Jan 312008
It’s time to start with a decision-making process. I’m not definitely in the market yet for one of the three next-gen consoles, but I will be, perhaps within the next year. This is an open post that I’ll probably keep updating for a while. Keep in mind that my must-have games may not be the same as yours, though I’ll welcome your suggestions.

This table looks really screwed up and I don’t know why. I have no idea why all these break tags appeared in this post. Sorry for the megascroll. All fixed now. See what effort I go through to bring you my bullshit?

Positives Negatives Must-Have Games
  1. motion control = activity
  2. backwards compatible with my GC library
  3. awesome downloadable retro games selection
  4. system and games more affordable
  5. robust controller
  6. many WiiWare titles are totally awesome
  1. motion control = activity
  2. limited RPG selection (?)
  3. shovelware
  4. limited original downloadable content
  5. DS is enough for casual gaming
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
No More Heroes
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
XBox 360
  1. robust online service (friends)
  2. robust original downloadable games listing
  3. great HD graphics
  4. very durable controller
  1. robust online service (John Gabriel’s GIFT)
  2. red ring of doom
  3. I don’t have an HDTV
Assassin’s Creed
Blue Dragon
Eternal Sonata
Mass Effect
Playstation 3
  1. comes with blu-ray player
  2. greater HD graphics
  3. Fumito Ueda
  1. expensive…
  2. …or not backwards compatible with my huge PS2 library
  3. I don’t have an HDTV
  4. will cheaper blu-ray cause buyer’s remorse?
  5. may melt my apartment
  6. flimsy controller
Assassin’s Creed
Final Fantasy XIII
Metal Gear Solid 4
Ratchet & Clank Future
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
Valkyria Chronicles

Issues to consider:

Where will the RPG market land? Right now the Xbox seems to be leading on the quirky RPG front. Unless the install base widens significantly, it doesn’t seem terribly likely that the PS3 will be as successful in that regard as the PS2 was. However, the PS3 is a likely landing place for the main Final Fantasy titles and the Tales series. The low development costs of Wii games may end up turning the 2-D RPG and strategy RPG markets to that console, even though the Gamecube was notoriously weak in the genre. Thus, the Wii may end up catching the narrow-market RPGs I often adore.

Can the HD consoles attract classic adventure games? It can’t be a secret that I really like adventure games in the Zelda mold. Assuming that the X360 and PS3 split the RPG market, the clincher for either of these consoles will be success in attracting this generally ignored genre. Games like Beyond Good & Evil suggest that this genre can grow beyond the Zelda clones to include experiences of great emotional depth. Will the HD market go this way, or will the genre languish once again, save for the loving devotion of Nintendo?

Which console will generate the most interesting artistic innovations? I think the knee-jerk response here is the Wii, but it seems to me that developers have so far done much less with motion control than they could have. Instead, the Wii seems to have become a grand repository of casual-gaming shovelware, with a few truly innovative titles here and there. Despite its potential, the Wii has yet to see a game that achieves the true gestalt of emotional communication and interactivity that marks games as an artform. Does No More Heroes fill that void? And Sony Computer Entertainment cannot be ignored in this regard—Ueda’s Ico and Shadow of the Colossus were some of the best art made for the last generation of consoles. Also, as the PS3 and Wii have been getting up to speed, Bioware and Irrational have started to take interesting steps on the X360. This is currently an open question, but for me it’s a significant one.

And, to track my position by date:
1/30/08 – leaning towards Wii first, HD console (much) later.
2/13/08 – If the PS3 lacks backwards compatibility that is a major minus in my book. Baroque will come out on PS2, so it’s no longer in the Wii column. The more I hear about Lost Odyssey the more ambivalent I feel. On the one hand I like the idea that short stories are built into the game, on the other hand I hate games that string cutscenes together using lame gameplay, not to mention that I hate hate hate amnesia as a plot device.
2/15/08 – Okami hops into the Wii category. I was underwhelmed by the gameplay on the PS2, but this is a game that would really benefit from the motion controller.
2/24/08 – Added Insult Swordfighting’s controller reviews.
2/25/08 – Valkyria Chronicle looks really interesting. Into the PS3 pro column it goes.

  6 Responses to “The Console Scorecard”

  1. I think the sequel to Tales of Symphonia is suppossed to come to the wii…

    ps. eagerly awaiting your review of Revenant Wings

  2. A Tales of Symphonia sequel on Wii would probably cause me to purchase it right away. Not many people know about the Tales series, but I thought Symphonia and Abyss were pretty freakin' awesome. Someday I should post my review of Abyss that Amazon rejected for being too long. I might wait until Matt's through with my copy and replay it first, though.

  3. D'oh! I was clipping along quite nicely in Abyss until I started back working overtime again. Now it takes to long to start up Abyss when I can just flick a switch on the PSP and be exactly where I was the night before in Disgea which allows me to play as much or (now-a-days) as little as I see fit. Plus, I can watch TV while I play the PSP.

  4. I award myself 3 points for the longest run-on sentence this week and may God have mercy on my soul.

  5. Mario Galaxy is wicked fun! I know you like to have folks over to play too. In that case, you might want to consider the Rayman Raving Rabbid series. The second one is way fun with some drinks and some extra controls.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.