The pull of this year’s Eurogramer Expo was the chance to be among the first in UK, and in some cases the world, to play on the video game behemoths’ upcoming next generation hardware, as well as some of the titles that are being released on each.
Having gotten to grips with both machines at Eurogamer Expo 2013, we’ll go through some of their strong points and come a conclusion about what we think is the better system through hands-on experience and game time, putting behind all faux pas, missteps, and fanboy loyalties out of mind.
As technology gets more powerful, the graphics get more ritzy. Both machines produce some amazing works of detail and definition, be it the super-real environments of Forza 5 or the bright and larger than life world of Knack.
If there are any differences in graphic quality, it’s moot. Technically, the PlayStation (PS) 4 is the more powerful machine, but it’s difficult to see any clear differences. Furthermore, with plenty of Xbox 360 and PS3 games to play at the expo, whilst this is an improvement, it’s nothing epiphanic.
One of the most noticeable changes is the consoles’ controllers. The Xbox One’s controller has been on a bit of a diet: slimmer, sleeker, and lighter and not as bulky as its predecessor. It means that you can really focus on the game as you almost don’t notice you’re holding it, unless it’s the nice little surprises like vibration in the analogue sticks.
The PS4, on the other hand, whilst undergoing a similar tummy-tuck, has added a few bells and whistles. The light on the back of the controller is light-sensitive, and there’s a touch sensitive pad sitting pretty between the analogue sticks, opening up a whole host of different ways to play.
However, there’s nothing much these are used for yet, apart from the cutesy PlayRoom included as standard with the PS Eye. Apart from Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag’s use of the touch pad to zoom in on the map, there’s nothing that really exploits these features. There is real potential if developers can rise to the challenge to make something ingenious and bespoke, like Tearaway has on the PS Vita. But until then, these features may as well not be there for all the good they do.
Eye-Eye, Captain Kinect
The cameras in both systems are also a selling point, but it’s the Kinect that wins hands down. Its depth perception and 3D mapping technology is incredibly impressive, with promises of needing less space to use it, and being able to sense multiple players in total darkness.
However, the only thing that’s really making use of it is Rare’s Kinect Sports Rivals. If you’re not into family sports games, then you’ll be left wondering why you’ve paid $100 more to have a camera that you won’t use. If there isn’t anything released for Kinect that is more creative and unique to come out then it’ll just be squandered potential, even if Rare has done a fantastic job. But as this is top-notch kit, we certainly hope there will be. If there wasn’t such a big difference in the price of the two machines, Xbox would be a clear winner
But whilst the PlayStaion 4’s camera isn’t as spectacular, it’s still does its job well. For those who do want to play around with family members on more casual titles, it’ll suffice just fine.
Launch titles and console exclusivity has always been the prime battle ground. Having the technology means nothing if you’ve not got the games. The parade of high-octane first person shooters (FPS) was expected. If we boil it down to the fight between two titles, it’ll be Bungie’s ship-jumping Destinty and Respawn Entertainment’s titanic Titanfall. Although the previews for Destiny look fantastic, Titanfall has pulled out all the stops putting out some amazing playable material at the expo, bowling over everyone who played it. Destiny is going to have to try very hard to top it, and for now Titanfall clinches first place.
But where PlayStation doesn’t have the punch, it certainly has more variety. Knack is a surprisingly twee and frivolous title among the gritty violence of touted spectacles such as Battlefield 4 (XBox One) and Killzone: Shadowfall (PS4). Also, Sony’s dedication to indie developers has manifested itself in some great games such as Resogun and Hohokum show’s that they’re putting money where their mouth is, despite Microsoft’s promises of streamlining indie publishing through ID@XBox.
Conclusion: Variety is the Spice of Life
The technical spec between the two base consoles being so marginal gives Xbox One the lead with its powerful optic peripheral included as standard. But the PS4 really does seem like the better all-rounder, with some brilliant mainstream and indie titles already under its belt.
Though we prefer the PS4 because of this that doesn’t make the Xbox One a bad machine: far from it. The weight we place on game variety may not be as much as others, and at the end of the day it all boils down to whims and preferences. The choice will, as it always has, boil down to what type of titles are available to play on which console.
Xbox One will clearly be the console for FPS fanatics, if only for Titanfall. But the PS4 will still offer substantial titles to satisfy this hardcore group whilst appealing to the wider community with an array of other games and genres, thus making it our winner.
Result: PlayStation 4
Overall Winner: PlayStation 4
Both XBox One and PlayStation 4 were available to play at Eurogamer Expo 2013 held in London UK, September 26th – 29th 2013.