffer for tread marks and eb and flow in the wind. The freshly cut lawn looks more beautiful than ever.
But the players have also benefitted from improved visuals and better likeness. The IGNITE engine really comes to life on these new platforms and sets an exciting precedent for the next eight years of next-gen games. Things are only going to get better from here and that’s an encouraging, exciting and even scary, thought.
However, many people have reported issues with FIFA 14 on Playstation 4, such as corrupting save files and the game hard-crashing. Words of encouragement seem far and few-between. Meanwhile, the Xbox One version that bundled with most Day One Editions has only suffered slight, barely noticeable hiccups.
The Xbox One version has also benefitted from the clip recording, which is intelligent enough to pick up on classic goal-scoring moments and produces dynamic, action-packed clips for you to share with your friends without you scrambling around, having to worry about capturing ‘that’ great moment. On top of that, Kinect gets more involved and picks up your reactions to decisions, lets you switch out changes and substitutions from the bench, and will even reprimand you for swearing (which has good and bad implications). Finally, the Xbox One version has exclusive Ultimate Team content. So, that’s neat.
That means, right now, Xbox One is the place to buy two of the world’s most popular games. FIFA 14 flourishes best of all on the One and trounces the PS4 version with some neat features.
Version to Purchase: Xbox One
Injustice: Gods Among Us
So, here’s a peculiar thing. Having played Injustice on PS4, I actually found myself wishing I had it on PS3.
Yes, there are some graphical improvements – the resolution is sharper – plus you get all of the DLC on PS4. But beyond that, there’s not much else to say.
The cut-scenes are horrendously choppy. Utterly, unashamedly ugly, sluggish and a frustration to watch. The sound breaks up and hiccups regularly and there are stutters and stammers all throughout. Something I never noticed on Xbox 360 or PS3.
Then there’s the Online Play. For one, the game seems highly unpopular and finding a game is a slow, drawn-out process. There have also been issues with regular disconnecting and borked server support. A patch has been released to help improve things but that doesn’t assist anyone with the limited amount of people playing the game.
My advice? Stick current-gen and buy all the DLC instead. This is one upgrade you’ll actually regret.
Version to Purchase: Playstation 3 or Xbox 360
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
The first next-gen LEGO game doesn’t really look much different from the art-style of the games we’ve been playing the last few years. Yet, there are several differences which really bring a new lease of life to the series.
For starters, LEGO figures have never been this shiny. Look at Iron Man’s helmet and you’re seeing New York reflect back at you. Play through the first level against Sandman and watch as LEGO pieces swirl and circle into big clumps, devastating the environment.
But then you’re seeing more activity happening on the screen as well, crowds of people cheering and jeering for the Avengers as they take down the bad-guys, and more enemies descending on your position than ever before.
LEGO Games have really started to show a more artistic, beautiful side in recent years (just look at LEGO Lord of the Rings) and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes continues that trend. That, of course, comes alongside the hallmark humor we know and love. The truth is, that translates just as well on Xbox 360 as it does on Playstation 4.
While a current-gen purchase would be absolutely adequate and there are no real stand-out reasons to buy the game on next-gen platforms, LEGO Marvel perhaps shows where the series will make a turn for the better in the future. There are less dips in frame-rate, and everything is so sparkly, fresh and shiny.
If you have the choice, go for the upgrade, but don’t feel left out if that isn’t an option.
All platforms are great (though buy on either next-gen platform if you have the choice)
If there’s one game to rival the next-gen beauty of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag and Battlefield, it’s NBA 2k14.
Yes, a basketball game is arguably the best looking next-gen title and after just a few moments with it, you’ll start to see why. The court glints and gleams as never before, beads of sweat drip off player’s foreheads as they get deeper into the game, facial expressions show off anxiety and elation in equal measure and the whole game is just stunning to behold.
It’s a substantial leap up in quality from current to next-gen and doesn’t suffer for hiccups and frame-rate issues, despite the massive shift in style.
Everything about NBA2k14 is at a high standard, oozes finesse, and sets the bar for quality incredibly high.
Your jaw will drop.
The game looks equally elegant on Xbox One, but if you really want to show off your next-gen console to your friends, get it on Playstation 4. The sharper style, fluidity and resolution just edges Microsoft’s console here.
Regardless, if you want a showcase next-gen game to give your friends a feel for what these new platforms can do, NBA 2k14 is the game to own. Hands-down.
Version to Purchase: Playstation 4