2-9 Console Life-cycle: Late to the Party

I’m late to the party, but the good thing is that there’s plenty of food to devour. That’s how I feel having been gifted a console (PS4) so late into it’s life-cycle. We already know that the PS5 (PSV?) has been announced for December 2020. So why now?

There are a ton of advantages with jumping into a console so late in it’s life-cycle. Here are just a few of them:

  • Discounts on console/bundled deals.
  • Games are cheaper (used games easily acquired)
  • GOTY editions (bundled DLC game packages at low prices)
  • Bugs/updates have been worked out for major game releases

Those are just a few of the reasons to jump into a gaming console at the end of it’s life. You just save a ton of money and have a lot of media to consume.

There are certainly trade-offs, as the number of games that are being released for the older generation start to taper off as release of the latest approaches. But for me, this isn’t really a deal-breaker. I did this with the Xbox 360 and here I am at the tail end of Sony’s Playstation 4.

2-6 Xbox Game Pass: A Buffet of Games

Games as services is not something I am quite fond of, but it seems to be the future. Lately it seems, all you have to do is to blink and you’ll discover a game developer announcing an exclusive launcher for their flagship games.

Whether it’s Rockstar with their announcement of Red Dead Redemption 2 or Ubisoft with the latest Assassin’s Creed. If you want to buy a game, you have to install their launcher and live inside of their ecosystem. And we know that they’re going to offer all kinds of lootboxes (surprise-mechanics) and additional DLC that are exclusive to their platform.

I hate that I currently have 7 launcher/platforms on my PC:

  • Steam
  • Origin
  • Uplay
  • Epic Game Store
  • GoG
  • Microsoft Xbox
  • Battle.net

And Google Stadia is around the corner (I am eagerly awaiting this to fail).

The only shining bit of light I can see is how Microsoft has approached this trend of games as a service with their Xbox Game Pass.

Microsoft Xbox Game Pass

For about $6/month I can have unlimited access to a gallery of games that I am able to immediately download to my PC. I’m not streaming them, so I do not have to fuss with latency or connection speeds. And I’m not paying full price for a game I will lose interest with or does not run well on my aging graphics card (GTX 950).

I wanted to play the new Obsidian game, Outer Worlds, but I also didn’t want to drop $60, so I started my free trial and I have to say, I’m quite pleased with this decision and I’m going to keep my subscription active.

The only small annoyance I have is that the Xbox Game Pass app from the Windows Store is a bit sluggish at times, but it’s also a beta app that will likely receive more updates as the service develops. It’s still only a few months into this being available for PC, so I’m not too worried. It’s a very small thing.

If you’re looking for a convenient way to play games on your PC at a fairly affordable cost, you should take advantage of the $1 first month trial and see if it’s right for you.

2-5 Going Back: Previously On LOST

Returning to a game you haven’t picked up in months can be a frustrating experience. Outside of feeling disconnected from the narrative of whatever game you’re attempting to hop back inside of, you have also likely forgotten a number of other aspects of the game: controls, attack patterns of bosses, and where you are in the game (literally, somewhere on a giant map unsure of your next step).

DRAGON QUEST XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

I wish more video games took a page from television serials and provided a “Previously on…” kind of recap. Dragon Quest XI, which I’m currently playing does just this and it’s a brilliant addition to an already stand-out game. I am glad the developers recognized that in a game that is potentially 120+ hours long, that it might be useful to have a short recap while your game is loading, explaining that your character was last on this island battling this evil demon and your next goal is to find maguffin A so you can restore order to the blah blah blah.

What often happens to me when I return to an older game is that I start a brand new save, so that I can re-familiarize myself with the game’s narrative/controls and then once I feel like I’ve recalled enough of the game, I will hop back into my older save which has more progress.

I do also wish that outside of a “Previously on…” type of feature, that more games would allow you to replay the introduction/tutorial because that would basically solve the problem of not knowing how to play the game after so many months (or even years) of inactivity.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming.