A few days ago, we presented a bunch of promising current-gen games that all make a compelling argument for pushing your next-gen console purchase back a little. Today, we bring you the other side of the story.
As good as the current-gen games line-up for the rest of the year, it’s hard to resist the allure of shiny new next-gen hardware and the fantastic new games they promise. We had the opportunity to see many of these games in action at E3, so below is our list of the ten best next-gen games that are arriving at the launch of the Xbox One or PS4 later this year or within the first half of 2014.
And these aren’t cross-gen ports either – well, one is (Destiny), but its well and truly at home on next-gen. Each of the games below is designed specifically with next-gen consoles and PCs in mind. You may have noticed that we’ve left out some other eagerly anticipated games like Quantum Break, The Order: 1886, and Halo 5, and while they will probably all turn out great, we’ve left them out simply because we haven’t had the opportunity to see those game’s first-hand just yet.
So here they are; our picks for the ten most promising next-gen games (in alphabetical order):
Dead Rising 3 (Xbox One)
The size, variety and detail in the game’s open-world seemed only possible on next-gen systems.
Dead Rising 3 made a surprise appearance at Microsoft’s E3 press conference, and it was hard not to be impressed by what Capcom showcased on stage. We had the opportunity to see the game in action at length on the show floor, and came away pleasantly surprised. The size, variety and detail in the game’s open-world seemed only possible on next-gen systems. The Zombie AI, the vehicle physics, and the gore have all taken to the next level, and the game now allows you to craft crazy weapons anywhere you like. There also won’t be a single loading screen throughout the game. Dead Rising 3 promises to be a marked improvement over its predecessors, and it’s no surprise that analysts are predicting it to be the most preordered Xbox One launch title.
Destiny (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Players can go from completing a single-player mission to being involved in a ten-man raid within seconds.
After distancing themselves from the Halo franchise, developer Bungie’s back in the sci-fi saddle with an original IP called Destiny. While the game is essentially a first-person shooter, it will incorporate certain role-playing and MMO mechanics into gameplay (don’t worry though; there isn’t a subscription fee involved). While the story sounds fairly clichéd (the defend your planet from hostile aliens trope), it’s the co-op and versus gameplay that has really grabbed our attention. Players can go from completing a single-player mission to being involved in a ten-man raid within seconds thanks to the new matchmaking technology being employed by Bungie. Also, who doesn’t want to explore hostile planets in their very own, fully customisable space ship?
The controls felt responsive and accessible, but yet required a bit of dexterity to keep these super-powered exotics under control.
Developers love talking about ‘games as a service’ and Driveclub is a perfect example of it. The launch of this socially-connected racer where players can team up to form their own clubs, is just the beginning. Developer Evolution will constantly expand the game over time, with both new content as well as with tweaks to the core gameplay based on feedback and playing habits. Driveclub’s gameplay is on the arcade side, with fictional tracks set in real-world locations. The game will only feature supercars at launch, but we expect (and hope for) more car types to be added over time. The Motorstorm developer is targeting a wide variety of gamers with Driveclub and so the game is designed to reward players for every little action within the game – even performing donuts. We only had the chance to play a couple of time trials, but the controls felt responsive and accessible, but yet required a bit of dexterity to keep these super-powered exotics under control. A free version of Driveclub will be offered to all PS Plus subscribers at launch, and we can’t wait to get behind the wheel.
Forza Motorsport 5 (Xbox One)
Drivatar may sound like a gimmick, but its potential for livening up single-player races adds a level of dynamism that you could earlier only get in multiplayer.
With Sony surprisingly releasing Gran Turismo 6 on PS3, Forza Motorsport 5 is going to be the only next-gen racing sim on the market for a long time. The obvious change since its predecessors is its shiny next-gen graphics, thanks to the new graphics engine delivering 1080p visuals at 60 fps. But the improvements afforded by the new hardware go far deeper. The Forza Vista feature (Autovista before) will now include each of the game’s hundreds of cars. The Drivatar AI system may sound like a gimmick, but its potential for livening up single-player races by fleshing out AI cars with the profiles of real life players can add a level of dynamism that you could earlier only get in multiplayer. We’re a little bummed out by the lack of dynamic weather and time of day, but we’re excited to try out more of the game’s new handling model and – a first for the series – its open-wheeled cars, especially with developer Turn 10 having completely overhauled the game’s tyre and physics simulation.
Infamous: Second Son (PS4)
It was the best looking PS4-exclusive we had a chance to see first-hand at E3, and in the company of Shadow Fall, that’s saying a lot.
Killzone: Shadow Fall and Driveclub look great, but the PS4 exclusive that we’re most excited about is Infamous: Second Son. The new game takes place in open-world Seattle, which is also home to developer Sucker Punch, and follows new protagonist Delsin Rowe, a wannabe graffiti artist. It was also surprisingly the best looking of the PS4 exclusives that we had a chance to see first-hand at E3, and in the company of Shadow Fall, that’s saying a lot. The game revolves around Rowe’s fight against the DUP, a government agency set up to nab conduits like him. While he can control smoke and other elements, the real fun begins when Rowe gains powers from other conduits, and this changes the game in several ways as it progresses. Second Son is only out next year, but based on what’s been revealed so far, it’s one game well worth keeping an eye on.
Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4)
Analyst are predicting that Killzone: Shadow Fall is racking up more preorders than any Xbox One exclusive launch title, and it’s not hard to see why.
Analyst are predicting that Killzone: Shadow Fall is racking up more preorders than any Xbox One exclusive launch title, and it’s not hard to see why. Shadow Fall takes place in Vekta, where the Helghans have taken refuge thanks to their home planet, Helghan, being left in ruins. The Vektans and Helghans are now only separated by a giant wall, and it was only a matter of time before those tensions simmered over. The latest installment of PlayStation’s flagship FPS sees a vast variety of locations, from pristine urban areas, to lush forest environs. Many of the favourite Killzone weapons will return and new ones will debut, but the one that has us interested is the OWL – a drone that can attack enemies, create distractions, hack security systems, and also shoot ziplines to help you get around quickly. As is now expected from Killzone games, Shadow Fall looks stunning, and we can’t wait to get our hands on it.
The Crew (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
The prospect of driving across the US with friends alone makes this one of our most anticipated next-gen games.
The Crew was one of the big surprises of E3 and its debut at Ubisoft’s press conference was jaw-dropping. To be honest, our hands-on time with the game left us a little disappointed, particularly due to the sluggish vehicle handling. That said, with the able teams at Ivory Tower and Reflections at the helm, we fully expect that to be remedied by release. The Crew promises the most diverse vehicle line-up ever in a racing game, with its unprecedented customisation features allowing you to turn asphalt cars into off-roaders and vice versa. The game blends single-player, co-op and multi-player seamlessly, and its massive open world lets you drive from LA to Miami and New York to Vegas without a single loading screen. The prospect of driving across the US with friends alone makes this one of our most anticipated next-gen games.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
We came away from the demo more impressed with The Witcher 3 than anything else we saw at E3.
If there’s one game at E3 that personified ‘next-gen’, it was The Witcher 3. Developer CD Projekt RED is pushing the boundaries in pretty much every aspect of the game. Set in a massive and richly detailed open-world, The Witcher 3 is the conclusion if Geralt’s story. This open world will be teeming with random encounters, dangerous wild life and points of interest to explore, and all without a single loading screen. The game’s dynamic time-of-day and weather effects will impact gameplay, from werewolves at night, to rough weather making sea travel perilous. Then of course there’s the intriguing story and progression of The Witcher series, which poses difficult moral choices around every corner. We had a chance to see the game’s new dialogue system, a unique monster battle, a quest with a difficult moral choice, and the dynamic weather system in action, and we came away from the demo more impressed with The Witcher 3 than anything else we saw at E3.
Titanfall (Xbox One, PC)
Titanfall feels like breath of fresh air with its fast-paced, Battlefield 2142-esque combat.
With most developers largely concentrating on modern day, “gritty” urban shooters, Titanfall feels like breath of fresh air with its fast-paced, Battlefield 2142-esque combat, complete with jet packs and mechs. Unlike the more slow paced mechs from other games, the ones from Titanfall look as nimble as the pilots operating them, who thanks to jet packs can also traverse the environment on-foot in a multitude of ways. We do understand that Titanfall is being released on the Xbox 360 too, but for the definite experience, you’d want to go in for the Xbox One or PC version, as the 360 version is being outsourced.
Tom Clancy’s The Division (PS4, Xbox One)
The Division will offer players PVE and PVP missions that you can embark upon with your friends.
When you think of the term MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online games), you normally think of fantasy worlds populated with goblins, elves, dragons and other fictional folk. However, with The Division, Ubisoft will transport players to a very close to modern day version of New York city that is currently in shambles after a man-made virus has wiped out most of the city’s population. Like most MMOs today, The Division will offer players PVE (player versus environment), as well as PVP (player versus player) missions that you can embark upon with your friends as you not only strive to survive this man made apocalypse, but try and unearth the truth as well.