Re:generation

My PlayStation is scheduled to hit my welcome mat on Friday!

I'm excited to finally get my hands on the updated controller, check out the UI, browse around PSN, and just get a feel for how Sony does things — I have barely touched a Sony console since buying the Original First OG Antique Xbox way, way back around the turn of the century. Caught up in KOTOR, Morrowind, and Jade Empire, I shoved my then-beloved PS2 aside and I've been pretty Xbox-centric ever since.

While I actually worked for a vendor on the Microsoft campus in Redmond at the time of the OG Xbox's release — I remember driving to work on 520 the week it launched, a massive green XBOX spotlight blazing Commissioner-Gordon-style just off the highway, and stealing a few minutes of 4-player death match Halo during a couple of work breaks — my decade-plus in the Microsoft console ecosystem hasn't been about brand loyalty or fanboyism, but simply a preference for Xbox's exclusive titles over Sony's, and Microsoft's leading of the charge on the internet-connected/broadband side of console gaming over the last couple of generations.

The OG Xbox, paired with Xbox Live, rocked my polygonal world in '02. Straight out of the gate I became thumb-blisteringly enamored with Climax’s MotoGP: Ultimate Racing Technology, the motorcycle-racing game included with the first XBox Live Starter Kit. It was right in my wheelhouse as a motorcycle enthusiast (and already a big fan of Valentino "The Doctor" Rossi and the entire MotoGP circus) and a racing-game fanatic. Without cheating (rampant back in those days), I climbed into the top couple hundred out of hundreds of thousands of players on Xbox Live’s MotoGP rankings. I worked an odd schedule, so I often raced against (or shot up, in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon) a group of guys from the UK that I'd latched onto.

Yes, it's true. Back in the early days, before it was bombarded with foul-mouthed 12 year olds, Xbox Live was actually a viable place to benchrace and shoot the sh*t with like-minded gamers worldwide. I'd previously dabbled in a bit of EverQuest on the PC (chatting with text-only, no headset), but the ease with which Xbox Live connected me to such a massive network of gamers was really mindblowing back in the early aughts.

I had suffered in line overnight at Southcenter Target to buy the PlayStation 2, waiting through the kind of northwest November cold that invades your bone marrow and ducking the local wannabe gangbangers trolling the mall parking lot in their rolling neon subwoofers. I adored that system, but I was so impressed with the OG Xbox that I basically wrapped the power cord around the ol' PS2 and never touched it again, save for a few frustrating hours of Final Fantasy XII well into the 360/PS3 generation that made me wish I'd left well-enough alone.

The Xbox's broadband pipeline, ample hard disc drive, crisp graphics, and multimedia capabilities felt like next-gen stuff compared to the PS2. Really, they were next-gen stuff; the 360 and PS3 were built from ground up to fully integrate with all the broadband internet-based interactivity that the OG Xbox introduced and that we now take for granted.

Buying an Xbox 360 was a no-brainer for me back around the time of its launch. The PS3 was still a ways off, I was already an Xbox Live convert, and between Forza, Halo, and licensing agreements with Bethesda and BioWare, nearly all the games I could want were on Microsoft's new second console. I figured that at some point new Gran Turismo and Final Fantasy games would lure me to eventually buy a PlayStation 3 as well, but I fell helmet-over-heels for Forza 3, then the next Final Fantasy ended up being available for the 360 (and not spectacular anyways), and the early days of the Playstation Network seemed to be filled with horror stories ... or at least a lot of word-of-mouth disappointment.

Turns out I'm a multimedia mercenary. From a dedicated Nintendo kid in the '80s, having made the leap over to PlayStation back in the '90s, at the turn of the millennium I jumped over to Microsoft. I've pledged my allegiance to whichever console I thought offered me the best gaming experience at that time.

And now, with the release of both Sony's and Microsoft's new systems and the new generation of consoles upon us, I ... well, I ...

I honestly have no idea where I'm going.

Let me clarify. That PlayStation I’m expecting on Friday is a pre-loved PS3 that I bought cheap on eBay, mostly due to the fact that I'd already picked up the aforementioned Fanatec racing wheel in September. The Fanatec wheel happens to be 360/PS3/PC compatible, and I thought it would be cool to snag a copy of the impending carporntastic PS3 swan song Gran Turismo 6 next month.

Along those lines, I've absolutely loved having the steering wheel these last couple of months, but it appears the Fanatec wheel won't be compatible with either the Xbox One or the PS4. Too bad, because that would've made my next-gen console choice a lot easier; the thought of re-investing in another wheel/pedal rig is a non-starter. I think I still prefer Microsoft's theoretical future exclusives over Sony's, but the only meaningful (to me) console-exclusive title that is part of the current launch lineup is Forza 5 and I'm content to get by with Forza 4 and GT6 for a while and get my use out of the Fanatec setup rather than firing a shot in the dark and going for the Xbox One straight out of the gate. I'm going to bide my time and see which of these new consoles turns my crank once a few months (or more) of hardware and game reviews are available. It's also worth noting that my schmancy steering wheel is always going to be PC-compatible, and that, in the words of our esteemed CEO Mr. Sean Sands in a recent GWJ Conference Call, "PC gaming is kinda badass right now." So, despite being a console gamer at heart, maybe I need to think about bagging the consoles altogether and ponying up for a gaming PC.

I just don't know.

I’m going to sit back and let the two bullies in the schoolyard have it out. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to doing a bit of Sony "research" on my brand-spankin’-used PS3 so I can see what the other side has been up to for the last 7 years. Rumor has it Journey and Uncharted 2 are worth a look, eh?

Comments

Nice twist!

I feel the same way about being in no great rush to buy the new consoles.

I got burnt being an early adopter of PS3 and can still remember the Long Summer of 06-07 as I waited for new releases, any releases, to come out.

As for game ideas, hoo boy! So much fun to catch up on!

Here's some of my favourite exclusives from the past few years, all of which should be cheap by now:

good ol' God of War 3
Metal Gear Solid 4
InFamous (both are good, 2 is better)
Bayonetta
Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time
Valkyria Chronicles

...and, of course, Demon's Souls

I loved my PS2 as well, until I snagged a GameCube and Xbox at my then-job at GameStop in the summer of '02. After that, the machine collected dust as I played Halo, Morrowind, Hunter: The Reckoning, Metroid Prime, Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Resident Evil (Remake). Those were the games that defined my final year of high school and ushered me into College.

Looking back they weren't all quality, but Halo reminded my brother and I how much we loved playing games like Contra and Ninja Turtles together, and the Xbox seemed like the place to try and find more games like that. When I left for College the PS2 stayed behind for my brother, and I took the Xbox and GameCube with me to clutter up my favorite corner of my dorm room.

In truth, though, when it comes to the "next generation", I look at them all knowing I'll probably have each system eventually, but right now, the Nintendo 3DS is the best dedicated-gaming system out there since the Super Nintendo in terms of the quality and variety of experiences I can get. Kind of funny, seeing as this Friday I look forward to the new Zelda, a sequel to one of the defining games of my childhood.

Felix Threepaper wrote:

Bayonetta

Uh... ^^;

Pretendbeard wrote:
Felix Threepaper wrote:

Bayonetta

Uh... ^^;

Oops, my bad, Bayonetta not an exclusive.

Demon's Souls is still the only game I've played on PS3.

Felix Threepaper wrote:
Pretendbeard wrote:
Felix Threepaper wrote:

Bayonetta

Uh... ^^;

Oops, my bad, Bayonetta not an exclusive.

And now that I'm at a keyboard instead of punching into my phone a moment before work meeting, I can elaborate and try to be a bit less rude ^^;

I did want to point this out, though. Bayonetta is a great game. It's even a great game on Ps3, which is what I played it on. But hot damn did it feel like it wasn't particularly well optimised; I didn't need to play the 360 version to understand how it could be better. BAyonetta is clearly a game that you would want to prioritise Microsoft's console for.

As for serious Ps3 recommendations, I'm going to be that guy who suggests that you plonk down for PS Plus. I think that the US store presently has the HD remasters of the Team Ico games, which is a great start in itself, especially if you happened to miss them the first time around (a piece of information of which is presently unaccounted for.)

Also, Resistance 3. Holy crap, Resistance 3. The first two games were among the most overhyped and underwhelming titles on the console, and it seems that the third game was destined to be one of the most unfairly overlooked. It's just so damn good. Not hugely innovative, at least not in the common sense. It's kind of innovative by being regressive, in a way. This is a game that draws much more from Half-Life 2 than it does Modern Warfare, while still keeping a shred of its own identity (well, Insomniac's identity - the weapons are awesome once you experiment with them, and oh how nice it is to have a complete weapon wheel going on again.) I expect that it's available for pocket change at this point, and worth every cent. IT even has local co-op (kind of bolted on, but it's still nice that it's there.)

Pretendbeard wrote:
Also, Resistance 3. Holy crap, Resistance 3. The first two games were among the most overhyped and underwhelming titles on the console, and it seems that the third game was destined to be one of the most unfairly overlooked. It's just so damn good.

Welcome brother! (sister?) I actually managed to convince a fellow GWJer Merkaba to snag a copy of it, but unfortunately being on opposite sides of the planet means co-op is difficult. But you're both in Japan! Your timezones are compatible (because they're the same time zone (I think))! So I shall use my magic Internet powers to make you instant friends that will co-op the game together and allow Merkaba to experience the magic that is Resistance 3.

And I agree wholeheartedly. I cared not for Resistance 1 and 2, but 3 was my bread and butter of PS3 shooters.

@kcander

I agree wholeheartedly with the other big choices:

- Uncharted 2 (and, maybe, Uncharted 3)
- Demons Souls
- Metal Gear Solid 4 (if only for its start... I'll say no more than that)

I'd also suggest:

- Flower
- Heavy Rain (just to see what all the fuss was about)
- Ico/Shadow of the Collosus HD
- Killzone 2 (sadly, multiplayer is long since dead which is a shame since 'Warzone' mode was a stroke of genius)

I can endorse the comments about Resistance 1. Horrible to look at; even more horrible to play. However, it is possible that R3 finally got it right (I'd lost interest long before then).

Thanks for the suggestions, all. They are much appreciated. Here's what I've picked up so far:

Gamefly had a sale going last week so I snagged the Journey/Flower/Flow collection. Also grabbed a copy of BioShock Infinite (which includes the original BioShock, too) since it was cheap and I haven't played it yet on the 360. Honestly, I *ducking my head* actually never played the original BioShock, either, so...yeah. *cringe*

Moving on...

Grabbed a PlayStation Plus year subscription (discounted on Rakuten, nice!) with an eye on grabbing Shadow of the Colossus and ICO (neither of which I played back in the PS2 days, been wanting to try these forever!), Uncharted 3 (the consensus seems to be that 2 is better, but this'll do I'd think), and Hotline Miami.

Full disclosure here, I actually wrote the original draft of this article last week, so the Friday I was referencing was actually last Friday. HOWEVER, the PS3 was delayed in shipping and it actually just finally showed up last night, just an hour or two after the article was posted to the front page. Nice timing! My PS3 era has begun nearly a week into the PS4 launch. I kick it old school. Heh.

Anyways, my initial observations are that, one, the way the downloading of games and updates works on the PS3 seems awfully slow and cumbersome (what's up with having to download before it downloads in the background?! Just download in the background already!), and two, Journey seems really interesting and I can't wait to get back to it. Unfortunately, due to observation #1, I barely had a chance to play anything else...I left the system on overnight and it was still downloading pieces of the PS Plus games I started last night when I came in to work this morning! Yikes!

That's partially because Uncharted 3 is huge unless you isolate certain aspects of it (such as just the single player). HOWEVER, with PS+, you had BETTER download yourself some Dragon's Dogma.

If you don't, I will find your address, find your home, and then stand on your porch knocking on your door repeatedly going. "Hey!....HEY!....GET DRAGON'S DOGMA!.....Heeeeeeeyyyyyy!"

ccesarano wrote:
Pretendbeard wrote:
Also, Resistance 3. Holy crap, Resistance 3. The first two games were among the most overhyped and underwhelming titles on the console, and it seems that the third game was destined to be one of the most unfairly overlooked. It's just so damn good.

Welcome brother! (sister?) I actually managed to convince a fellow GWJer Merkaba to snag a copy of it, but unfortunately being on opposite sides of the planet means co-op is difficult. But you're both in Japan! Your timezones are compatible (because they're the same time zone (I think))! So I shall use my magic Internet powers to make you instant friends that will co-op the game together and allow Merkaba to experience the magic that is Resistance 3.

And I agree wholeheartedly. I cared not for Resistance 1 and 2, but 3 was my bread and butter of PS3 shooters.

You also convinced me to give it a try at some point during your live stream. I liked what I saw.

@kcander

That's a good selection to get you started. However...

UNCHARTED 3 WILL NOT DO!! I'm sure there are a few gameplay improvements in 3 (I can't remember them, tbh), but the story in Uncharted 2 is a proper 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' style roller-coaster ride and shouldn't be missed.

Also - and I'll try to avoid spoiling here - the emotional impact of U-3 may well be lost on you if you haven't played U-2 first. It's rather like playing Mass Effect 2 - as we PS3-only gamers did -without having gone through the first games. Key scenes will play out, but mean absolutely nothing if you don't know the background.

You'd really be missing out.

Personally I'd skip Uncharted and go right for the throat Last of Us. Then again, I'm the one person that put two or three hours into Uncharted 2 and was like "Meh..."

Definitely grab inFamous 1 and 2 as soon as you can.

ccesarano wrote:
That's partially because Uncharted 3 is huge unless you isolate certain aspects of it (such as just the single player). HOWEVER, with PS+, you had BETTER download yourself some Dragon's Dogma.

If you don't, I will find your address, find your home, and then stand on your porch knocking on your door repeatedly going. "Hey!....HEY!....GET DRAGON'S DOGMA!.....Heeeeeeeyyyyyy!"

Yeah, even after I deleted some of the extra stuff I don't need, it's still like 29 gigs or something crazy. Ouch!

I've got Dragon's Dogma on 360. I bought it at the same time as a few other used games though and I only made it a few hours in before I got distracted...mostly because it's freakin' hard and I'm a wimp! I really like the fighting in that game though, I need to get back to it and get my character leveled up. Not super crazy about the whole Pawn system though...it's like they just decided they didn't have time to flesh out personalities so they just decided, hey, let's make these guys like robots and not worry about it!

detroit20 wrote:
@kcander

That's a good selection to get you started. However...

UNCHARTED 3 WILL NOT DO!! I'm sure there are a few gameplay improvements in 3 (I can't remember them, tbh), but the story in Uncharted 2 is a proper 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' style roller-coaster ride and shouldn't be missed.

Also - and I'll try to avoid spoiling here - the emotional impact of U-3 may well be lost on you if you haven't played U-2 first. It's rather like playing Mass Effect 2 - as we PS3-only gamers did -without having gone through the first games. Key scenes will play out, but mean absolutely nothing if you don't know the background.

You'd really be missing out.

Well crap. Fine. I'll grab a copy of Uncharted 2 first then. It's cheap, no reason not to. Where am I going to get the time to actually play all these games, I wonder?

ccesarano wrote:
Personally I'd skip Uncharted and go right for the throat Last of Us. Then again, I'm the one person that put two or three hours into Uncharted 2 and was like "Meh..."

Definitely grab inFamous 1 and 2 as soon as you can.

Yes, Last of Us is definitely one I want to play, but I figure I'll do some of these older games first and wait for Last of Us to come down in price. I'm a real cheapskate when it comes to gaming for the most part...which is why I'm the guy buying a PS3 for the first time in 2013!

you can pick up the dual pack of uncharted 1 and 2 for around 15 bucks new. I enjoyed both games greatly, also some other good exclusives: 3d dot game heroes, heavenly sword, motorstorm series, valkyria chronicles, there is a huge slew of JRPG's on the console if thats your fancy.

Journey. Since you already have it incoming I don't have to tell you to buy it. But play it, play it soon. One of the best gaming experiences of this gen. Probably the best digital only (ok digital first since they released a disc later ) title I've ever played.

I'm trying to extract myself from work, so I can only stealthily comment on this while trying to stealthily+ pack up.

However, after years of my PS3 being a glorified Blu-ray player, I committed to PS+ as a Christmas present. (Well, that and the fact XCom was offered this month).

Holy balls have I been missing out. It's single-handedly reinvigorated the console for me.

I'm also moving towards PCs this gen, but the PS+ deal is really making me double think that choice.

Twisted Metal (2012)
It's got cars.