• December 22, 2014

Game On: PlayStation 4 creates new video-gaming standard

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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 4:30 am

With the launch of the PlayStation 4, we can start welcoming in a new generation and standard of video gaming. We're promised stronger graphics, deeper levels of content, hardware that can serve a multitude of purposes outside of just gaming itself, and much more. And while there are many who will love all the connectivity and home entertainment possibilities with the PS4, if the games don't measure up then what's the point?

To that end, here's a roundup of the top launch-day titles available for those who need to get their PS4 fix on right away.

''Battlefield 4"

Genre: Shooter

Publisher: EA Games

ESRB Rating: M for Mature

The Verdict: Buy it immediately. The campaign doesn't do much to light your world on fire (other than seemingly lighting the entire world on fire with nonstop gunfire and explosions), but you don't get this game for the story. You get it for the online multiplayer. Matches featuring 64 players across sprawling and ever-changing maps make this game an absolute must-own.

''Resogun"

Genre: Action

Publisher: Sony

ESRB Rating: E for Everyone

The Verdict: Of course, what better way to celebrate new technology than to take a 30-year-old game and redefine it entirely for a new generation? "Resogun" takes the arcade class "Defender" and reboots it as a 21st-century side-scroller with a frantic pace. Alien ships come at you from numerous directions; the techno/house music beats will keep you auditory senses alive. You may invite carpal tunnel into your life quickly with all the fast-acting movements you have to perform. Anyone who remembers dumping quarter after quarter into an arcade machine will love this game.

''Killzone: Shadow Fall"

Genre: Shooter

Publisher: Sony

ESRB Rating: M for Mature

The Verdict: As we've learned, more shooter franchises are spending more time developing exciting multiplayer experiences at the detriment of single-player campaigns. "Shadow Fall" embraces this trend, almost to a fault. The once-great franchise saw better days when it had compelling narrative, and now with a shallow story and expanded (though unique) competitive modes, it just looks like all the other first-person shooters. Franchise fans will enjoy it, but newbies may be less intrigued.

''Call of Duty: Ghosts"

Genre: Shooter

Publisher: Activision

ESRB Rating: M for Mature

The Verdict: I held out reviewing "Ghosts" so that I could experience the PS4 version first. The story comes off thin, but I will absolutely vouch for the outstanding setpieces and environments where these dense firefights take place. I wish the characters gave me a little more reason to care, but the co-op mode is fantastic and the tweaks to the multiplayer modes make this an easy recommendation for PS4 owners.

''Flower"

Genre: Music

Publisher: Sony

ESRB Rating: E for Everyone

The Verdict: Originally released roughly four years ago, this music-themed game should not be missed with this re-release. The simple premise -- guide flower petals through landscapes to create music -- may come off trite and simplistic, but the results are anything but. The game is relatively short, but the replay factor is high. Few games deliver these kinds of highs and lows in such a serene environment.

''Contrast"

Genre: Puzzle

Publisher: Compulsion Games

ESRB Rating: E for Everyone

The Verdict: The game has big notions with its striking visuals and unique ability to shift from 2-D to 3-D playing. Sadly, the game sets you up for big payoffs but rarely delivers them, leaving you wanting more than the limited offerings. Fun characters and witty dialogue aren't enough to make this a game worth owning, but it certainly could entertain you as a weekend rental.

''Knack"

Genre: Action

Publisher: Sony

ESRB Rating: E for Everyone

The Verdict: Not every launch title blows your mind, and "Knack" drew the short stick when it comes to successful games. Try as it might to deliver an interesting fighting game where you control a magical creature fending off an invading goblin army, that description sounds more engaging than the actual game. There's too much repetition and very little innovation, so save your money and skip this one.

Other games of note:

-- "Assassin's Creed IV": I previously reviewed the PS3/Xbox 360 versions of the pirate-themed edition of this franchise. A few more missions and other content make it to the PS4 version; this is one of the best games in the series' history.

-- "FIFA 14": The award-winning soccer franchise gets a nice update to the new console, and slamming goals into the back of the net feels and looks better than ever. If not for having to review other games, I could play seasons of this game for months on end.

-- "NBA2K14": The My Career mode gets a big boost, while more fluid player controls and improved gameplay on almost every front make this an impressive basketball game. Anyone who feared trying the My GM mode has no excuses; it's now really fun to run an NBA team from the owner's suite.

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