Thursday, February 9, 2012

What console should I get? Pro's & Con's (Gen VII Edition)

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Quite often people ask “Should I buy a new video game console? Which one is best for me? Are any of the consoles superior to the other?” Well I can answer all of those questions with one word answers, however that would make for a poor how-to guide (Yes, True, and No) so instead I will discuss at length each console and it’s positives and negatives and hopefully by the end of this you will have a better grasp as to which of these beauties you want to invest your hard earned money into. IN GLORIOUS LIST FORMART!


#1 The Nintendo Wii 

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TL;DR: The Wii is cheap, it has good games buried under mounds of shit, it has the most intuitive motion controls out of all the current generation consoles.

Over these past six or so years no gaming console flew off the shelves faster then the Nintendo Wii, with it’s intuitive motion controls and large number of quality first and second party titles it cornered the market for the seventh generation and is historically one of the most bought consoles next to the Playstation 2. For the first year of the Wii’s lifespan it was the most sought after console and for many it was next to impossible to obtain as the demand for it grew increasingly higher even after the holiday shopping season had ended. Unfortunately though despite a powerful line-up of decent launch titles the console was flooded with massive amounts of third party shovel-ware making many of the consoles gems go unnoticed and unappreciated. Nintendo’s campaign of making a family friendly console went off without a hitch and many homes already have a Wii, though how much they are used is mostly determined by the reasons it was purchased.

Pro’s and Con’s

Pro’s:

High Quality First and Second Party Titles: if you are a fan of the “Legend of Zelda”, “Mario Brothers”, “Metroid”, “Resident Evil”, “Castlevannia”, or “Sonic the Hedgehog” series the console has many high quality titles, to supplement them there are a host of new titles like the “No More Heroes” series or “Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom”. Through the Virtual Console you can purchase and download older games that may or may not be hard to find which you can then play on your Wii using either a WiiMote, Gamecube Controller, or Classic Controller.

Backwards Compatibility: The Wii is fully backwards compatible with the Wii and many of its peripherals barring the Gameboy Player attachment, which means if your GameCube is on the fritz you can upgrade to a Wii and still enjoy your older games.

Intuitive Motion Controls: The WiiMote is, as of this post, the most effective and intuitive motion control video game peripheral, the WiiMote is responsive and with the new “Plus” version can now track full movement allowing for realistic sword or gunplay.

Well-Balanced amount of game genre’s: The Wii has games for everyone covering every single genre. You want strategy games? Bam! They have those. You want RPG’s? BAM! They have a bunch of those as well. Etc.

Inexpensive: The Wii is a generally inexpensive console and the games and peripherals are also fairly cheap to get as well.

Practically Non-Existent hardware Issues: Known hardware issues with the Wii are almost nonexistent and the system is known to run at top performance regardless of setup.

Many motion based games: A vast majority of games for the Wii are motion based which may seem gimmicky to some but the actual experience is something that needs to be felt to be believed.

Con’s:

Overabundance of Shovelware: For every good game released on the Wii console 20 Imagine Fashion Designer and Cooking Mama’s are released. The curse of being a desirable console caused third party developers to come out of the woodwork to put out as many games as they could for the console.

Non-HD console: For those who demand that everything they view be in 1080p ultra-mega-super-deluxe-chocolate coated super quality prepare to be disappointed as the Wii only has conventional AV output meaning nothing higher then 480p.

Unable to Play Non-game DVD’s + CD’s: Currently the Wii is incapable of playing conventional DVD movies unless you are willing to go through the hassle of modding your system.

Graphics: Many games on the console have only subpar graphics when compared to the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Shoddy Wi-Fi: The Wii has very poor Wi-Fi reception and commonly when trying to play games online one will experience lag unless they get an ethernet adapter or have very high quality Wi-Fi.

Notable Games:

  • Legend of Zelda (series)
  • Metroid (series)
  • Super Mario Bros. (series)
  • No More Heroes (series)
  • Castlevannia
  • Madworld
  • House of the Dead (series)
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl
  • Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom


#2 Playstation 3

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Tl;DR: The PS3 is very Pricey, but for what you are paying you get a quality console despite it’s inability to play last gen games. If you are looking for an HD console and are focused more on traditional gaming this fits the bill very nicely.

Despite the Playstation 2’s immense worldwide success Sony’s latest brainchild the Playstation 3 was less well received by consumers worldwide. The Playstation 3 suffered slow sales from the get-go and was hard pressed to to push the console which at the time was priced at around $500-$600, even Sony chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer had a hard time keeping investors in the PS3 after such a terrible start. Over time however the sales of the PS3 have been steadily growing thanks to price cuts and a plethora of quality games for the console. The PS3 recently received the peripheral the Playstation Move which according to Sony has shipper 8.8 million units since it’s release in 2010, the move was well received averaging 8/10’s from most reviewing sites.

Pro’s and Con’s

Pro’s:

Quality First Party and Third Party Titles: Sony being the big corporation that it is has many groups under it’s belt pumping out games, many of which are subpar, though there is a massive enough amount of games that overall the good games make up for it.

Partial Backwards Compatibility (For the Original Fat 20gb PS3): The PS3 upon its release had partial backwards compatibility, notably only certain PS2 games would work on the PS3, however all PSX games work on it.

Quality Peripheral: The Playstation Move is the equal of the WiiMote in most ways, and has amazing motion tracking ability.

Adequate Wi-Fi capability: The PS3 has good Wi-Fi capability though once in a while the PS3 experiences lag though it isn’t very hindering. If possible it is recommended that PS3 owners who want to do things online use an ethernet connection for fastest speeds.

Heavy RPG focus: A Majority of the games for the console are RPG’s, many of which are console exclusive.

Rechargeable Controllers: The controllers have internal batteries which means that you do not have to spend money on batteries and what not.

Rare Hardware Issues: The PS3 has had hardware issues reported, though they are all rare and due to poor maintenance of the console. The most notable is the Yellow Light of Death which means either a hard drive failure or overheating.

HD Console: For the purist, the PS3 is capable of 1080p with use of a HDMI cable.

Plays DVD’s, CD’s, and Blurays: The PS3 can play conventional CD’s, DVD’s, and Blu-Rays. It cannot however play HD-DVD’s.

Con’s:

Limited Backwards Compatibility: The 40gb, 160gb, 320gb, and Slim models are incapable of playing any PS2 games. They can however play PSX games.

Lack of Support for Peripheral: The PS3 Move has only a handful of games released exclusively for use with it. However a decent amount of games that are released are compatible with the Playstation Move (Most are FPS’s though).

Expensive: The PS3 is very pricey regardless of where you look, it generally averages $200 for an older 20gb model, the newer versions and the slim go for even more.

Bulky: For the space conscious the PS3 is rather bulky compared to the other current gen consoles.

Notable Games:

  • Little Big Planet (series)
  • Infamous (series)
  • Uncharted (series)
  • Metal Gear Solid 4
  • Jak and Daxter (series)
  • Ratchet and Clank (series)
  • 3D Dot Game Heroes
  • Valkyria Chronicles
  • Disgaea (series)
  • Atelier Rorona


#3 Xbox 360

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TL;DR: The Xbox 360 is the middle child of the consoles price-wise as older models go for about $120-$160 and newer models go for around $200-$250. A majority of the games for the console are FPS’s with a small amount of RPG’s and Puzzles to dilute them. Older models are notorious for hardware issues but newer models like the Elite and S model are known to work fairly well. The system has many FPS’s and a healthy online user-base.

Microsofts notorious console, the Xbox 360 was a highly anticipated console by fans of First-Person Shooters all across the U.S. both prior and upon it’s release but was plagued by hardware problems which detracted many newer potential buyers. Despite the original problems of the console Microsoft has improved and fixed them over time with several new version of the console with the latest being the Model S. The Model S is boasted as being free of defects and as of this post no notable instances of the RROD have been announced. The Xbox 360 is renowned for it’s highly competitive, if not fickle, user base that generally jumps ship on the older games in favor of the latest. With the latest peripheral addition the "Kinect” Microsoft hoped to cash in on the casual market while boosting sales of their console, they report an increase in units shipped by several million.

Pro’s and Con’s

Pro’s:

Quality First and Third Party Titles: Notably the Halo, Crackdown, and Gears of War series.

Backwards Compatible: The Xbox 360 is able to play all Xbox games, however online functions on original Xbox games is nonexistent due to the servers having been taken down years ago. The game’s also save onto the systems hard drive, however they cannot be installed to reduce wear to the disc drive.

Plays CD’s, DVD’s, and HD-DVD’s: The Xbox 360 can play all conventional Music CD’s, Video DVD’s, and with the HD-DVD accessory it can play HD-DVD’s.

Heavy First Person Shooter focus: A vast majority of games on the console are FPS’s, many of which are exclusive to the console and Windows PC’s.

HD Console: The Xbox 360 is HD capable with use of an HDMI cable for 1080p picture quality.

High Quality Wi-Fi (in S model or with Wi-Fi Accessory): The Wi-Fi on the Xbox 360 is practically lag free and is incredibly fast compared to the other current gen consoles. The console also takes wired Ethernet connection for ultra fast connection.

Incredibly Competitive User-base: The entire 360 community is highly competitive so for most games it is incredibly easy to find opponents to fight or lobbies to join.

Voice Recognition and Input: The Kinect allows you to bark orders at it and for the most part it will do as you say. Occasionally it will do the exact opposite or something you didn’t say at all, but being the only thing of its kind it is a unique addition.

Con’s:

Wonky Motion Controls: The Kinect motion controls are sub-par and ultimately are reminiscent of the failed Eyetoy. If you move to fast it doesn’t read your motions and sometimes it doesn’t read them when you move to slow, overall the motion controls come off as gimmicky and not worth the $100+ it costs.

Pay-to-play online: The Xbox is the only console in which you have to pay a fee in order to play online. You are presented with the option of buying in increments of 3 months or a monthly basis.

Poor support for older games: As users jump to the next big hit, older games are played less and as a result many older games no longer have available servers for playing.

Hardware Issues: Older versions of the Xbox 360 are plagued with hardware problems, specifically the Red Ring of Death.

Peripherals are Expensive: All the Official Microsoft brand Peripherals are incredibly expensive, a wireless controller without any sort of recharging battery is $50 and a wired one is around $40, the play and charge kit goes for about $25, etc.

Notable Games:

  • Halo (series)
  • Left 4 Dead (series)
  • Gears of War (series)
  • Crackdown (series)
  • Perfect Dark Zero
  • Ninety Nine Nights
  • Dead Rising (series)
  • Blue Dragon


Verdict

So what console should you get? Well to be blunt none of these consoles is superior to the other, each specialize in an area and the area you (the customer) find most appealing is the console most suited for your needs. If upon reading this article you feel the need to repeat the question “But which console should I get?” then the obvious answer from there is that you do not need a console. If you cannot deign which you want from the information provided then you do not truly want nor need a console. Above amongst the pro’s and con’s of each console I included a list of notable games exclusive to that console if those games interest you then that is the system you should purchase.

 

*This Article is subject to revision at a future date due to new console versions being released and/or due to new accessories or revisions to consoles that cause a notable change.

1 comment:

  1. Great article!

    I have the three major contenders and as Mike said - there are positive and negative points in each. The PS3 is relatively solid. However, I've had a few freeze-ups and the internet is fickle at best for me. It is a great alternative to a stand-alone Blu Ray player, though it no longer is priced competitively with Blu Ray players, as they have fallen in price dramatically. I have the slim model, and as Mike said - even that's a beast.

    The Wii is a good system that I never play. It has gone mostly unused for 2 years. There are a handful of great games for it, but I would take the opposing view on the controls. They're woefully unresponsive much of the time and seem like a better idea on paper than in practice. The daisy-chaining of controllers/peripherals is an exercise in extreme patience. It's needlessly frustrating. However, I love the idea behind the old-school games in the virtual console. While I prefer to play my old games on carts (bought here at Lukie Games!) I still like having Mario 64 on my Wii.

    The 360 is the system I prefer the most, even though on paper I should push the thing into the bathtub. The first 360 I bought was D.O.A out of the box. It would play for about 20 minutes and then either the videocard would crap out or the system would spontaneously shut off. Whichever came first. Then my second system Red-ringed after about a year and a little change. Not bad odds for the 360 - still not great. My refurbished/replaced/fixed? console works fine with minimal problems outside of a whirring that sounds like a lawnmower. The excess expenses are frustrating (subscription/pricey peripherals/100 dollar internet adapter) but it's hard to beat good Netflix streaming speeds and the fact that many of my friends own a 360 and far less own a PS3 - thus coop gaming is much easier. The marketplace seems more intuitive than the PS3 store (though the most recent update kind of crapped on that theory) and the amount of content/apps available is impressive.

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