Reflections of a Next-Gen Newb

I have a rather embarrassing confession to make: I’m completely new to the world of next-gen gaming. In fact, I just bought a PS4 a month ago! No, I hadn’t been living under a rock; it was simply that up until the release of Battlefront, I had been almost completely content to exhaust the options available to me through my humble PS2. (Who am I kidding? The price tag held me back, too. Even though the cost was fairly reasonable, it’s hard to justify spending that much money when you’re a starving grad student. Please feed me.) Further, making the switch without the gentle transition provided by the PS3 was a little jarring. Despite how much I love my new system, there are also a few elements of next-gen gaming that have disappointed me and made me long for the “old days” when gaming was much more straightforward.

I Have to Pay for What?

So we’ve already established that I’m a fossil. I can hear all of you now: “Who plays a PS2 in the year 2015? Get with the times, Granny!” That’s a fair enough critique, I suppose. But even as far behind the gaming frontlines as I was, I knew that multiplayer online had become huge. As more of a lone-wolf gamer, this feature of next gen products didn’t necessarily hold any allure for me, but I did think that it could be a lot of un. So when I started playing Battlefront for the first time, I decided to give it a whirl. …Except I didn’t. I honestly had no clue that I would need to buy a Playstation Plus membership to be able to use that feature of the game. That didn’t make any sense to me! I already paid for the game, and they’re telling me that I can’t use more than half of its features unless I give them even more money? Thankfully, I was able to make use of a free two day trial, and I have to admit that it is a blast to play with other peoPS-Plusple around the country. (Other than when you encounter those people who are already level 50 when the game has been out for only four days! What the heck? Who has that kind of time? And why do you insist on sniping me with your high-powered rifle every single time I respawn? Leave me aloooooooone!!!!) But in all likelihood, I will break down and buy the membership. I will certainly do it with a tiny bit of bitterness though.

Another small detail that irked me occurred when I decided to go two-player. The original two Battlefronts hold a lot of fond memories for my brother and I, so I definitely wanted him to experience the game with me. Of course, I knew that I would need to go buy another controller; that much has been standard since the advent of gaming, as far as I’m aware! So the problem wasn’t that I needed to get another controller; the issue was that it 6cd6d5a95d72eb10660d49884bc4fbebd932dad8.jpg__620x350_q85_crop_upscale (1)didn’t come with a charging cord, which you need in order to use it. Now I know in this day and age, maybe youngsters are running around with micro USBs spilling all over the place, but I’m certainly not. It really rankled to spend fifty bucks on a controller and then have to go spend fifteen more on a cable. To be fair, it was definitely worth it; playing two player Survival mode on Battlefront is awesome! Though it would be better if I had the option of playing as the Empire. Don’t hinder my capacity to slaughter rebel scum, EA!

Finally, even though I knew about DLC before jumping on the next-gen bandwagon, it still infuriates me to no end. As a disclaimer, I don’t think DLC is completely unfounded; in certain situations, I think it’s absolutely reasonable. last-gen-new-genFor instance, sometimes a developer sells their game and it does way better than they anticipated. At that point, creating a little DLC as a supplement to make fans happy doesn’t bother me at all. In that case, it’s like a tasty dessert after a satisfying meal. What does grind my gears is when DLC is used as a convenient excuse to nickle-and-dime gamers for all that they’re worth. Ultimately, I despise DLC when it’s used as a greedy ploy to give the game out piecemeal. In comparison to the previous analogy, it’s like making a customer pay for their silverware and then charging them extra for their pasta. Oh, and the pasta only includes the noodles, not the sauce. The sauce is extra. Do you think game developers run a charity, people? And of course if you want bread to go with it, that’s extra too. The parmesan cheese? Why in the world would that be complimentary? Napkins? Do you think those grow on trees? Anyway, DLC kills me a little inside. As awesome as the newest Battlefront is, it’s a little skimpy. Excluding the free Jakku map that recently camdlce out, there were only four planets included in the game. (And to be honest, Endor isn’t even really a planet; it’s a moon, the poor man’s excuse for a planet.) Both the previous editions of Battlefront included many more worlds to enjoy. The new game’s saving grace is that the planets that they chose have a lot of aesthetic variety. They also include several variations of each planet in multiplayer mode, so in total, there are quite a few different game maps to play on. Of course, again, if you want to make use of all of those maps, you have to buy a Playstation Plus membership. And thus we come full circle.

But I Still Love Next-Gen

After reading all that, you might think that I’m horrendously disappointed with my purchase and want to hide in a dark corner, rocking back and forth with my faithful old PS2 clutched to my chest. That’s acmultiple-flagstually not the case at all! Despite some of my qualms about next-gen gaming, I still really enjoy it and am happy to be caught up with the times. There are so many features that are truly astounding. For instance, the fact that we can even play online with people from all over the nation—if not the world—is astounding. it’s so much fun to engage in these kinds of activities with other actual human beings instead of solely consigning oneself to mowing down a bunch of unfortunate AIs. (Though of course, that’s fun in its own right.)

Additionally, the graphics are amazing! The amount of detail and realism infused in these games is truly awe-inspiring. Do any of you remember the old PS1 graphics? Remember how Final Fantasy 7’s Cloud looked like an odd assortment of geometric shapes? Those days are gone. In Battlefront, Luke Skywalker looks jatstust like a young Mark Hamill. And if you shoot Jet Troopers while they’re in the air, their packs actually send them in a corkscrew through the atmosphere before they’re blown to smithereens! It’s truly astounding (and rather hilarious in a dark kind of a way).

Finally, as always, it’s fun. Many of the core features of gaming that made me fall in love with it when I was a little girl still exist today. While of course I hope some of the issues that I outlined above will be sorted out, on the whole I think that next-gen gaming is pretty amazing. Sure, I’m still a newb, but I don’t plan to be for long. Now please excuse me, I’ve got an AT-ST to pilot. Those rebels are getting out of hand again.

What do you think? Do the benefits of next-gen consoles outweigh their drawbacks, or are you nostalgically longing for the days of simpler gaming? Tell us in the comments!

Written by Rebecca Oliver

Becca is a doctoral psychology student, but also lets her inner geek out to play through her love of fantasy and sci-fi. While she mostly stays in this world, if you're having trouble finding her, you might also want to check Hogwarts, Middle Earth, Amestris, or the Chocobo Farm southeast of Midgar.

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