10 Upcoming Games That Prove There’s Life In The Current-Gen Consoles Yet

grand theft auto 5 screens offer a peek at los santos 10 Upcoming Games That Prove Theres Life In The Current Gen Consoles Yet

Beginning in late November 2005 and stretching all the way through to the present day, the seventh generation of home consoles – which includes the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii – has been one of the longest cycles in gaming history. It’s been an era defined by high definition graphics, internal hard drives and interaction via motion control, which has thus presented developers with enduring tools to create a rich reserve of gameplay experiences. The kind of experiences that will resonate with players for a very, very long time. And yet, as the relentless progression of technology would have it, Nintendo released their follow-up to the Wii with the Wii U in 2012, and while it didn’t blow the doors off upon release, it still ushered in the next generation of home consoles.

Plus, with the Xbox One and Playstation 4 now out in the public sphere coupled with an ever-approaching holiday release date, it won’t be long until we’re making room on our entertainment centers for these new systems. Although, it goes without saying that the leap to the next generation – while offering higher visual fidelity and an improved gaming ecosystem – will still require a substantial investment from a gamer standpoint. $898/£778, in fact, for both consoles, so it’s understandable that some consumers are apprehensive about making the jump. Plus, there have been a slew of recent releases that more than justify holding on to your current systems, and that’s a trend that is set to continue well into the next-gen life cycle.

Looking at recent releases such as The Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite and it’s as though the current systems are aging like a fine wine, as studios perfect their developing process on the present consoles and their individual architectures. This is the pinnacle of the seventh generation. A time when game designers have overcome the pernickety cell processors at present in both the Xbox 360 and PS3 and are able to master their pixelated creations.

These consoles aren’t quite ready for the retirement home. So while games such as Need for Speed: Rivals, Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag are set to straddle both console generations upon release, there is a humble category of video games that are slated to release exclusively on the current generation of systems. So don’t go packing up your hardware just yet, because here’s a list of 10 titles that are absolutley worth watching out for.

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1) Saints Row IV

Saints Row 4 Gets Impressive Cover Artwork 10 Upcoming Games That Prove Theres Life In The Current Gen Consoles Yet

Developer: Volition Inc & High Voltage Software
Genre: Third Person Action-Adventure
Available For: Playstation 3, Xbox 360 & PC
Release Date: US – August 20th/ EU – August 23rd

Volition surprised much of the industry when it released Saints Row 3 in 2011. The threequel wasn’t just a progression of the wacky franchise, it presented the studio the opportunity to hone the gameplay experience and rectify a lot of the performance issues that befell Saints Row 2. The result: A resounding success that embraced its overzealous and quirky stereotype, which also amassed 5.5 million copies in global sales.

Picked up by Deep Silver in the wake of THQ’s collapse, Saints Row IV will take place three years after the events of its predecessor. For the fourth iteration, though, the leader of the Third Street Saints has been elected as president of the United States and the game also adds an extra-terrestrial slant. Boasting the deep and rather ludicrous system of customisation, Saints Row IV will retain much of the series most loved components – including Tank Mayhem – while still mixing things up in order to maintain Steelport’s reputation as the industry’s most delirious sandbox.

If nothing else, the game should be commended for introducing the dubstep gun alone and rest assured, you’ll search high and wide to find an upcoming release more unashamedly entertaining than Saints Row IV.

Hype-O-Meter: 7/10

2) Splinter Cell: Blacklist

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Developer: Ubisoft Toronto
Genre: Third Person, Stealth, Action
Available For: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC & Wii U
Release Date: US – August 20th/ EU – August 23rd

The voice acting sector of the industry has witnessed a notable shake-up in recent months, with those affected including the likes of David Hayter, Kevin Conroy and, crucially for the Splinter Cell franchise, Michael Ironside. As a result, the illustrious night vision goggles will be passed to series newcomer Eric Johnson, who will provide the voice and motion capture performance for Sam Fisher in Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist.

Acting as a narrative continuation of Splinter Cell: Conviction, the studio’s upcoming title is the sixth instalment in the iconic series and one that will further explore the espionage style of play – in fact, Blacklist will offer the ‘stealth-only’ option found in the game’s predecessor. After a seven year hiatus, Spies vs. Mercs has been slated to return and will surely pose a challenge to players with its interesting dichotomy between first-person and third-person viewpoints.

In terms of story, the United States comes under threat from a terrorist organisation called ‘The Engineers’, prompting Fisher to led the Fourth Echelon against the group in order to protect the Blacklist – a list of US assets that act as the plot’s MacGuffin. With 14 unique co-op assignments to complete and four different mission types available, Splinter Cell: Blacklist will offer plenty of tactical stealth for your buck this coming August.

Hype-O-Meter: 7/10

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3) Rayman Legends

rayman legends3 10 Upcoming Games That Prove Theres Life In The Current Gen Consoles Yet

Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Genre: 2D Platformer
Available For: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U & Playstation Vita
Release Date: US – September 3rd/ EU – August 29th

Fans will be glad to see Rayman Legends released into the wild. Originally intended to be a Wii U launch title in 2012, the fifth fully-fledged iteration in the iconic series has suffered a series of delays since it was announced, which has subsequently resulted in Legends going multi-platform. Nevertheless, gamers will be able to take control of the beloved cel-shaded adventurer sooner rather than later.

Billed as a follow-up to last year’s excellent Rayman Origins, players can take control of the titular hero, Globox and the Teensies. Also, Rayman Legends will introduce a new playable character in Barbara. Though the decision to go multi-platform was met with negativity, Ubisoft have tried to appease Wii U owners by making the online challenge mode free on the Nintendo eShop. Additionally, the publisher’s CEO has defended the decision and has stated that the end experience will feel ‘much more complete’.

Having fallen in love with Origins on the Playstation Vita, I’m looking forward to playing Ubisoft’s sequel on the handheld. The polished visuals and character animations blossom on the OLED screen, plus, Vita owners will have access to five platform exclusive levels that will utilise the console’s back touchpad. Rayman has always been a delightful platformer, and even though Nintendo fans would have liked their hands on the game sooner, here’s hoping that Rayman Legends will be worth the wait when it hits stores this August.

Hype-O-Meter: 9/10

4) Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto 5 Masked Trevor 570x320 10 Upcoming Games That Prove Theres Life In The Current Gen Consoles Yet

Developer: Rockstar Games
Genre: Open World Sandbox
Available For: Playstation 3 & Xbox 360 – a PC release remains unconfirmed.
Release Date: September 17th

Within the industry there are a select few titles that transcend the ‘video game’ label and appeal to a much more widespread audience. Call of Duty and versatile titans such as Mario and Zelda, for example, are the evergreen pillars of the business that can be enjoyed by dedicated and casual gamers alike. And since its inception in 1997, Grand Theft Auto has indisputably become one of these prominent franchises with an inherent universal quality – heck, it’s so famous even your grandmother is conscious of Rockstar’s behemoth.

Putting the hyperbole aside, however, let’s focus on the forthcoming Grand Theft Auto V. For a series renown for establishing the sandbox genre, Rockstar have, in many ways, torn up the rulebook for GTA V. For the first time in the franchise, players will be table to take control of more than one protagonist – namely Franklin, Michael and Trevor – in order to lay claim to the greater Los Santos area. The gameplay experience will be tailored to accommodate this trio of characters, and players will be able to switch between the three perspectives via an instantaneous, Google maps-styled camera movement.

In terms of visuals, Rockstar have clearly harnessed every element under the hood of the current-gen systems; for Grand Theft Auto V is rendered expertly. More impressively, though, is the granular detail on display in the surrounding environment, which is made possible by the game’s extensive draw distance. Toting a map that out-scales Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas combined; the fifth numerical entry in Rockstar’s series is undeniably colossal.

With Grand Theft Auto V adjacent to it this September, it’s highly unlikely that your current-gen console will collect dust anytime soon.

Hype-O-Meter: Are you kidding?…10/10

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5) Beyond: Two Souls

beyond two souls film festival1 10 Upcoming Games That Prove Theres Life In The Current Gen Consoles Yet

Developer: Quantic Dream
Genre: Action-Adventure
Available For: Playstation 3
Release Date: US – October 8th/ EU – October 11th

Quantic Dream has a habit of examining the video game as we know it at a cellular level. Founded in 1997 by David Cage, the idiosyncratic French studio specialises in breaking the boundaries of the medium, and has enjoyed a run of successful releases under Sony’s publishing guidance; a run which will include their next project being released exclusively for PlayStation 3. Entitled Beyond: Two Souls, Quantic Dream’s fourth production is bold, intriguing and per usual: visually striking.

Within the studio’s previous games – namely Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain – the bridge between gaming and cinema has never been slimmer. In a sense, their unique approach to storytelling marries the two mediums, and given that Beyond: Two Souls will feature William Dafoe and Ellen Page’s acting in central roles, the studio’s fourth major release won’t be lacking in cinematic quality.

Voiced by Page herself, Jodie Holmes serves as the narrative crux for the game; a troubled teenager with a peculiar connection to a psychic entity called Aiden. The inseparable bond between the corporeal Jodie and the otherworldly Aiden empowers our lead protagonist with telekinesis abilities, and the studio has assured that gamers will have more control over the actual gameplay in comparison to Heavy Rain. Press X to Jodie, maybe?

Hype-O-Meter: 9/10

6) Grand Turismo 6

HKS CT230R Damage 10 Upcoming Games That Prove Theres Life In The Current Gen Consoles Yet

Developer: Polyphony Digital
Genre: Racing Simulator
Available For: Playstation 3
Release Date: US – Q4 2013

While many gamers are familiar with Polyphony’s glacier-like development process, take nothing away from the Gran Turismo franchise. Shipping over 70 million units since 1997, the racing simulator is PlayStation’s most successful series and this holiday season will see the release of the sixth instalment in the lucrative property with Gran Turismo 6.

In 2011, series creator Kazunori Yamauchi confirmed that his studio was busy manufacturing a sixth entry in the series. In saying that, much of the industry figured that Gran Turismo 6 would release in tandem with Sony’s PlaSstation 4 – a mantle that has been passed to Evolution Studio’s DriveClub. From a purely business standpoint, though, Polyphony couldn’t ignore the 70 million install base of the worldwide PS3 community and the studio validated their commitment to Sony’s current console by stating that there was plenty more to exploit from the architecture in the aftermath of Gran Turismo 5.

Mind you, the CEO of Polyphony hasn’t ruled out a PS4 release for Grand Turismo 6 further down the line. Even still, with over 1,200 cars at a player’s disposal and 33 photo-realistic tracks primed for racing, GT6 is set to be the most expansive entry in the series yet. The developing team have laboured in order to refine the physics of the supercharged automobiles, and early impressions of the game have cited a greater sense of weight and realism when meandering around the picture-postcard tracks.

Over the coming months there will be a deluge of racing games each with their own unique take on the genre, but Grand Turismo 6 isn’t concerned so much with what visuals you can see on the screen, for Polyphony, it’s all about perfecting the actual feel of the industry’s most successful racing sim.

Hype-O-Meter: 8/10

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7) Dark Souls 2

Dark Souls 2 10 Upcoming Games That Prove Theres Life In The Current Gen Consoles Yet

Developer: From Software
Genre: Action/RPG
Available For: Playstation 3, Xbox 360 & PC
Release Date: March, 2014

Like a sinister alchemist brewing a vicious and highly addictive recipe, the developing team at From Software have progressively honed their modus operandi with each iteration of the Souls’ series. 2008’s Demon Souls became an instant cult hit with its old school RPG mechanics and unforgiving spikes in difficulty. The game’s success warranted a sequel; a spiritual successor entitled Dark Souls that was received with unanimous approval and proved that its predecessor wasn’t just a flash-in-the-pan moment.

Fans may have been apprehensive back in January whenever the game’s director Tomohiro Shibuya expressed his desire to make the forthcoming sequel more accessible. Fear not, however, as during the E3 presentation for Dark Souls 2, even the studio’s playtester struggled to defeat the demo’s boss – a terrifying monstrosity known as the Mirror Knight.

The studio has also expressed their desire to implement a non-linear feel to the sequel, and have stated that Dark Souls 2 will place a greater emphasis on exploration and gamer freedom – a slight complaint levelled at the original. Allowing players to explore the sinister world at their own pace and, crucially, in their own narrative direction will absolutely shake up the formula – and in turn place a greater significance on seeking help from your friends the internet.

If the gameplay demos are anything to go by, Dark Souls 2 will still retain the Souls’ series reputation as Stockholm syndrome 101 and, quite frankly, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hype-O-Meter: 9/10

8) Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

Castlevania Lords Of Shadow 2 41 10 Upcoming Games That Prove Theres Life In The Current Gen Consoles Yet

Developer: MercurySteam
Genre: Third Person Action/Adventure
Available For: Playstation 3, Xbox 360 & PC
Release Date: Q4, 2013

MercurySteam struck gold with their valiant reboot of the Castlevania franchise in 2010. Entitled Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, the game was released during a turbulent time for the studio, but their devotion to the project paid off in dividends and Lords of Shadow went on to become the most commercially successful iteration in the age-old series. Not only that, it proved that there was a dormant demand for Castlevania franchise just waiting to be awoken.

While the purists were slightly apathetic to the new direction, Lords of Shadow still reinvigorated the franchise from the brink and Konami – acting as the game’s publisher – have duly encouraged the team at MercurySteam to continue to mine the now-prosperous IP. And so, we have Lords of Shadow 2, the studio’s third and final game that acts as a direct continuation of its predecessor’s plotline. Following an introductory prologue, players will take control of Gabriel in the 21st century, after he wakens to find Satan on the cusp of ruling Earth.

What’s reassuring for fans of MercurySteam’s three-tiered story – an arc which includes the 2013 3DS game, too – is that Lords of Shadows 2’s narrative ending is a true closure to the studio’s take on the franchise. An absolute full stop is a rarity for the industry and it’s a comforting sign of the team’s confidence with their production.

What’s more, MercurySteam have also promised that Lord of Shadows 2 will contain a campaign that is far longer than the original; which was no half-measure itself, and is poised to take place within a darkly gothic yet modernised 3D metropolis – a first for the Castlevania series. Though the studio have held true to the franchise’s aesthetic and retained the familiar mix of puzzles and platforming, MercurySteam have invariably stamped their own mark on the franchise, and if you haven’t checked the original out yet, then be sure to do so before Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 lands later this year.

Hype-O-Meter: 7/10

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9) South Park: The Stick of Truth

south park the stick of truth 10 Upcoming Games That Prove Theres Life In The Current Gen Consoles Yet

Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Genre: Comedy, RPG
Available For: Playstation 3, Xbox 360 & PC
Release Date: A tentative Q4, 2013

The financial implosion of THQ left many a project floating helplessly in development limbo, and one of those disenfranchised casualties was Obsidian Entertainment’s no-holds-barred, RPG: South Park: The Stick of Truth. Fully licensed and only a little matured, the studio’s take on the infamously crude television show will mark the fourth time that Cartman & Co. have jumped into gaming’s pixelated world – sparring two Xbox Live arcade titles in 2009 and 2012 – and the production team have assured fans that their patience will be rewarded.

First off, with the series’ godfathers Trey Parker and Matt Stone penning the script and also lending their vocal chords to some characters, this is a South Park game through and through – even the cut-out aesthetic that mirrors the TV show. Though many foresaw the game being ushered into closure – especially considering that Obsidian laid off staff back in March – The Stick of Truth managed to fall gracefully into the experienced hands of Ubisoft, which in turn provided the team at Obsidian with more time to tweak the game’s mechanics and comedic screenplay in equal measures.

For the game, players will tethered to the new kid in town which, after choosing attributes and various other customisation options, will lend a degree of individuality to each experience by bestowing gamers with a series of choices. Choices which will remain under wraps until South Park’s long overdue release.

While the game is penned for release on Playstation 3, Xbox 360 & PC, a spokesperson for the developer proposed the possibility of bringing The Stick of Truth to Wii U and 3DS should the crude RPG be considered a rib-tickling success.

Hype-O-Meter: 7/10

10) Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus

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Developer: Insomniac Games
Genre: Third-Person Platformer
Available For: Playstation 3
Release Date: Holiday, 2013

Worlds colliding and heroes returning. It seems as though Insomniac Games didn’t disappoint. The illustrious studio followed up their serendipitous marketing campaign recently by lifting the lid on Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus – simply entitled Ratchet & Clank: Nexus for Europe. The next instalment in the beloved franchise is coming exclusively to PS3, and one that will serve as an epilogue ‘for the future of the series.’

With a suitably bizarre arsenal at your disposal, Into The Nexus will wisp players away into the dark reaches of space for the titular duo’s next adventure. Although the developers have assured that the heartfelt comedy will return, they’ve also hinted at the upcoming game being the spookiest entry into the beloved franchise yet and Into The Nexus will also host some intuitive zero-g platforming to boot.

Fittingly, there are no plans to implement a multiplayer component into Nexus at this time because, quite frankly, there hasn’t been much of a fanbase demand for it. Full Frontal Assault and All 4 One were tailored – some would argue diluted – in order to add a competitive and family dynamic, respectively, to the franchise. However, Into The Nexus represents the studio’s return to the true-to-form single-player Ratchet & Clank mythology that we know and love.

Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus will be priced at $29.99 and be available at both retail and the Playstation store later this year.

Hype-O-Meter: 8/10

Tell us, which game are you most looking forward to from the list? Indeed, are there any other games that are launching exclusively on current-gen systems in the near future that have grabbed your attention? As always, drop your thoughts in the comments!

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