The Top Rated Games of the New Generation: Are They Truly "Next-Gen"?

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Earning the Name "Next-Gen"

The term "next-gen" has been thrown around a lot in the months since the new consoles' announcements, but when people refer to next-gen, they are not usually just referring to a game on the PS4 or Xbox One (or Wii U). When you say a game is next-gen, you want a game that looks and feels so much better on the new consoles that it justifies your new hardware.

I will be taking a look at all of the next-gen games that have receive 85 or higher on Metacritic and examining their worthiness of the term 'next-gen.' The reviews can be deceiving, it might be a great game, but this list is focused on how far it pushes the new hardware. Mainly, graphics and amount of content.

I will not be including Wii U games in this list, because the Wii U has been out for so long now that it has established a lengthy list of high rated games; also, the Wii U is not known for pushing graphics, but having excellent gameplay.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - PS4, Xbox One

I have mentioned in the past that it is common opinion that the remaster of Tomb Raider was a complete improvement, but that most people would still not want to purchase it if they have already played the original. Most of the improvements are based on textures, particles, shaders, and view distance. Essentially, it's a graphics overload.

If you had Tomb Raider on the PS3 or Xbox 360, then it is not worth it, for most people, to purchase and play the game again for better graphics. Regardless of this fact, the improvement looks very nice and is a beautiful game whether you've have played the original or not.

Is it "Next-Gen"? - YES

Even though everything other than the graphics is still a last-gen game, the graphics have improved enough to consider this game a next-gen game. The game does a great job taking advantage of the new hardware so that it does not feel like a cheap port to the new consoles.

NBA 2K14 - PS4, Xbox One

I am a big fan of 2K's NBA series. I have always admired the fact that year after year, they do a great job of every single installment in the series, and 2K14 is no exception. When you take a look at a comparison between 2K14 on the PS3/Xbox 360 and on the PS4/Xbox One, you can't help but notice the difference. They have really made the players, coaches, and everything else look nice for the newest generation.

Is it "Next-Gen"? - NO

Even though the graphics have improved over the last generation version of the game, they still have some work to do before this game is considered truly next-gen. They are half way there and are doing things they could not on the last generation, but I have high hopes that 2K15 will bring it to a whole new level.

Battlefield 4 - PS4, Xbox One

Ah, Battlefield 4, the series has definitely seen better days. I remember pouring countless hours into Bad Company 2 a few years back, and it is still my favorite. Battlefield 3 was met with high praise and considered a wonderful game, but Battlefield 4 suffered a different fate.

There are a lot of things people have complained about in Battlefield 4, it has been through rough times and a lot of buggy servers. They then tried to make up for it by giving every player battlepacks throughout February - of course the shortest month in the year is their Player Appreciation Month.

Is It "Next-Gen"? - YES

There are a lot of issues with Battlefield 4, but most of those issues have come from trying to make the game as worthy of the new consoles as possible. Between the powerful new Frostbite engine and the graphics it is pouring out, this is arguably the most demanding game on the shelves today. It is not on the same level as Crysis, but as far as visual appeal and realism goes, Battlefield 4 has made a strong debut. Hopefully the next game will fix the issues with this powerhouse.

Titanfall - Xbox One

Titanfall is the game that many gamers have been waiting for. When the developers left Infinity Ward, the next installments in the Call of Duty series just could not hold the torch. Well, the famous developers are finally back as Respawn and have released Titanfall

There was a lot of hype for this game and it did not succeed on the level that people had originally hoped - it was not the next Modern Warfare - but it was certainly a great game.

Is It "Next-Gen"? - YES

I do not think there is any denial here. The game looks, feels, and plays like it was designed for the new consoles. Some people may not have gotten as much as they hoped for, but not many people can say that they dislike this game.

FIFA 14 - PS4, Xbox One

FIFA is a name that everybody is familiar. If there is any series that has never been butchered by EA, it is FIFA. Year after year these games are generally considered the best, and most successful, sports game. FIFA 14 was yet another success, once again EA has done a great job, but what happened to this generation?

Is It "Next-Gen"? - NO

This one is very obvious, despite how great of a game it is. EA has publicly stated that they did not foresee that massive success of the new consoles, and that the success came too late in development for FIFA 14. Basically, they had not funded the game enough because they did not expect so many people to want the new consoles. Well, I guess EA never was too in-touch with the customers.

TowerFall: Ascension - PS4

For many people, this game was a new name when it released to the PS4 and PC; however, the game has actually been out on the Ouya for a while. This indie game was multiplayer gold and has made its way over to the new generation.

Is It "Next-Gen"? - NO

TowerFall: Ascension has been a huge success due to its gameplay, particularly its multiplayer. Graphics and hardware strain are in now way a factor to this game's success at all. This game is a wonderful game, but could probably run on the NES (or at least the SNES) so it is, without a doubt, not next-gen.

Fez - PS4

Ever since its release, Fez has been a breakthrough indie game. Not on the same level as games like Minecraft, but few can deny the quality of Fez's gameplay. This puzzle-platformer came out back in 2012 and has been ported to many platforms over time. It was released on the Xbox 360, but has not arrived on the Xbox One as of this time.

Is It "Next-Gen"? - NO

Just like TowerFall: AscensionFez is an indie game that was successful for its gameplay and not its graphics. This is not a next-gen game and was never intended to be.

Rayman Legends - PS4, Xbox One

Rayman: Legends has been around for a while on the last generation and just came out a couple months ago on PS4 and Xbox One. It is very successful as a great game for all ages that is very well designed.

Is It "Next-Gen"? - NO

Despite the gameplay quality of the game, Rayman: Legends looks very similar when comparing the old consoles to the new consoles. This was not like Tomb Raider and did not receive a bunch of graphical boosts; therefore, this is not a next-gen game.

Flower - PS4

I have shown quite a few people Flower over the past few months, and their first reaction is always something along the lines of "what the hell?" Despite first impressions, Flower is currently the highest-rated game of the generation, sitting one point ahead of Rayman: Legends on Metacritic. This game was available for the PS3 and made its way over to the PS4.

Is It "Next-Gen"? - NO

Flower looks nice, there is no doubt about that. The only problem is, it looks last-gen nice. It has stunning visuals on the PlayStation 3; however, when you compare the PlayStation 3 version with the PlayStation 4 version, they do not look that different. There is a noticeable texture improvement, but you need to see the two side-by-side to see it.

Published Apr. 9th 2014

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I am a gamer and game developer from western Canada who is covering everything gaming in his free time.

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