Gamers know that the graphics aren’t everything and the gameplay is what matters, but we’d all be lying to ourselves if we said we didn’t want a new console to amaze us with its visuals. With so many upcoming games being released both on current and next-gen consoles, it is often a confusing time with publishers showing footage from both versions. Here are just a few titles and what footage I believe we’ve seen so far:
Battlefield 4 – Next gen. I don’t think they’ve shown any current gen footage yet, either single or multiplayer.
Watch Dogs – Next gen. With the possible exception of that dodgy video a few weeks ago that hasn’t been addressed by Ubisoft.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Until the stealth walkthrough below, I don’t think the version had been directly referred to. Here they specifically state it is next gen. AC has always been the best looking game around though, so it would always have been hard to tell on YouTube.
Madden NFL 25 – Aside from non-gameplay footage at E3, I believe we’ve only seen current-gen on this one.
FIFA 14 – The same as Madden.
TitanFall – A big one for the Xbox and they want to show it off. All next-gen footage here.
And what impression have the next-gen visuals left? Shock and awe? I remember Fight Night 3 was the first time I laid eyes on Xbox 360 footage and I was amazed. I don’t think we’ve quite had that jump this time, but the likes of Battlefield 4, Watch Dogs and The Division are still jawdropping.
While Call of Duty Ghosts will no doubt look great, I think we will have to wait for their first real next-gen effort in 2014 to properly judge.
What I’ve noticed about the visuals I’ve seen so far is how much more natural everything appears. The movements of the characters in Tom Clancy’s The Division – from walking up steps, moving into cover, shutting a car door and they slide past it – it is all perfectly natural looking and super smooth. The same can be said for the protagonist in Watch Dogs and all the AI around him.
Because developers pushed the current consoles so far and we saw the likes of the Frostbite 2 engine in action – the sights and sounds of the Xbox One and PS4 will not be so surprising (at least not in the first year or so), but I think the overall production value of games will be vastly improved, with every detail polished and rendered perfectly. There are great sights ahead.