I recently got my eager hands on a demo of Infamous: Second Son at a retail preview event and I left with a distinct feeling that it wonít be the killer exclusive that the PS4 has been waiting for. With Titanfall due to hit rival platform Xbox One later this week, I was left wondering when the PS4 can expect to see its own exclusive that builds up a similar degree of hype and enthusiasm.
Rest assured, this isnít a PS4-bashing article. Hell, Iím still glad I opted for the Sony platform last November, largely in part to many the multiplatform titles -current and upcoming- performing significantly better on the PS4. Sales of the console have been strong too and PS Plus remains an attractive proposition even if weíve noticed it treading water a little on the PS4. But where are the games to look forward to that make the PS4 the obvious choice for gamers yet to splash the cash on a new console?
The Xbox One has been losing out so far in no small part because of the high price compared to the PS4, but weíre now seeing regional price-cuts making the Microsoft console much more competitive. Take the UK market: the solus console used to be £425, but now you can order a Titanfall bundle for £399, thatís just £10 more than the PS4 Infamous: Second Son bundle. Going forward, the price difference just isnít going to be a selling point anymore.
When looking at the release schedule this month, itís become clear to me that Infamous is really up against it in the battle for gamersí time and money against Titanfall. Sony havenít helped themselves in this matter either, offering few updates about the game itself and keeping hands-on opportunities unavailable until very late in the day.
The demo I played didnít impress on a visual scale beyond a few neat particle effects when absorbing neon or smoke powers. Admittedly, it only included a small part of the gameís map, but man, it was so grey and dull with no extra texture detail to be found on walls or on the tarmac. I was assured this was quite an old demo and the final game looks better. But then why the hell is Sony sending this decidedly crappy-looking demo around the country in an effort to drum up pre-orders?
Combat felt decidedly last-gen too, with clunky melee moves making Delsinís fiery chain attacks feel like like Kratos on tranquilisers. Switching to Neon mode (not just electricity with a dash on pink, honest) proved to be a real letdown as Delsin only had pithy ranged attack with no melee options. Fingers crossed more moves will become available in the final version. More frustrating is Sonyís silence on what other powers Delsin will be able to steal from other Conduits. If we get the final game and all weíve been waiting for is an ice blast weíre not going to be happy as the PS4 exclusive already looks like itís barely moved on from the PS3 games.
I really hope Iím wrong when the finished version of the game turns up and it blows us all away, but is anyone else getting that feeling weíre looking at an enjoyable 7/10 rather than the game to tell our Xboning friends that weíre not feeling that bad about not playing Titanfall?
My current thinking is that Titanfall will
eventually make its way to the PS4 in the shape of Titanfall 2 as Microsoft have failed to lock-down sequel rights so far and EA arenít stupid enough to avoid doubling their audience unless MS throw an obscene amount of money at them Ėalso possible. For now, Iíll just keep telling myself that Iím not that bothered about missing out because Titanfall is online only. Except, I played Titanfall at an expo last year and knew there and then this was going to be huge.
Who needs Titanfall?
Are the killer app exclusive games coming from Sony and third party developers? Of course they are. But Sony is playing a dangerous game by not showing us anything to compete with hype being generated by Titanfall. The new Uncharted will be ace, I think thatís a given, but whereís the footage? The Order: 1886 looks interesting, but weíre going to need a bit more convincing itís not just another third-person shooter and hopefully someone will convince Ready at Dawn to get rid of the awful Ďcinematicí widescreen borders.
Sony Santa Monica recently cancelled a four-year deep project, which certainly doesnít sound good. Was this the next God of War game? Surely not, but itís not a good sign nevertheless. But if Santa Monica werenít working on GoW, who is? Gran Turismo 7 is probably a few years away given recent form, but at least weíll have a free version of DriveClub to look forwards to on PS Plus soon. Except, thatís gone down the crapper too, with Sony recently admitting
the game has gone back to the drawing board and may even miss 2014 despite originally being planned as a launch title. Oh well, thereís always The Last GuardianÖ
All the while Titanfall will be in every shop window for the next few months and before you know it, the hype machine will start rolling through with Halo 5 on its back. Can Kratos and Nathan Drake take on the mechs and Master Chief? Youíre damn right they can, but Sony needs to get them off the bench and into the game before itís too late.
Many pundits suggest that Sony is waiting until E3 to show us some footage from Uncharted and probably unveil a few new exclusives. Usually, that would be fine and definitely something to look forward too as expo season heats up our summer, but Sony need to show gamers something NOW. Many gamers yet to make the leap onto next-gen consoles will hungrily looking at the Titanfall bundle this week and Sony need to make the PS4 an attractive alternative with the promise of some huge games to look forwards too. So far, theyíre relying on faith that little bit too much.
Sony could reclaim the console-crown from Microsoft this generation and theyíve made a good start, but itís about time they got stuck into the war for real rather than sitting back and gleefully watching other devs win the smaller battles for them with better resolutions and frame-rates for third-party titles.