Not too long ago the Wii U launched and quite a few people, me included, were left a little bit disappointed with what it had to offer as the specs were not really that impressive when compared to what is offered on the PS3 and Xbox 360. I even wrote an article in which I addressed some of the shortcomings of the Nintendo’s new console.
Though the point might be lost on some, the main issue I have with the Wii U is that it’s really not doing anything next-gen so to speak. Sure it may be on par or slightly ahead of the PS3 and Xbox 360 in the graphics department, but graphics can only take you far. My main gripe with the Wii U is that it seems to be nothing more than just a continuation of the status quo, a bunch of generic games with decent graphics.
Looking at the majority of games we have on the market today, it’s pretty easy to see how similar they are to each other. Nowadays, I don’t buy shooters anymore simply for the fact that I’ve run out of ways to fool myself into thinking that this shooter is really different from the previous one that I got bored with. I can no longer justify paying $60 plus taxes per game, and having the experience be the exact same. This is one of the many reasons why I fear that the Next Generation will leave many gamers disappointed, not because the consoles won’t be any good, but because the developers and publishers will let us down similar to how they did so this gen.
For a while there, I really believed the hype that, so often, the PC crowd scream from the top of their lungs. You know, they say it’s the “outdated and weak specs” of the consoles that is responsible for the type limitations we see, and also for the number of rehashes we’ve been getting this gen. But then, when asked to elaborate on superior games that on the PC, they only touts graphics cards and 60 fps this and X times resolutions that, and mouse and keyboard is superior blah blah blah…. Ok great, but I’m still bored of Call of Duty whether it’s running at 60 fps with 4k resolution, or whether it is scaled down to console specs. No one mentions the fact that the AI and physics remains the same, and that’s what got me worried that next generation will surely be just more of the same. The Wii U is taking all the flack because it is first to the market, plain and simple.
Now please don’t interpret this as me saying that there exist no games on the PC where the AI isn’t fantastic. No, what I’m saying is that such games are very few and far between, and that is a real shame. Given the amount of resources available to PC Devs making PC Games, you would think that it would be the other way around, but sadly, graphics seems to take top priority on everyone’s list. And the culture is the same on consoles. Looking at what we know so far of The Last of Us, it’s baffling that this is only happening at the end of the generation. Why other devs never pushed for similar AI in their games beats me. I’m not saying that every developer can achieve the graphical fidelity of games like Uncharted, Killzone, MGS4, Gears of War, or Halo 4, but surely they can make games that are not the exact carbon copy of what is already out on the market, no?
There is a big cry from developers that this generation of consoles have gone on too long, and that it is time to get new consoles out.
But if you look at the PC market, where specs-wise, the sky is the limit, where are those games that are supposedly doing things vastly different from what we have on consoles? Surely the PC games sport better graphics, but that’s about it really. The AI is still the same as what you find on consoles and the physics are still vastly similar; so the idea that new consoles with better specs will fix a creatively bankrupt industry is just a massive illusion.
There is a reason why this year’s best games were Journey (an Indie downloadable game) and The Walking Dead (another downloadable game which took a few pages from the successful Heavy Rain Sony Exclusive). This simple fact tells you that gamers are hungry for something different, something fresh. It doesn’t need to be the most graphically intensive game; it only needs to be a unique, unpredictable experience.
I believe that this generation of consoles along with the PC have proven that the industry’s imagination have been far surpassed by its technology. Even scarier is the fact that this a trend that is being funded by publishers, and being embraced by the media whose jobs it is help sell it to us.
What is your take on this? Do you believe that the next generation of consoles will bring us new experiences beyond just prettier graphics?