My Swansong to the PS4
Goodbye my lover, goodbye my friend...
The end of this absolute nightmare of a year will be marked with the introduction of a new console generation. While it will take a while for games to stop being produced for the current generation, this is certainly a spot for reflection on what the current generation, for me the PS4, gave us.
This will not be the end of the console. Though PC fans predict with every generation that people will move in their droves to the computer market I can not see this happening. For one we have already seen places sell out of pre-orders for both XBOX and PS5. The appeal of universal, easy to use gaming still takes some beating.
But for me, this may be my last console, at least for a long while. I have been seduced by the variety of independent games and free multiplayer of the PC market. But there are certainly things that I will miss. Certainly this generation has given me some of the best gaming experiences I have had in many years and will rank alongside the original PlayStation days for myself. So here is a retrospective on why I enjoyed the PS4.
I got the console a bit late, I ain’t the richest bloke and I had to wait for a mixture of student loan and cheap deals to make it affordable. But I managed to secure one in September 2016 with FIFA 17. Okay not exactly the pinnacle of gaming but FIFA 17 was the first I’d properly played on new consoles and it ran so much quicker, no long 30 second waits for substitutions. Plus I got it for the main reason I love consoles, local multiplayer.
I spent most of my university life, in my room or with mates playing some heavily competitive FIFA tournaments that only one person, bloody Liam bloody Ollie-Telemaque, would win. With Covid-19 around, I feel these days may be a while from returning. The first real game I played solo was Fallout 4, a game that I was anticipating more than anything.
While many people didn’t respond to many of the changes made in the Fallout franchise, I appreciated most of them, except for the speech options. Many A True Nerd has made a couple of great video essays of why Fallout 4 is better than you might think and I universally agree with everything he says. It was a hugely dense apocalypse world that I truly allowed myself to get sucked into with great role-playing enthusiasm.
During that time I also took a chance on a game that had a slow burn of popularity, Until Dawn. It ranks among my favourite games of all time. For two reasons. The first time I played it through on my own, though my other half was curled up beside me, intent on not looking at the horror on screen. I was led one way then another and was surprised about Josh before guessing the true circumstances of the horror based on the way I had explored the game.
I enjoyed it so much I watched two different sets of friends play through the game, watching both times, and saw how different the games experience was for all three different playthroughs and how neither of the groups guessed the true fate of the lost twins, until it was too late. It was utterly fantastic and an experience like no other.
I had similar experiences the next year with Resident Evil 7, telling my flatmates who were playing it as well, that they couldn’t get past me in the campaign. As well as playing through some of the less well received Assassin Creed games with the ol’ ball and chain. Sadly I was let down by the absolutely naff Final Fantasy XV, I am a bg Final Fantasy fan and absolutely despised this console’s instalment.
Since then, there have been a good few many games that I have loved playing through. The Witcher 3 was an epic experience. God of War got me back into the swing of swinging an axe and I also got given Read Dead 2, which I haven’t opened yet… Sorry!
But I save two games for special recommendation for their brilliance, one of which is not talked about with nearly enough praise.
The first game is Spiderman PS4. Sliding around New York gave me goosebumps. The whole experience was simply breathtakingly brilliant with the right level of challenge mixed with a heavy dose of pure joy. The way the game felt was wondrous and you didn’t need an engaging storyline to love the game, yet we were treated to one of the best spiderman stories in any mediums. One of the only games I have 100% as it gives you more content and facts about the world, rewarding you for exploring the beautiful recreated city.
But, my last praise for this generation of console goes to Resident Evil 2. Yes it may be fan service but what a piece of fan service it was.
Resident evil 2, on the original PSX is probably my favourite game of all time. The mixture of suspense, puzzle solving and old school inventory management makes it easily the best resident evil game and arguably the best survival horror game of all time. For years I had been following the development of the Remake, most of them being nonsensical to myself as they were in Japanese only. But honestly I had nearly forgotten it was happening when the game was launched.
It was exactly what a remake should be. It gave me the feel of the old Racoon City Police Department but replicated it in stunning visuals, while still keeping the slow suspense that surrounded the 90s masterpiece. They managed to replicate the puzzles, yet keep them fresh. And, most of all, the game actually scared me shitless.
I am now playing through The Last of Us: Part Two that I am thoroughly enjoying, and scratching my head at the perceived criticism of the game's narrative that seems to nicely pair and reflect the original story. Well there is no pleasing some people. Sadly, it may be one of the last games I am able to borrow from a friend, with many people opting for consoles without disc drives.
These experiences, many shared with my friends next to me, made me fall in love with the PS4 and I will cherish the memories I have spent playing it. I hope this retrospective has given you time to look back at the experiences you had this generation and the good time you had gaming.
I would love to hear your best stories @bobsgammon on twitter!