On this blog (and in life) I’ve resisted gaming on modern consoles. Until now the Wii has been my limit, my only concession to contemporary gaming. But I’ve noticed that I’m slowly running out of games on the previous-generation platforms I own. Those wells aren’t completely dry yet, of course! (I’m currently writing another post detailing just some of the many unplayed games in my backlog.) Still, it is increasingly rare for me to purchase a PS2 or Wii game in a shop, as I now own the majority of games that appeal to me!
Honestly, writing this all out paints a rather tragic picture, but really nothing could be further from the truth. Once I’d settled on “upgrading” to more recent hardware, the situation became less “Disaster: Day of Crisis”, and more “Endless Ocean”. After all, there’s nothing a nerd like myself enjoys more than fussing at length over the tiniest, stupidest, least significant details.
Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii U. Those were the three main candidates. You might be wondering why I didn’t include the PS4 and Xbox One, but to be honest nothing I’ve heard about these consoles appeals to me – two years in and “next-gen” barely seems to be off the ground, plus no backwards compatibility…? Not for me. For the past few weeks then I’ve been weighing up the pros and cons of each of the three candidates, so I’m going to share some of my thoughts with you all now. I hope they won’t be too dull given we’ve already established, Sony Always Wins.
I ruled out the 360 pretty early on. The advantage the 360 has is its exclusive downloadable games. Radiant Silvergun by Treasure and innumerable Cave shmups are available for download, as well as the Metroid-like Shadow Complex, which I’ve heard nothing but good things about. The downside is that other than those downloadable titles, the 360 doesn’t have much in the way of compelling retail exclusives. I enjoyed the original Halo but I can live without its sequels, and same with the Gears of War series. There are the Fable games plus Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, which look decent, and finally a few JRPGs, notably Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey, both of which are from Mistwalker (the same fine folks that brought us The Last Story on Wii). These are all well and fine but nothing I’m dying to play.
Let’s turn to the Wii U. I can completely understand the Dreamcast comparisons that the Wii U garners. From everything I’ve seen and read, it is obvious that the Wii U has a small library stuffed with gems from Nintendo and a few select third party developers: Bayonetta, Mario 3D World, Smash Bros., Pikmin 3, and Hyrule Warriors are proof enough of that. I intend to pick one up, just not right now. (I’m also holding out hope that the next Nintendo console, the NX, will be backwards compatible with Wii U.)
Why PS3 then? Well on top of a huge, exciting library of modern games ripe for exploration, the biggest draws for me personally are the PS1/PS2 classics available for download via PSN. Surprise surprise, it all comes down to the availability of old games! Some things may change… but they never change really.
So getting back to those old games, the selection of PS1 classics that have accumulated over the years, particularly on the North American PSN store, is very exciting for a European gamer such as myself. Games like Chrono Cross, Xenogears, Final Fantasy Tactics and many more that never made it to Europe are available for a pittance, not to mention some tough-to-procure PS2 games for download too. The original Katamari Damacy, the ever-illusive Project Zero (aka Fatal Frame) 2, and Gradius V, the latter of which currently sells for just $5. Holy crap. Also, since I once happened upon a PSP being given away on the street (no, really!), I can play PS1 games, both download and disc titles, remotely on it. And that’s neat. Sony Always Wins.
So what do you reckon? Am I making the right choice by picking the PS3 over a current generation console? Are there compelling reasons to get a 360 over a PS3? Drop a comment below and let me know.