The Generation Gap

Platforms: Microsoft Xbox One | Sony Playstation 4

As consumers battle in stores to grab an Xbox One or PS4 for Christmas, making every effort to ditch their now aging current gen best bud and reassign it to a random bedroom, a relative with little or no interest in gaming or to a local family with four kids and no money (it happens) - it’s time to look at a handful of the third party titles that have been released on current gen but then later in November received next gen upgrades. An important exercise not only for the people who have their eye on a new console but also for those who potentially bought these games on 360 or PS3 with reasonably priced upgrade paths available through the likes of Amazon, or PSN.

So, the key question that we need to get out of the way immediately...“is it worth me upgrading my current gen version?”. An easy one to start with and for the most part the answer is yes, but, and it’s a big but, only if upgrading is reasonable. The Amazon £9.99 EA game swap for example is perfect for the Xbox One owner who already owned FIFA 14 on the 360 but got the Xbox One version free with the console. Simply pop the 360 version over to Amazon, vouchers happen somehow, then add ten pounds of real money and bosch, a brand new copy of Battlefield 4 on the Xbox One. Note though that if no such upgrade path is available and you are facing buying the same game again, for around £50, chances are it isn’t worth it unless you are a massive fan of the franchise in question.

Anyway, we’ve selected a series of games that we reviewed on current gen back in November and bring you a short sharp next gen update on each title.

Call of Duty Ghosts

A beast of a franchise, the juggernaut of first person shooters, reviewed by our very own Edd Harwood Call of Duty Ghosts Review
and receiving a rather muted 7/10, was released on Xbox One and PS4 on their respective launch days. Having played both the 360 and Xbox One versions it’s safe to say that the only real differences between these two are found in the graphics and load times. A common theme as you will come to see throughout this piece but really, that’s it and the difference isn’t even that impressive on the Xbox One. The campaign brings in some neat graphical touches, extra lighting, more lens flair and additional debris, all adding to the already excessive bombastic nature of Call of Duty but the game engine has long had its day now. Clearly a game that was built for current gen hardware and tweaked, upscaled whatever the hell you want to call it, for the newer hardware.

The gameplay itself is identical, literally nothing extra has been added in, it all loads quicker sure and looks prettier but little else has changed - a new engine and some creativity needed for next year’s inevitable iteration methinks.

Battlefield 4

Battlefield is the better looking, bigger, yet less popular on console pretender to Call of Duty’s throne. Generally considered to be the pinnacle of modern warfare gaming within the PC community, the console technology has never really had the oomph to match...until now of course. Reviewed by Leigh Forgie on Xbox 360 and receiving a reasonable 7/10
Battlefield 4 Review, this latest iteration of the franchise continued to try to occupy the same space as Call of Duty without offering too much in the way of differentiating factors. Sure there are vehicles and looks wise Call of Duty was way behind but small maps along with limited numbers in online modes again pretty much continued to put these two juggernaut FPS franchises competing head to head.

Well, next gen pretty much turns that upside down and finally, sweet lord finally, gives console players the huge epic 64 player online battles that armchair gamers last experienced hunched over a PC fifteen years ago when experiencing Battlefield 1942 for the first time. It’s been a long wait for such gaming veterans; they grew tired of constantly upgrading, trying desperately to keep up with the latest tech; they had kids, found that their only free time was precious and did they really want to be hunched over a PC during their one hour of play a weeked. You guys know who you are and rejoice, Battlefield 4 on next gen is what you’ve been waiting for.

Better looking by a country mile than their current gen counterparts, with more destruction, more colour, a shit ton more lens flare and as a result a visceral feel to proceedings that you just couldn’t get on console before this. Add to this that the maps now match the PC version along with the player count being mirrored also. Now you can experience a 64 player land-grab-a-thon with a squad of friends (up to five) in gorgeous surroundings all from the comfort of your sofa, wirelessly, with a joypad.

If one game shows the difference between current and next gen, Battlefield 4 is it and it is absolutely essential that you upgrade your version if you want the best Battlefield experience.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes

Lego games are awesome, it really is that simple, it’s pointless even starting an argument to the contrary, no-one will agree with you. Reviewed by Andrew Phillips Marvel Super Heroes Review receiving a very solid 8/10 in the process Lego Marvel was the both the perfect evolution of Lego games but a dream franchise marriage between the ever excellent Lego series of games and arguably the hottest properties in any entertainment medium right now, the Marvel super heroes (or Marvel universe if you will).

So what could the boffins at Travellers Tales possibly do to improve this already epic dream team on the next gen consoles...well...nothing really. Honestly, aside from some upscaling, the smoothing of any jagged edges and some neat new effects the game is identical. Most of the aforementioned ‘upgrades’ add very little and as a result it would make no sense to upgrade your current gen version if you have already made the purchase on your 360 or PS3 - naturally though if you have yet to enjoy the delights that Lego Marvel Super Heroes has to offer, the Xbox One or PS4 versions are the ones to buy.


You would be forgiven for thinking, another year, another minor FIFA upgrade if you purchased FIFA 14 on your Xbox 360 or PS3, however if you are lucky enough to be playing FIFA on a next gen console, this feeling will be gone in an instant. Reported to have been developed from the ground up for next gen consoles using the newest version of the EA Sports Ignite engine, FIFA 14 on Xbox One or PS4 is finally a jump forward for the franchise. Check out our review to see what we thought, FIFA 14 Review, a lovely 8 even on current gen.

So what is new with the next gen version, well, almost everything really. Graphically it’s much improved, there is even now an actual crowd in attendance at every game as opposed to the rather silly looking cardboard cutouts seen down the years. Crucially though it’s the enhanced compute power that seems to have improved FIFA 14; many many more animations and vastly improved physics make for a much smoother, silkier experience so much so that it’s almost like playing a completely different game. As the entire engine is built upon maths based physics and the players movement is influenced by the situations they find themselves in, the ability for the next gen consoles to perform vastly’ superior numbers of such calculations simultaneously makes for a much richer experience. For FIFA players, just imagine every time your defender is running towards his own goal, the ball dropping over his shoulder, previously he would have hung out limp leg, controlling the ball terribly, gifting the ball to the on running attacker and naturally resulting in a goal for the opposition - this used to happen all the time, hell some players used to use it as their only means of scoring in open play but thank fully now that defender has options. Trap the ball if positioned correctly, then turn on a sixpence and nutmeg the oncoming attacker, or volley the ball to a full back all in one movement.

The enhanced freedom in the minute to minute gameplay that is afforded by the enhanced physics, the quicker, smoother sharper and more varied animations very much changes the game and the way you approach it.

It’s still not perfect and there is clearly work to be done before everything works perfectly, Pro Clubs players were pretty much unable to play the next gen version for the first two weeks or so of launch, but what we have here is a solid foundation that actually pushes itself forward away from the current gen version(s) and towards something with the potential to be much greater. Hopefully soon we will see something ground breaking, for now, grab the Xbox One or PS4 copy, you will not regret it.

To conclude, of the titles we have been fortunate enough to play on current gen and then subsequently a few weeks later on the new platforms the results are pretty much all over the place. Some titles show very little difference, some are purely graphical and some are ground up re-builds which you have to play. All in all the principle remains, if you have an affordable upgrade path (FIFA on Xbox One was free!) then next gen is the way to go, otherwise be happy with the current gen versions, sit back, drink some mead, eat some turkey and count the days until the next gen really gets going this spring.

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