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Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

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Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by TripOpt55 on Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:55 am

I thought maybe we could open a discussion about our thoughts on the 8th generation of consoles so far. It has been almost three years since the PlayStation 4 (November 15th, 2013) and the Xbox One (November 22nd, 2013) launched and four years for the Wii U (November 18th 2012). I imagine we are about halfway through the PS4 and Xbox One's lives (hard to tell with the potential iterative stuff afoot) and the Wii U is just about dead save Zelda. So might be a good time to talk about it. Anything from disappointing new practices to underrepresented genres to standout games and so on. Feel free to pose questions to the other members. I'd make a questionnaire, but I feel then there will be zero discussion and I'd prefer discussion. We'll see how it goes!
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Re: Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by volvocrusher on Sun Nov 06, 2016 3:31 pm

I have no idea how this gen will go down. Part of me gets the feeling there won't even be a PS5 or true Xbox successor, we're just going to keep getting things like the Pro every few years. I think the old hardware will still get phased out, but only from AAA games.

Say Bethesda is making a new Elder Scrolls for instance and can't make it work on the original PS4/XB1. They'll ask Sony and MS if they can just release it on the new one. This would only be years later when the new tech is the mainstream and possibly have another iteration, but still feel it will happen. On the other hand, I think there will still be one unified store meaning the old PS4 and XB1 will still get all the indie games and any game that can work on the old tech. The new hardware will be based on what the machines in 2013 established rather than any reboot.

If that's the model they go with, I can live with that. Means I can just skip every other hardware cycle (or even a couple depending on how frequent it is) whenever I want and upgrade when I'm ready rather than when the industry is. If there's a true PS5 however, then to hell with this model. That's just milking us.

As for the gen so far, it's picking up, but I say this is the weakest post-90s gen. There have been great games, but no game changers. I know we'll never get another Mario 64 or Ocarina of Time, but I'm fine with a Mass Effect or Arkham Asylum which is pushing new ideas so well that everyone copies them. Feel like too many games which could have done that are held back by some shit business decision like MGSV

Also done with getting excited for 90% of AAA games. Destiny was the first burn this gen in that regard, but it feels like we're getting burned with every other game now. So unless it's someone like From Software I'm just assuming everything is garbage until proven good.

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Re: Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by SanAndreasX on Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:04 am

This gen is a hard beast for me to define.
Cons: there have been no games that I felt have been as brilliant as my last-generation favorites, Valkyria Chronicles, Ni no Kuni, or Fallout: New Vegas. Fallout 4 felt like a step back from New Vegas in RPG mechanics, though its engine was definitely improved. Mortal Kombat X, too, while good, wasn't quite as breathtaking for its time as MK 9 was in 2011.

Sony enacting a paywall for PSN via PS+ is kind of a bummer but not unexpected. Investors were telling Sony for years that they were leaving money on the table by not charging for online play, and Xbox Live subs were what finally helped the Xbox line out of the losses it was generating for years.  

It sucks that Nintendo is struggling this generation in sales. Their mistakes are their own doing, but Nintendo still overwhelmingly makes my favorite games.

The handheld market has definitely slumped thanks to smartphones, which definitely sucks for me since I hate gaming on iOS and Android and I hate the freemium model which predominates on those platforms.  The 3DS isn't going to do half what the DS did, and the Vita is likely to be the last portable Sony system after its horrid sales.

Pros: On the one hand, the Valkyria Chronicleses and Ni no Kunis of this generation have yet to be seen, but on the other hand, from where I'm standing, I like the overall game library for 8th gen much better than I did for 7th gen.  The overall quality and variety is better for me. There were times during 7th gen that the pickings were so slim (2009-2011) that I was ready to hang up video gaming.

There are a lot more RPGs coming out on consoles these days, where last gen they'd be confined to the tiny screens of the DS and PSP, and that's one massive, massive improvement right there in my eyes. Square Enix is back on consoles in a big way and they are once more my favorite third party developer/publisher. Namco is more awesome than ever, Koei Tecmo has been really good with RPGs (Nights of Azure is probably going to show up on my GOTY list this year) and action games, and it looks like K-T is going to have a breakout blockbuster hit once Sony publishes Ni-Oh on PS4 (Sony apparently remembered that they originally declined to publish Demon's Souls in the US and it became a breakout hit for From and Atlus). Sega and SNK seem to be getting over their infatuation with pachislots (even while Konami gutted its whole game division to invest in that market) and releasing more games. We're getting FFXV, Persona 5, Ni no Kuni 2, and a lot of other great games.

The Wii U honestly had a lot more to appeal to me than the Wii did, and while I'm sad that the Wii U wasn't a success, I've really enjoyed mine. Ditto with the 3DS vs. the DS. The library isn't as broad as the DS, but the overall quality is better.  And the Vita, as poorly as it sold, still has a great library of games and I have a Vita TV that lets me play them on my TV screen along with the PSP library.

I've also enjoyed a lot of HD remasters this generation. I'm almost tempted vote for TP HD and VC Remastered as my GOTY given that you all know that those are two of my all time favorite games, and I'm sure y'al have enjoyed TLOU Remastered.

I guess that last paragraph could be considered an indictment on the state of gaming, in that those two games are prettied-up versions of 6th (Twilight Princess properly belongs to the Gamecube rather than the Wii IMO, and the HD version is based off of the Gamecube version) and 7th gen games. However, keep in mind that for me, those two particular games are god-tier just like Final Fantasy VII, and I've really enjoyed a lot of games this year.

As for the PS4 Pro and Scorpio, I'm taking a wait and see attitude with those. This isn't the first time the industry has pushed mid-generation upgrades and revisions to consoles. They did it a lot in the 1980s and early 90s, and what ended up happening is that the upgrades ended up being poorly supported with software to justify buying them. What did happen was that consumers got tired of the upgrades and the companies took heavy losses on them. The world is a different place today, when Apple and Samsung have convinced a great many of us that it's perfectly reasonable to replace $600 cell phones on an annual basis, but I'm still kind of leery. If my PS4 croaks, I'll probably buy a Pro to replace it. Otherwise, no.


Last edited by SanAndreasX on Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:13 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by volvocrusher on Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:11 am

One thing about the Pro and Scorpio that separate them from other mid gen upgrades is how they're lacking their own exclusives. Sega CD and 32x had their own exclusives which is why they flopped. This is new ground, something without its own unique software.

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Re: Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by TripOpt55 on Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:39 am

I am pretty unbothered by the Pro. It is such a slight upgrade that it seems inconsequential to me. I was worried somewhat selfishly perhaps that I'd feel the need to start upgrading every few years which I wouldn't like. If it still means I end up having to do it every six years or so (whether that be for a second revision or a true PS5), I think I'd be fine. The Scorpio may change things as it is representing a much larger leap than the Pro and may change what Sony does too. I'm in wait and see, but not too bothered as of now.

While that topic is certainly welcome, I was more wondering about what people think of what has happened so far. I'm not too fussed over the lack of innovative/influential titles like you mention Casey. I do think this gen is missing just those standout new series/IP. Those could stand out through innovation sure, but I'd be just as happy with ones that pull me in through an intriguing new game world or cast of characters. I feel like new series like that is something I expect each gen and they are lacking. Most of my favorite games so far have been sequels (off the top of my head at least).

This gen got off to a really slow start which means I'm definitely a little down on it. There was too much cross-gen early. The development cycles on games have clearly gotten longer which was to be expected. And while I think releases this year have improved my opinion of the gen's library, I don't see the dev times getting much shorter, so I still think we end up with less releases from some quality devs this gen than last. Probably significantly. I'm back in speculation-town again which I was trying to avoid, but that is a worry.

I'll post more thoughts, but those are some initial ones. I'm digging your guys' responses to this. Those are the kind of posts I was hoping for.
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Re: Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by volvocrusher on Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:25 am

I don't have much against sequels, especially if they're refining a pretty recent IP. It's just I feel like every new IP or game with a fresh idea is held back by some bone head decision or bad corporate move. I'm not feeling a lot of the safe sequels either. Halo blew, Gears was okay, Uncharted/Fallout 4 were good not great IMO. Rise of the Tomb Raider and Doom were still pretty great though.

Wii U has been an exception there though, Tropical Freeze, Bayo 2, Mario 3D World/Kart 8, and Smash hit every note they needed to for me but still played it safe. But that's part of the thing, none blew me away like The Last of Us or any Mass Effect. I would be enjoying this gen more if PS4/XB1 were as consistent as the Wii U, but it still wouldn't stack up to the last two gens IMO.

Either way we are still getting good games just the highs aren't as high as the last two gens to me. I can't compare them as easy to gens 4/5 since they kept rewriting the rules while 6/7 kept refining said rules, but I really want to be blown away more, whether or not it's innovative in doing so.

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Re: Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by ajapam on Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:52 pm

I get the feeling that this gen is only really starting just now. Maybe it's The Last Guardian finally coming out or linear FPS campaigns seeming to make a bit of a comeback this year. I dunno. Before now I felt like games were just following the trends created late in the last generation, whereas all of the other generations created a big new trend. I think going back to older styles of games, looking at what worked, and sort of remixing ideas could be a bit of a common theme this time around since there doesn't seem to be any big new area that advances in technology will open up. Apart from VR but that's far too prohibitive to be the driving force behind games

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Re: Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by Krubixcube on Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:15 pm

All of you have pretty much said what I would have but more articulately so I'll just chime in with Bloodborne being the only game of this gen that really blew me away in any way. The rest have been safe, or just sequels from franchises established in previous gens (even Bloodborne doesn't get away unscathed in that regard).

Where's the original content and new IP's that even the last gen had! Uncharted, Mass Effect, Valkyria Chronicles...it's all PS3 game remasters and sequels (it feels like, anyway).

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Re: Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by TripOpt55 on Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:01 am

I mean if we just take a look at a comparable amount of time into last gen (2009), it was filled with all these kind of games we feel are lacking this gen. Whether they be sort of important/influential titles, ones that blew people away (obviously different depending on the person) or even the start of new series/IPs that ended up helping to define that gen (thinking back on each gen these series always seem to be introduced in the first few years and I'm not sure what this gen's are). Off the top of my head, here are some (stealing some of your guys' mentions, some of these had multiple entries in that time):

Mass Effect
Gears of War
Uncharted
Assassin's Creed
LittleBigPlanet
Demon's Souls
Mirror's Edge
Modern Warfare
Mario Galaxy
Batman
Portal
Bioshock

Even if you don't like all of these, I think one could recognize their value in one way or another.
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Re: Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by volvocrusher on Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:57 am

Definitely agree. Meanwhile you look at the games hyped to be the next big thing this gen (leaving some like Knack out since they weren't expected to be big)

Watchdogs
Titanfall
Destiny
No Man's Sky
Evolve
The Order 1886
The Division

Overwatch
Sunset Overdrive
Bloodborne
Until Dawn

I separated these two with that space from the ones that underwhelmed and the ones that delivered as a whole. I recognize Watchdogs and Titanfall as solid titles but their hype and what we got didn't really match up. A lot of people were satisfied and maybe a sequel can/has delivered on the potential AC2 style. BUT there's still salt over these games.

Then you look at the second and they're all solid or in BBs case building off of the Souls blueprint. Overwatch is a really solid shooter, SO is a neat twist on open world, UD is a cool twist on QTE heavy adventure games. They're not going to be as common on people's all time favorites list as last gens best I feel. BB and Overwatch maybe to a lesser extent but they're still evolutions not revolutions. And there's nothing wrong with a game like that, just feel we need more of the ones that rewrite the rules.

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Re: Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by TripOpt55 on Thu Nov 10, 2016 4:43 am

I definitely think that is the big thing missing this gen. I'm really hoping Horizon is one we look back on like that. Do you guys see any games coming up that could fill that void?

On a brighter note, looking back at it more, I have been happy with a lot of sequels. Uncharted 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider, The Witcher 3, Arkham Knight, Far Cry 4, Doom, Wolfenstein, Lara Croft And the ToO, Mario Kart 8, Tropical Freeze, Mario 3D World, Bayonetta 2, Yoshi's Woolly World... probably some I'm forgetting. Some are my favorites in their series. Others pretty high up at least. Of course, there were some bad/mediocre sequels like Kirby, Far Cry Primal, Halo 5, but letdown sequels are always a thing.

Also something I sometimes take for granted is that we have had the digital space right from the beginning of this gen. Even last gen it wasn't fully going at launch and before that we didn't have it at all really. It allows for a lot of games we wouldn't have otherwise probably (or they would just be on PC at least).
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Re: Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by Krubixcube on Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:30 am

I guess I'm not saying that sequels are inherently bad, and as you noted a lot of those sequels are great. I'm just saying we had a lot of new IPs and risks taken last gen that just aren't there this gen.

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Re: Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by TripOpt55 on Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:07 pm

Right, I think it is obvious from my posts that I agree with that. I just thought after a couple largely negative posts, I would try and post some good things about this gen.
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Re: Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by volvocrusher on Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:28 am

So far 2017 has been really great, with Zelda, Horizon, Persona and Nier all delivering, but I'm wondering if this is a sign the gen is shaping up more or if this is just a quick spike. I'm not trying to be down, but I see Prey then a bit of a dry spell of mostly remakes/remasters.

Now E3 could change all of this, but I'm curious which of the fall games will deliver. I think Mario Odyssey and RDR2 are surefire bets overall (even though I thought RDR1 was really overrated, I can't deny most people love it) and Xenoblade 2 will deliver if it comes this year. But there's some games like Destiny 2 I'm unsure on. Hoping we get a bunch of games that deliver the rest of the year though.

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Re: Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by TripOpt55 on Sun Apr 09, 2017 1:06 pm

Well Switch games shouldn't count towards the generation we are talking about in here. Also outside of Horizon it doesn't seem like there is much to solve the whole new IP issue this year. It has been a strong start to the year though.
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Re: Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by ajapam on Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:32 pm

Nioh is a new IP though, right? (It could be a spin-off of something for all I know but it's at least doing its own thing)

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Re: Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by TripOpt55 on Sun Apr 09, 2017 3:27 pm

Good point. Nioh slipped my mind. That definitely seemed like a good one and seemed to fit what we were looking for. I'm sure there are more upcoming ones I'm forgetting too.
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Re: Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by volvocrusher on Sun Apr 09, 2017 4:17 pm

Is Switch not this gen? I'm honestly curious since depending on the model Sony and MS go it could live and die beside the PS4 and XB1 with their upgrades. Like a new system doesn't exactly mean a new gen, I know Neo Geo released two 4th gen systems. But Switch could also be a new portable gen....and now I've gone cross eyed.

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Re: Taking Stock of this Gen So Far

Post by TripOpt55 on Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:01 pm

If I remember correctly, the Neo Geo and the Neo Geo CD had the exact same technical specifications. They just changed the format in which they delivered software (from cartridge to CD). I feel the Wii U/Switch transition doesn't compare to that at all. The Pro is also a different situation I believe than the Switch since it plays the same games. Maybe the Scorpio will prove different. I suppose it isn't a cold hard fact that the Switch is Nintendo's next generation console (or handheld if you'd rather), but I honestly don't know what the argument against it being so would be.

Edit: I sound pretty adamant about something that is definitely a bit murky. Just put me firmly in the Switch is 9th Gen camp I guess.
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