I’ve never really considered myself a big gamer. When I was younger, I enjoyed playing Pokémon and Super Mario on the various Nintendo handhelds, and for a time I had a PlayStation 1 and 2, but they didn’t get a whole lot of use outside of games like Spider-Man and Star Wars: Battlefront 2, respectively.
During my teenage years, me and my sister had a Wii – a console generally looked down on at the time by those who did in fact consider themselves to be gamers. At university, I started branching out, playing the various Batman: Arkham and Tomb Raider reboot games on my computer, but by the time Arkham Knight rolled around, my system had become too outdated to play the ‘big’ video-games on.
But after a certain Battlefront (2015) trailer revealed that Lando Calrissian was finally coming to the game, I realised that it was probably worth buying one of the next gen consoles, to finally be able to experience Battlefront, finish the Arkham series and play the follow-up Tomb Raider game, amongst others.
I picked up an Xbox One for a decent price (this link isn’t necessarily about the Xbox, so much as a lovely homeless man I met when going to get it), and have enjoyed the console for just under three years. However, with the release of games like God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man on the PlayStation this year, I realised it might be time to switch console, which is exactly what I did this past weekend.
Having now experienced both consoles, I decided to look at which one I truly prefer, as someone who enjoys video-games, but doesn’t know all the technical mumbo-jumbo or gamerspeak.
At the end of the day, both consoles are just somewhat plain black boxes, but out of the two, it’s the PlayStation that really stands out to me. It just looks slicker and more interesting than the rather plain looking Xbox. I was very fond of my Xbox, but there’s not a lot going on for it – design wise. Plus, the Xbox’s glossy finish over important things like the power button are just asking to be covered in finger-prints, unlike the PlayStation, which builds a slimmer, better concealed button into the central, vertical line.
However, when it comes to the controllers, in terms of comfort, the Xbox easily wins. Maybe I have big hands, but it just feels so much more comfortable to use, as opposed to the smaller, slimmer PlayStation controller. What surprised me, however, is just how functional the PlayStation controller is. While the standard Xbox controller features no headphone port and removeable batteries, the PlayStation controller comes with a battery pack built in, alongside a headphone port – meaning you don’t have to fork out extra cash to be able to be able to talk to friends or (if you’re like me) play the sounds through headphones, and most importantly, you don’t have to constantly change batteries.
Furthermore, there’s also a track-pad, which seems like a fun addition. However, so far, most of the apps in which I would type something don’t seem to work with it, so I’m rather indifferent to that feature.
The final thing I noticed is how much quieter the PS4 is. Having ditched the ridiculously bulky power cable of the Xbox, my play sessions are a lot more serene.
All-in-all, the best Hardware goes to: The PlayStation 4
Being part of the Microsoft family, the Xbox One features a Windows 10-esque user interface. I remember when Windows 10 came out, people weren’t a fan, in part because it seemed like it had been designed predominantly for tablets and touch screens rather than general, normal-PC users. However, I think, especially post-updates, that it really works on the Xbox (the above picture is of the older dashboard, it looks more dynamic once updated and with games installed).
It’s a simple, yet colourful design, that makes everything easy to navigate while leaving in space for the necessary promotional pictures. Plus, the various pages keep everything separate, meaning you only have to look at what you actually want to see on your home-screen, alongside the general important tabs like the Xbox store.
Conversely, I think the PlayStation layout looks pretty awful. Again, it’s simple, more akin to an Android phone, but having your menu stuck with various apps that you’re never going to use is infuriating, and having to scroll in various different directions to find things that should be dead centre when you power-on is ridiculous. The fact that you have limited editing capabilities also makes you wonder what on Earth the designers were thinking. There’s no contest here.
All-in-all, the best User Interface goes to: The Xbox One
Of course, the most important facet of a console, really, is the games it lets you play. I initially chose the Xbox One due to the fact that it featured backwards compatibility. However, the PlayStation has since done their own spin on this, providing PlayStation Now, a games service that lets you access games from older consoles digitally, so I guess my original reasoning is now a moot point.
With that out of the way, it really falls down to the Exclusives. As a former Xbox user, I had access to games like Halo, Gears of War and Sunset Overdrive. The Masterchief Collection was one of my first purchases, but in the 2+ years, I never completed it. It couldn’t hold my attention all the way through the first game. Now, really, that’s down to me and personal preferences, and subsequently, is why I changed console. See, I like things like superheroes, science-fiction and mythology, and although the Xbox definitely does cater to fans of those sorts of things, in 2018, it pales in comparison to what PlayStation is putting out.
Spider-Man, God of War, The Last of Us, Uncharted. These are games that are released to critical acclaim, and get everyone talking – even the non-gamers. Compare that to things like Halo and Gears of War, and you’ll note that while those games are also popular, they no longer grab the attention of the layman. I’ve personally never heard anyone say that the newest Halo or Gears of War are the best games ever. And yet, I’ve heard arguments be made that God of War, The Last of Us and Uncharted may be (and Spider-Man, the best superhero game).
All-in-all, best Game Exclusivity goes to: (It’s personal preference, but it seems a lot of peoples preference is…) The PlayStation 4
So for now, I’m going for those story experiences, and saying goodbye to my Xbox One. I’ll miss it, for sure. It’s the console that truly got me into playing mainstream games (ignoring my computer, which has also served me well, just not so much when it comes to gaming), but frankly there’s no point in me having two consoles.
Some people can justify it, but I, personally, can not. Anyway, I’m going to go play some more Spider-Man. See you later.