In an era where 4K resolution is the new standard to judge the power of a console, the eighth-generation of consoles has made its mark on not only the gaming world, but in the entertainment industry as a whole.
With Microsoft’s announcement of its new console, the Xbox Scorpio, I feel like it would be a great time to look back at the greatest games available on both the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One. These are my personal picks and what I feel every owner of the consoles should pick up immediately.
Sadly, games like Persona 4 or The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt won’t be here. Sorry.
6. Rise of the Tomb Raider (Playstation 4, Xbox One, Personal Computer)
Lara Croft’s excellent reboot came out toward the end of last generation’s life-cycle and resurrected the famed treasure hunter with a darker and grittier tone. Its first sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, exceeds whatever expectations fans might have for any game in the series.
There is a story full of standard survival tropes and a mix of Hitchcockian paranoia as Lara tries to convince a world of both dastardly enemies and double-crossing friends that the events of the first game did in fact happen. The game features improved crafting, several large areas to explore and an excellent upgrade system, all while focusing more on the evolution of a woman whose love of history and culture becomes the story of survival. Just watch out for bears.
5. Overwatch (Playstation 4, Xbox One, Personal Computer)
Blizzard’s latest multiplayer offering is an elevation of the first-person shooter genre. Overwatch blends aspects of class-based shooters like Team Fortress 2, multiplayer online battle arenas like League of Legends and the cute visuals of any Pixar film to create one of the most addicting games in recent memory. More than 24 characters and six classes make up the game’s cast, each with a distinct role to play in either teams. One of the things that make the game so distinct from the Call of Duty or Halo genres is its colorful and vibrant feel. Its accessibility makes it easy to pick up, but as hours go by, you’ll find yourself doing anything to reach the next level and earn that delightful loot box. It’s a hard life for anyone trying to get a rare Roadhog skin, but it’s well worth the time that anyone will most likely put in. A word of advice to those reading: Stay on the payload, and don’t play as Hanzo.
4. The Last of Us: Remastered (Playstation 4)
This might be cheating, but developer Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us was one of the best games to come out on Playstation 3. It only makes sense that a remastered version of said game would be even better. These features include enhanced visuals—taking full advantage of the PS4’s advanced processing power—an improved frame rate, inclusion of the Left Behind downloadable content and a photo mode. It all comes together to make the story of Joel and Ellie traversing a post-apocalyptic world full of bandits and infected beings even better a second time around. The game not only features some deep survival-horror gameplay mixed with elements of stealth and action, but has some of the best writing in any video game I’ve seen. It’s a game that will make even the strongest weep and question any remnants of hope they may have.
3. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (Playstation 4, Xbox One, Personal Computer)
Shadow of Mordor makes no effort to hide the games that influenced it. The parkour and climbing from Assassin’s Creed are present, while the free-flowing combat from the Batman: Arkham games are there and as addicting as ever. What sets this game apart from other open-world action games is the Nemesis System—randomly named enemies in Sauron’s Army that are generated uniquely with each playthrough of the game. Playing as Talion, the main protagonist of the game, players go on a revenge mission against the dark forces of Mordor, killing hordes and hordes of Orcs and Uruks. Every encounter with an Uruk captain is unique, as enemies remember each fight and the members of Sauron’s army move up their own ranks. It’s one of the few games that truly feels dynamic all throughout. Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien will appreciate the accurate portrayal of the famed fantasy setting, while fans of action-role playing games will appreciate a deep, though somewhat unoriginal, gameplay.
2. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Playstation 4)
Past the gorgeous, life-like visuals and bombastic set pieces is a work of art that most developers can only dream of creating. The end of an almost 10-year saga starring one of the Playstation’s most iconic heroes, Uncharted 4 is a master class in game design and writing. The story of Nathan Drake, Victor Sullivan and new character Samuel Drake comes to a satisfying end after the 12 hours spent driving a jeep through a canyon in Madagascar or discovering some crazy pirate ship full of lost treasure. Naughty Dog is in top form and must be commended for introducing their signature series to the current generation. No other Playstation 4 exclusive can make a case for dropping $300 on a new console.
1. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Playstation 4, Xbox One, Personal Computer)
This was it for famed game creator Hideo Kojima. Almost 30 years and nine games later, Kojima has finally crafted his opus of a game and one worthy to the legendary Metal Gear series. Gone are the seemingly linear corridors of past entries. Instead, Snake is now given two large maps set in Afghanistan and Africa, respectively. Unlike most games that promise freedom, The Phantom Pain allows for just that. Missions can now be completed in any order, at any time of day. Stealth is no longer the only option to carry out a successful mission, as they can be completed in any way possible. Explaining the freedom does not do it justice, as it must be experienced to truly be appreciated. Even with a disjointed story that begs more questions than answers (largely in part to series creator Kojima and publisher Konami’s feud during development of the game), The Phantom Pain is a true next-generation game. Kojima’s final Metal Gear installment is nothing short of a masterpiece, and the perfect send-off for Big Boss. It is an absolute must-play for anyone owning a current-generation console.