Even though the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are now here and the first few games are already out in the wild, the now-current generation still doesn’t feel real for me. I still see games coming out for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and frankly it’s going to be hard to get one of these shiny new consoles for the next few months at least. Then I read Cary’s “Top 5: Personal Last-Gen Memories” post, and I realized that the end of the 8th generation is here. So, allow me to take a page out of Cary’s book and talk about some of my own now last-gen memories.
Just as it was back in 2013, today it’s kind of hard to believe that it’s been 7 years since the launch of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One! I’ve enjoyed so many games on these systems over the past couple of years, that’s it’s honestly a little difficult to pick out the truly stand-out experiences. I’m not sure I’m even remembering this generation as a list of games. Instead, it’s more like a combination of games and the kinds of experiences I got to have with them. (Oh, and I won’t really be talking about Nintendo stuff this time since the Switch still seemingly has a lot of life left it.)
Infamous: Second Son
Infamous: Second Son represents my first foray into the 8th generation of consoles. Honestly, I don’t remember it blowing me away with its visuals or anything, and I don’t think I even wound up liking it all that much. At the time though, it was my first experience with the “future of gaming,” and I was appropriately hyped for it. I dove into that game with all the enthusiasm I could muster, and my friends and I had good couple of weeks where Infamous and PlayStation 4 is all we could talk about. It was an average game, but it had me feeling like the future was bright all the same.
As I’ve said many times before, Transistor is my absolute favorite game of this generation. I love the art work. I love the music. I love how the Transistor narrates the game like some sort of 2nd-person inner-monologue for Red. I absolutely love the combat too! It’s the perfect mix of simple and deep. You can stay on its surface if you want and do just fine, but you can also dig as deeply into it as you desire, finding more and more rewards and tricks as you do. I’ve played many absolutely excellent games this generation, but none of them clicked with me in the same way Transistor did.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
I may not have been as enraptured by Dragon Age: Inquisition as Cary was, but, for a time, I absolutely loved it all the same. I’d loved Dragon Age: Origins when it first came out (and still do!), and I was even a big fan of Dragon Age 2 (and still am!), so I was all ready for Dragon Age: Inquisition to blow me away again. And…it did just that…for a little while.
For me, Dragon Age: Inquisition represents something akin to the end of an era. I think it was the point at which I realized that the game systems and series of my youth were, in a way, well and truly gone. Dragon Age: Inquisition is a great game; one that I want to play again someday! It’s just that it somehow felt like a very different kind of game from the other two, and it (not they) represented the series’ future (if indeed it still has one). So despite liking it, the game is still somehow bittersweet to me.
I suppose, for me, no other game represents this generation more wholly than the Destiny games. The year and a half my friends and I spent in this game was the high watermark of multiplayer fun this time around. The gaming highs Destiny produced, the absolutely wonderful teamwork and rivalries I got to experience in it….I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. I’ve been longing to rebuild what was lost once Destiny 2 came out and my group scattered to the wind, and I’ve even managed to regain a semblance of it with different groups from time to time. It was just never the same though. For all its faults and annoyances, Destiny gave me some truly priceless gaming memories; one’s I’ll certainly treasure for a long time to come!
Persona 5 / Persona 5: Royal
Regarding Persona 5 and its update, I’m not sure what to say about it other than that it’s an absolutely fantastic RPG. The music, the art direction, the combat mechanics…they all work beautifully; even more so in the Persona 5 Royal update. It’s greatest strength though, I think, are its characters. As a rather cynical old gamer, I almost never get pulled into a game to the point where I actually care about the fictional characters inhabiting it.
After all, they’re not real, and their stories have already been written. Why should I care one way or another? And yet, I came to care about what happened to them. I genuinely wanted Ryuji, Ann, Morgana, Yusuke, Makoto, Futaba (and later Kasumi) to get their happy endings and live their best lives unhindered. The update also came at a time when I was living very far away from my home and family, so I was kind of a comfort to have a familiar story and characters to spend (virtual) time with.
These are some of my memories (or perhaps just impressions) from the 8th console generation. There’s still more to enjoy (like Cyberpunk 2077!), but their time is almost over. It’s been a really great run, and I can only hope to have experiences at least on par with these after I transition to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Here’s to another excellent era in gaming!
What are some of your impressions and memories of this generation? What are some of your hopes for the next one?
Image from PlayStation 5 promotion