After much anticipation, a new dawn approaches. The eighth generation is here and to say the future looks bright is perhaps the understatement of the century! For me it feels odd to think that technically the Wii U started the eighth generation when it launched almost exactly a year ago, but while certain upcoming titles look promising, the Wii U has much more in common with that of the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3 so it’s hardly the definition of next gen. Over the coming months there will be a plethora of amazing titles coming to your system of choice, but what about now, what about launch? What games should you be playing from the second you open that box? Well to help guide you through these foggy next-gen-infested waters we decided to put together ‘Conslayer’s Definitive Guide to the PlayStation 4 Launch Titles’ to ensure you can get the most out of your console right from the go.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is the first of the ten cross generation games coming to the PS4. The PS3 and Xbox 360 versions have already been released to a tirade of positivity and the next generation version of Ubisoft’s take on the Golden Age of Piracy aims to raise the already lofty bar to an even higher level of awesome. Players will take on the role of Edward Kenway, grandfather to the protagonist in Assassin’s Creed III, Ratonhnhaké:ton, better known by his adopted name, Connor. Setting sail across the massive expanse of the Caribbean, navigating its uncharted waters, and exploring a world so rich with life that it practically bursts out of the screen, Black Flag is a must buy game for any Day One adopters of SONY’s next gen console.
One of the major players in the first person shooter wars that have dominated much of the seventh generation, the fourth instalment of the much-loved Battlefield franchise has wowed the critics and amazed the fans by being one of the most refined shooting experiences ever to grace a console. The campaign is a neat little parcel of cleverly choreographed, action-packed moments held together with long sections of exhilarating gun play, but when talking about what makes Battlefield successful, it is perhaps more appropriate to talk about the online multiplayer and yet at the same time where does one even begin when talking about Battlefield’s online multiplayer? A beautifully balanced arsenal of the world’s most dangerous weapons, a challenging yet rewarding levelling system that makes you want to play more, and a constantly evolving map that changes dynamically depending on the player’s actions…. If you’re not sold on it perhaps this video will seal the deal and convince you that owning Battlefield is a requirement for true next generation gaming. Did we mention 64 player servers?
Developed as the free-to-play sequel to Blacklight: Tango Down, Blacklight: Retribution made its debut on Steam way back in April 2012 and having actually spent a short period of time with it, I can safely say it’s defiantly something you should consider downloading come launch day. The main reason I would suggest it is the Kill Confirmed game type where after killing one of your enemies they will drop a special token that you must then run forward and collect before one of the players from the other team picks it up and denies you the point. It adds an interesting element to the gameplay that ever so slightly deviates from the standard team deathmatch that we’re all so used to. Praised for its solid shooting, the high standard of visuals, and a deep level of customisation that really allows players to express themselves through their weaponry, Blacklight is definitely worth the download– after all… Its free!
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Having recently spent quite a lot of time with Infinity Ward’s latest instalment in the frankly jaw dropping Call of Duty franchise, I find myself not wanting to return to it solely because I want to experience my veteran playthrough in a haze of glorious next gen splendour. I completed Ghosts in just under ten hours and truth be told I loved it; the gameplay is tight, the shooting is clean and the actual story is so much more emotionally stimulating than I was expecting, but while playing it the impending release of the PS4 only served to highlight that certain cinematic moments would’ve been so much more impressive if this was running on a next gen console. I understand of course that Activision wanted to take full advantage of the massive install base offered by current gen hardware, but truthfully Ghosts looks no better than Black Ops II did and by comparison the next gen screenshots are simply breath taking! I won’t go into any more detail, but If you want our opinion on Call of Duty check out the review going live any day now and just be sure to keep this one in mind when looking at what game to purchase for launch.
DC Universe Online
DC Universe Online has seen a radical drop off in the number of active players since it first launched for Windows PC and PlayStation 3 way back in 2011, but its appearance as a free to play launch title for the PS4 is not something players should be overlooking. DCUO has received a massive update to prepare it for the next generation of consoles; the main improvements being the enhancements SONY Online Entertainment has made to the game’s standard art assets while actually increasing the game’s frame rate to now target 1080p at 60 frames per second. These graphical improvements are of course largely thanks to the increased power offered by the PlayStation 4, but it’s not just increased visual fidelity that makes DCUO such an enchanting option, it’s the fact that SONY are treating this as a way of re-launching the game and they’ve used feedback from the community to address certain issues with the game’s levelling curve, the messaging system and all kinds of other tiny problems that just needed tweaking to improve the overall experience for the end user. Invest much time into the PS3 version? Download it! Never played it before? Download it! Completely broke after spending all your money on your new console? Download it!
Although EA only released FIFA’s yearly update just under two months ago, the next gen instalment is definitely something worth looking in on because while a lot of players felt that FIFA 14 was just a minor evolution based off of last year’s much-loved edition, the next gen release looks set to be a complete revolution for the franchise. One of the many ways EA is looking to put that spark back in their now 20 year old super series is with the use of their brand new Ignite Engine, which is so far only going to be available on the next gen consoles. What this change means to the user is that players will now have four times the decision making ability when compared with previous versions of the game so players will react to situations in a much more realistic way. For the first time in the series great and noble history next gen FIFA will also feature fully rendered 3D crowds and while this might sounds like a minor addition to a laymen, fans of the series have been calling for 3D crowds for years and its all only recently been made possible by the power of the PS4.
Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition
Injustice: Gods Among Us is widely regarded as one of the best things to come out of NetherRealm Studios in years; it spawned a fantastic series of comic books and DC even launched a line of collectible Injustice action figures back in April. Since its release, NetherRealm has developed a bunch of awesome downloadable content which includes, but is not limited to, six bonus characters, 60 extra S.T.A.R. missions and a total of 47 extra skins for the game’s 30-strong character roster. Fans of the hard-hitting DC based brawler would find it hard to say anything against how much NetherRealm have supported the title and so the news that Injustice is coming to PS4 with all the aforementioned DLC bundled into the release as well as now running at 60 frames per second in native 1080p might sound almost too good to be true! If you never got the chance to grab all the DLC for your current gen release or if you just never got around to playing it in the first place now is the perfect time to rectify your mistakes as Injustice will be available as a day one launch title for the PS4.
Killzone: Shadow Fall
Arguably the PlayStation 4′s biggest and most-anticipated launch title, Killzone: Shadowfall looks to be taking everything that was not just good, but frankly amazing about 2011’s Killzone 3 and then just going next gen with it. Set 30 years after the events of Killzone 3 during a period of cold war between the Vektans and the Helghast, Killzone: Shadow Fall will have players assume the role of Lucas Kellan, a special agent of the elite Shadow Marshals which are a unique branch of the ISA special forces. The actual visuals from early gameplay videos are out of this world and it’s safe to say that Killzone will certainly be setting the benchmark graphically for the next generation when it launches on November 15th.
A friend of mine recently said that Knack is going to be a glorified tech demo; “Knack will be all style and no substance” were his exact words and he said this having not actually played the game… Here’s why he’s wrong. Knack is being directed by Mark Cerny! Mark Cerny does not make tech demos, Mark Cerny makes video games, and when Mark Cerny makes a video game you can be sure that that game will be worth playing. Programmer on Sonic the Hedgehog 2, executive producer on Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon and then design consultant for the Jak and Daxter series, Resistance: Fall of Man and God of War III Mark Cerny has done it all! For me, the original Crash Bandicoot was actually the start of my own personal gaming career and to this day I have such fond memories of running around collecting that weird Wumpa fruit, jumping on the heads of unsuspecting turtles, and tornado-spinning hordes of conveniently placed boxes; life was good back in 1996. In 2013 there will be less tornado spins. Knack is an action platform game where players take control of a strange little creature with the power to incorporate ice, metal and other useful elements into his body which then grant you a range of different abilities that will help you progress through the game. Cerny actually describes the games as “a little bit like Crash Bandicoot and Katamari Damacy, with a touch of God of War.” If that’s the pitch then count me in! Crash Bandicoot was hands down one of the greatest games from the whole library of titles released during the PSone’s almost seven year life cycle and one of the men who created it is now directing Knack! Yes of course it will have been specifically designed to show off the maximum power of the PS4 at launch, but does this make it a glorified tech demo? Hell no it doesn’t, it makes it one of the games that will assure you that upgrading was the right decision!
Lego Marvel Super Heroes
Traveller’s Tales have been delivering Lego games to the masses for just over eight years now and we’ve been playing every single one of ’em! Some are of course much better than others (I’m looking at you Lego Pirates of the Caribbean) but overall the Lego games are always entertaining and always worth looking in on. The impending launch of the next generation sees the first ever Marvel Lego mash up as Lego Marvel Super Heroes looks to build upon everything that makes the Lego games such good fun, but with a Marvel themed twist. I will admit it would be hard to argue that this is anything more than just another shameless cash-in on an already successful franchise, but with the recent release of The Avengers and now with Thor 2 still in cinemas, the Marvel franchise has never been more marketable as a brand and the Lego games are simply fantastic so combining these two properties seems like it should be a recipe for success.
You might not think it, but the new Madden might be one of the games that best showcases the power of your new hardware when it launches this coming Friday. It’s all here, everything from the players to the sidelines to the crowds, it’s all been fully realized in beautiful 3D and it has never looked so good. The current gen version of Madden has received extremely positive reviews, but the next gen release aims to go even further by introducing a completely new pass-blocking system that’s built around the player’s intelligence and that’s exclusive to the next gen release. Developers EA Tiburon have said that their players now have a more acute awareness of their opponents and a better understanding of their surroundings thanks to the new Ignite Engine. This new found intelligence transcends the players as it also applies to any non-playable characters so the fans are now able to react to 40 different types of play with both unique animations and specific sound effects. Madden NFL 25 won’t be for everyone– if you’re not a fan of football you might want to give it a miss, but if you love football as much as Emmit Smith loves rushing then this is the game for you!
Having already received raved reviews for the current gen release, the PS4 version of NBA 2K14 is going to take it to the next level with next generation graphics that give it an overall higher level of realism the likes of which fans of the series will have never seen before. Any basketball fan worth his salt will know basketball is a high octane emotional roller coaster and the players go out and give it their all every time they step out onto the court. Like any professional athlete they do it for the love, although I imagine the multimillion dollar pay checks help, but realistically it’s all about the sacrifice, it’s all about the countless years of training and the bitter taste of defeat. Ultimately it’s about the love. The reason I mention this is that in the OMG trailer 2K released back in October you can actually feel that level of intensity coming off of the players, the animations are so raw, so expressive and so genuine. If you already own 2K14 on a current gen console then it might be hard to convince you to make the move, but the next gen release appears to have this ferocity not offered on current gen consoles and if the trailers are representative of the improvements then upgrading should definitely be something you’re considering.
NBA Live 14
At this stage it’s hard to tell if this is the triumphant return of a giant or that guy at a party that just won’t leave the conversation. Quite simply there’s a reason EA stopped developing the NBA Live franchise back in 2010 and it doesn’t take a genius to realise there’s not enough room for two yearly basketball games. The good is that it’s EA, EA make some of the finest sport simulations the world has ever seen, but surely they must know that when they stopped developing NBA Live most of their fan base moved over to the 2K series? I know I did… Side by side comparisons seem to suggest that 2K has the edge visually and while I do love the idea of having all my sports under the same roof I feel that players will need more than that to convince them NBA Live is going to the finals. Either way NBA Live is definitely the underdog here, but it’s not all bad and it’s not to say that they don’t stand a chance because the game was developed from the ground up with next gen in mind. NBA Live is not coming to current gen consoles and so that exclusivity might draw in some currently undecided players, but then again missing out on that massive install base might affect potential profit margins and have a negative impact on the series going forward. At this stage of the game all we know is that there is going to be two NBA games coming to PlayStation 4 at launch, and as a massive fan of the movies, Rocky has taught me never to count out the underdog and that anything’s possible in the crazy, crazy world we live in.
Need for Speed Rivals
Since Ridge Racer debuted on consoles way back in 1994, there has always been some form of the iconic racing series available to play on day one of every console SONY has ever launched; handhelds included. For the launch of the PlayStation 4 this is not the case. When you then add in the news that Drive Club, Evolution Studios contribution to SONY’s launch line-up, has now been pushed back until early 2014 you might be left thinking that the only option left as a driving fan is Need for Speed Rivals, but you’d be wrong. Well technically you’d be right, but you’d be looking at it in the wrong light; yes officially the only option left for any racings fans getting a PS4 is Need for Speed, but after watching the gameplay videos Need for Speed released onto their official YouTube channel a little under a week ago, you’d be a fool to think you need anything else!
Coming to PlayStation on a three month timed exclusive, Warframe is a free-to-play third person action shooter and it’s definitely something players should have on their radar. Described by the creative director Steve Sinclair as a “space ninja game” Warframe looks exhilarating; it looks genuinely challenging and the visuals are pretty much the definition of next gen! If you haven’t seen The Call, the almost five minute cinematic trailer Digital Extremes released at E3 earlier on in the year, you really owe it to yourself to check it out because this game looks incredible and the general consensus is Warframe would be worth playing if it had a full $59.99 price tag attached to it, but the fact that it’s actually free-to-play means this is a no brainer.
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