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So you've just gotten your first paycheck and wondered what to invest it in other than rent and ramen. You worry about spending said money irresponsibly. Being dissatisfied with your purchase is your nightmare. You also want a way to guarantee that the shiny new console you want to buy will make you happy. Fear not! Because this guide can help with your indecisiveness.
REMEMBER! The most important rule is to consider your own needs and situation. Brand loyalty will only benefit the corporation (take a look at Microsoft). Some of the issues you might like to consider are:
- Consider the reasons you have for getting a console. Do you want online multiplayer? Or for when friends come over? Or just for fun singleplayer? What about backwards compatibility with older games?
- Compare the games on each platform. Which console appeals to you more? Which appeals to whoever you're buying it for? Would it be better to get a portable console or a full-fledged home one?
- Consider what you already have. Do you have an HDTV? What about your internet connection? What console(s) do your friends own? Will you be playing with them a lot? Do you have friends?
- Think about the stuff ancillary to a console purchase; Do you want "free" games? Do you want to mod your console? Do you need a Blu ray Player? Are you aware of the maintenance needs to prevent RRODs, YLODs, and overheating in general? How long do you plan on using the console for? Do you need any of the millions of accessories or hardware that you could buy for the console?
- Think about the time. Are you better off waiting for a price drop? Are you better off waiting for a critically-acclaimed game to be released before investing into the console?
At the end of the day, it's your purchase, and your money. Make sure that you won't regret your buy, regardless of what /v/ thinks. And remember, if you aren't having fun, you're doing it wrong.
If all else fails, stop by a garage sale or used game store and pick yourself up a NES or SNES and ten or so games. Cheap, classic fun. (PC Emulation of classic games is a grey area)
Gen 8 is the "almost computer" generation with most systems having around the same capabilities as a computer. Some of them, most notably the Xbox One, actually use variations of Desktop OSes as their software. Computers still have their advantages, but the gap is closing fast when it comes to graphics and power at a reasonable price.
In the computer world we have two main competitors for games: Good Old Games and Steam.
Steam has name recognition and a massive library, but it also has a history of nasty DRM that can strip games out of your library without your consent, always online connectivity, and other monkeyshines that aren't user-friendly. This is because Steam's TOS states that players are purchasing usage rights which means players can play the stuff they buy from Steam, but they don't actually own anything. Everything is owned by Steam and we are just paying to "borrow" it as long as Steam will let us. Many people from /V/ are becoming jaded by this stance and have moved on to Good Old Games instead.
Good Old Games is a relative newcomer started by CD Projekt RED; the group that created the smash hit series The Witcher. From the start Good Old Games (AKA GOG) has been DRM free with a TOS that allows players to actually own what they buy. There are no buggy "transfer codes" on GOG. Instead game owners can download and share copies of games to let their friends play.
GOG started with a focus on reviving older games by using system emulation and updating the code to allow them to run smoothly on newer computers, but has expanded it's scope to include a wide variety of indie and AAA titles, and even movies. Everything listed there was put there by it's actual creators and they always get a portion of each sale. There also is a wide selection of Linux titles on offer. If you miss the multiplayer aspect from Steam, GOG's Galaxy is the next best thing. Galaxy is 100% optional, also DRM free, and allows for some community building past the GOG forums. Between the numerous sales, free games, and user-friendly services Good Old Games is quickly becoming a /V/ favorite supplanting Steam as the best place to find games.
Quick Overall Comparisons
|RAM||typically 6-12 GB||Varies by game||8GB GDDR5||8GB DDR3||2GB DDR3|
|Internal HD||Varies||Varies||500 GB (Upgradeable)||1 TB (Non-replaceable)||32 GB|
|External HD?||Yes, any||Yes, any||Yes, must be PS4 formatted first||Yes, must be XBone formatted first||Up to 2 TB|
|AV Connections||varies||varies|| HDMI in-out, |
|HDMI in-out|| HDMI In-out, Component Out, |
|Always Online?||Yes, mandatory||No||Generally no||Yes, mostly||No|
|DRM?||Yes, mandatory||No||Some games||Most games||Yes, mandatory|
|Online Play Price||Free||Free||$50 per year||$60 per year||Free|
|Free Games?||No||Yes||With Subscription only||With Subscription only||Trials only|
|Install Games to Hard drive?||Usually mandatory||Mandatory||Mandatory||Mandatory||Optional|
Which Should I pick?
This gen it's all about target audience. Look at the pages and ask yourself "What is most important to me"?
Steam's target audience is players seeking convenience. It trades personal freedom for ease of use and a large community. The lack of polished games under the Greenlight system, mountains of DRM, and the unfriendly TOS make it a poor decision for those who are seeking quality and freedom as forefront concerns.
Good Old Games' target audience is players seeking freedom. It is less convenient than Steam, but allows the players total freedom to do as they wish with their games as long as they aren't hurting anyone. Good Old Games is also friendly towards those with older systems or who are running Linux with a vast library friendly to both camps. All games are screened for quality with very little crap making it in the site.
PlayStation 4's target audience is players seeking new experiences. Between a wide variety of unique games and the option to stream old games there is always something new or unique to find. The online component isn't as streamlined as the Xbox One, but it's still fun for multiplayer and worth many peoples' time.
Xbox One's target audience is hardcore gamers who don't want to worry about computer junk. Xbox One is sort of like Steam, only in a console form and with less monkeyshines from Microsoft itself. Due to being a little more expensive the customer service is generally good and few mistakes are made leading to a fairly smooth and accessible gaming experience.
Wii U's target audiences are old-school gamers and harmonious households with little space. The unusual feature set is there to allow multiple gamers to enjoy the same television without disturbing each other. There aren't many games, but the games that are there are generally high quality and very good. Old TVs and spotty internet connections aren't a problem in general making the Wii U a great choice for long-term collectors or old-school gamers seeking something newer to play with.
Even though these are getting older, games are still coming out on most of these platforms making them a great way to game on a budget. If you can't sping for a new Xbone, Wii U, or PS4, their older siblings are sill viable options worth considering. Considering that the PS4 and Xbone aren't backwards compatible to the Xbox360 and the PS3 and that the backwards-compatability on the Wii U isn't fantastic, choosing a system for your back catelog is important.
PS3 vs 360 vs PC
The three 7th gen platforms are seen as equal in terms of graphical power (mostly because developers have been holding back the graphics so that the consoles can keep up) and strength in games. They also tend to share a great number of titles due to their similarity in controls. This outlook can soon change with the upcoming motion controls, but the core games will generally remain the same. Depending on your setup, the choice comes down to whether or not to own one or a mixture to cover all areas of games available. Of course, there are games found only on any of these particular systems, so the choice then comes down to your particular situation:
- If you already own a gaming capable PC, it is generally better off that you go for a PS3.
- If you already own a PS3, then you have the choice between either a 360 (cheaper) or PC (expensive)
- If you already own a 360, then you are better off getting a PS3.
- If you own none of the above, use the general guide and price comparison to make your choice.
The reasoning above has to do mainly to what is exclusive to each system in terms of pure numbers. The PS3's recommended list has generally more exclusives than it does cross platform or is available on PC. The 360's recommended list is geared more towards games that are available on both the PS3 and PC rather than exclusives.
The Nintendo Wii - Curing Casual-itis
When comparing the Wii with the other consoles of this generation, the Wii is the black sheep for the fact that most of the titles on the console are ...exclusives. Most games are generally ported between the PC, the 360, and the PS3. It's obvious that the unconventional controls of this console make it near impossible for the Wii to be included in this roundhouse porting system. Although unconventional, the Wiimote is innovative at its best, and stale at its worst. The majority of the games that you find on this console are low quality waggling games, but some games stand out from the pack. I fear for anyone who has this as their only 7th Gen console, but it is possible to survive if you know what you're doing.
The best games for the Wii are the ones that harness the capabilities of the Wiimote without being too stale or generic. If you walk into a Game store, you are going to find hundreds of sports, singing, and of course, IMAGINE BABIES (FUCKING GAMESTOP). If you like these kinds of casual games - CONGRATULATIONS, YOU JUST HIT THE FUCKING JACKPOT. I then have to ask the question, if you are a Wii owner looking for good games and you play that shit - WHY ARE YOU HERE? GET THE FUCK OUT. Otherwise, use this to help you in your quest in the Casual Jungle.
- Nintendo knows what they are doing. Their first party titles are usually always amazing, and since this is their little girl in this generation's BUFFET OF MANLY CONSOLES, you'd guess that they can harness the best out of their console. And they do.
- Sports, Party, Singing, Shooting, and any game depicting an average activity are generally to be avoided. Although there are some exceptions to this rule, you be the judge on this. Although the Wii doesn't have vast graphic capabilities, I think we can tell if a game looks like shit.
- MATURE GAMES FOR MATURE GAMERS. If you haven't noticed, most of the "good" games on the "Wiiki" RIMSHOT HUEHUE are rated T and above. Here, we escape from the constant waggling to developers who either treat the Wii as a normal console, or an innovative way to show off their skillz, yo. Games like this are Dead Space: Extraction, and Godfather - Black Hand edition are examples of this. They retain their feel, while adding the Wii's unorthodox controls in the mix. Sometimes you get mixed results, other times, it is a fukken masterpiece.
- Graphics aren't a priority for the Wii. If you're looking for good graphics, Monster Hunter Tri is what I use for a benchmark for Wii graphics. The Super Mario Galaxy games works as well. Those are the best you are going to get, but it's only my opinion.
- Use your common sense when in doubt. Study the box carefully! Look at the screenshots! DESCRIPTIONS MAN. I think you'll know the answer if you come across a game like We Cheer 2, and if it is GOTY or not. (It is.)
If all else fails, play Wii Sports.
All of these prices were when the consoles were new current gen consoles. Prices have dropped since then, however, this older price list is being kept for comparison reasons.
PS3 Slim = $300/£250 Games: $50-60/£40-50 Online play: Free
Xbox 360 250GB = $300/£200 Games: $50-60/£40-50 Online play: $60/year
Wii = $150/£100 Games: $30-50/£20-40 Online play: Free
PC = Varies, a good one will run you at least $500, some high quality builds are ~$850. Online play: Mostly free, depending on the game.
Prices vary and you should be able to buy each with games attached. (The Wii comes with 2 free games anyway.)