As the inevitable Christmas crisis of confidence around what to buy, what not to buy your loved one looms, here’s your definitive gaming guide to buying the best games and consoles as well as gaming facts that will make you sound like an expert this Christmas.
When it comes to entertainment, Hollywood is the dominant force, it is ‘The Godfather’ of all things that we consider to be entertainment. Whether it’s a night out to the cinema or nights in on the sofa, the products of Hollywood are always within an arms reach. Be it movie billboard or advert for your favorite TV show, Hollywood either inspired it or had a hand in making it.
The rise of the gamer this Christmas.
These beautiful unrivalled nuggets of entertainment are what we rely on to keep us captivated night after night, year after year and this isn’t set to change anytime soon, or is it?
Enter the gamer. Gaming technology is now at a standard to rival and in certain cases depose, the mighty superpower that is Hollywood. With major cooperation’s like Microsoft, Sony and new comers like Oculus pushing each other to their absolute computing limits it has produced a generation of machines that have given game developers a platform like no other to work with.
Who knew that the humble beginnings of Atari’s simulated table tennis game Pong in 1975, would in a few short years, spark the development of a global market now worth well over $70 billion with more than 1.7 billion active players worldwide.
And my word, haven’t they done well, gaming titles now have become interactive dramas leading us into a whole new world of entertainment for the masses. Till now, we went to the movies to escape our reality and enter an alternate world and we lived vicariously through usually overly muscular men with dodgy accents. Now with this new generation of gaming titles and consoles we ourselves have become the protagonist (without the accent) within games that play out like movies. We are the hero.
The titles released now are no longer linear platforms, they have open worlds, numerous different endings and player customization to the extent of putting your own face and voice to your character. It truly is an exciting time to be a gamer.
Gaming is no longer a niche hobby. It attracts all ages, both sexes and crosses all boundaries with even Hollywood stars lending their voices and faces to leading characters. The top game in the world is Call of Duty (COD), now an industry in itself with over 100m players worldwide, 35 billion hours played to date, 12 million players every day.
2014 has been witness to not just a revolution of the gaming industry with the release of brand new next generation consoles and virtual reality headsets but an evolution of top titles like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Alien Isolation and Destiny transforming the way we will play games forever.
2015 is promising to deliver gaming experiences we are yet to even fathom with titles such as The Division, Evolve, Mad Max, Star Wars Battlefront, Dying Light, Bloodbourne, Silent Hill (P.T), Until Dawn and Metal Gear Solid 5 (to name a few), with epics like these giving players the option to do whatever they want within a complete other world or even several worlds. This leads gamers to experience millions of possible eventualities and achieve completely different outcomes each time, hold onto experiences that no one else has ever had because it is now your world to explore and interact with and this means a gaming experience, as unique as you are.
The big Christmas question - Xbox One or Playstation 4?
Don't worry I won't, and quite frankly don’t want to, go too deeply into the technical talk about the inner workings of the industry leaders' circuitry but at the end of the hardware and the power inside each machine, what really matters most is the content.
Personally, although both are stunning units and there’s not a lot between them, for a gaming console, for people who want the best most immersive experience, the winner in undoubtedly the XboxOne. To quote Microsoft, “XboxOne is built by gamers for gamers, the perfect balance of power and performance”.
Now one year old, the PlayStation 4 is already well on its way to becoming one of the most successful games consoles of all time.
After selling an incredible one million units in just its first 24 hours on sale in the US, the PS4 has now been snapped up by 13 million gamers worldwide.
For those who want their device to be more than just a gaming console and more of an entertainment centre then I believe this is where the PS4 is the winner.
"Divided in battle, united in play" - PS4
Now, if price is an influencing factor here’s what you need to know…
Xbox One retails at an average of £389 ($611) and comes with everything you need to just plug in and start gaming and is immediately TV interactive, leaving you wanting for nothing. Games are extra. Xbox retail a unit that excludes the Kinect camera which on average sells at £329 ($516).
Whilst PS4 retails at £329 ($516), sizably cheaper than the Xbox, this is the unit, a controller and a mic. If you need to make your TV smart, bringing it up to the XboxOne standard you’ll need to buy the camera as an extra.
Both consoles come with one controller. Extra controllers for both are around the £45 ($70) mark.
Most retailers are selling bundles that include a choice of games and various peripherals, even games specific console units are on sale which look ‘CoD’ darn awesome! So shop around BUT don't hang about as stocks are shifting fast and we don't want our readers to be disappointed this Christmas.
There’s no doubt that both consoles have produced some truly astonishing games but realistically 99% of games will be released on both platforms, so again this should not influence your decision.
These consoles are rapidly becoming a mandatory purchase this Christmas as most games are now being developed for next generation machines.
The Christmas Title Race
This year’s customary Christmas conundrum has changed a little but not much, and the usual annual parental choices of Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and FIFA still remain the firm favorites but allow me to add these to your shopping list – if like many parents or better halves, you find yourself in the very common (and frustrating) predicament of Call of Duty already having been purchased on launch night, I believe that Battlefield 4 or Far Cry 4 will be a very welcome addition to their gaming repertoire.
The Christmas classic is, as always Assassins Creed and this year is no different, actually it’s compulsory! Assassin’s Creed Unity (Rogue on 360/PS3) is a beautiful action packed exploration of history and adventure and will most certainly keep them occupied throughout the whole of the Christmas period.
Let’s have a wham, bam, and thank you Mam list of what games to buy
FIFA 15 beats Pro Evo Soccer 15 hands down, Assassin’s Creed is always a must, Call of Duty Advanced Warfare and Destiny need to be on every gamers shelf this Christmas but if only one is to be chosen then Advanced Warfare I believe caters to a wider demographic and is your best bet.
The best Next Gen console specific titles to be put under the tree this year in my eyes are easy to pick between. For XboxOne; Halo’s Masterchief Collection, Forza 5, Titanfall and Sunset Overdrive and for Playstation 4; The Last of Us Remastered, Driveclub, Killzone: Shadow Fall, and Infamous: Second Son.
Depending on which console you are buying for, the best driving games this Christmas, are Driveclub on Playstation and The Crew is the number one choice for Xbox. For all current Gen gamers (Xbox360, PS3) don’t fret, most games release on both current and next gen but if not then may I suggest Grid Autosport for the PS3 and The Crew for Xbox 360.
For the horror fan, 2014 has catered for this genre incredibly well, we are missing the familiar face of Resident Evil (releasing 2015) but in it’s place you can choose from some truly terrifying (and I mean terrifying) titles. Such as The Evil Within, Alien Isolation, Outlast and The Last of Us Remastered.
2015 has somewhat of a plethora of zombie horrors in store but this Christmas, there is conveniently one zombie bashing survival horror for each platform. For the XboxOne I recommend Dead Rising 3 and for the PS4 I suggest The Last of Us Remastered. If you’re willing to wait an extra month or so till early 2015 for your zombie fix, then Dying Light is definitely my number one pick and it’s available on all consoles (inc Xbox360, PS3). Chomping at the heels of Dying Light is Dead Island 2, Resident Evil 2 Revelations and of course Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Zombie mode this year is smashing.
GTA 5 has been a smash hit this year and has recently broken through onto the XboxOne and PS4 with stunning upgrades and features and will be a brilliant and obvious choice… But there is an alternative.
“The rise of the geek comes into true fruition with Ubisofts brand new title release Watch Dogs.” Gamertag Gaming
Watch Dogs attempts to go beyond the limits of today’s current open-world titles, like GTA and Assassin's Creed, by giving the player the ability to control and fundamentally influence their entire environment via a hacking ability and provides a truly awesome alternative the usual GTA experience.
For the roleplay game gamers out there again 2014 has blessed us all with a magical selection of titles. Which to put under your tree this year though? Well, here are the suggestions. Dragon Age 3 Inquisition, Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor and World of Warcraft 's latest expansion, Warlords of Draenor.
Shine brighter than Rudolph’s nose this Christmas
The best way to guarantee the last roast potato at lunch this Christmas will be to present a ‘receipt’ of a pre-order for any of the following upcoming smash hit titles; Bloodbourne, Evolve, The Division, Battlefield Hardline, Uncharted 4, The Order: 1886, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Overwatch and/or The Witcher 3: Wild hunt.
This is an absolute must and trust me will get a reaction like no other, “How did you know?”. Play it how you want but this gift will demonstrate that you have really applied a lot of thought and will be appreciated no end. (Brownie points x10).
Know what you’re talking about this Christmas
You can find all the detailed reviews and gaming info at www.moviepilot.com/Gamertag-Gaming or tweet any gaming questions to @Tim_Horton_Boss
So, are you ready?
This Christmas is certainly not going to be short of entertainment. Whether you spend it as a member of a crack special forces team, locked in a fight for survival against hoards of infected zombies, become a midfield maestro like Steven Gerrard or even free run your way through Paris as an assassin, whichever path you follow this festive season one thing is for sure..
You better buckle up and hold on tight because the time of the gamer is here, it’s our time, It’s Gametime!
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