Best Gaming Consoles for 2015
An in-depth look at the top three next-gen gaming consoles.
Article Update: Links added
It’s that time of year again. The holiday season is coming up and you’re thinking about buying one of the three newest gaming consoles on the market. This is never an easy decision. Whether the console is for you, a significant other, or a loved one, you have a big choice to make. But the good news is, we have the answers you are looking for.
Nintendo Wii U
Let’s start with the gaming console that has been out the longest: the Nintendo Wii U. This is Nintendo’s follow-up console to their ever-popular motion-based console, the Nintendo Wii. This one is easily the least popular of the three, but it is also the cheapest as well, coming in at only $299.99.
The Wii U is a different kind of console than the Playstation 4 or the Xbox One, as it is a much more family-friendly choice. Nintendo has always been known for their child-like charm that everyone can enjoy, like a good Pixar movie. The best games on the Wii U are meant to be enjoyed with friends and family in the same room playing along with you. It is by no means the most powerful console or the most fully featured, and there is a lot less focus on online play, but that’s okay. There are amazingly charming games here that you just can’t get anywhere else, such as Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, and Pikmin 3. These three games are must-haves for this console, and all of them can be played with multiple people.
Super Mario 3D World is a platformer involving everyone’s favorite plumber, Mario. The difference in this game from previous Mario games is that this is the first 3D Mario that can be completely played with up to four people. Then there’s Mario Kart 8: a wonderfully fast-paced and frantic kart racing game that takes everything the series has done right and does it better. The amount of fun you’ll have sitting down with the family playing Mario Kart 8 can’t be measured - it’s a blast. Last we have Pikmin 3, an adorable game about controlling a group of alien life forms to solve various puzzles and feed a starving ship crew. As with the previous two games mentioned, this one also has a multiplayer mode which is quite fun.
These are just a few of the best games currently out now, and with Nintendo’s all-star fighting game, Super Smash Bros., coming out later this year, you will have plenty to play. The downside to this console is that a lot of the more “adult” games are not here. You won’t find Call of Duty or Battlefield on this console, but there is still tons of G-rated fun to be had.
Also Read: Best Video Games for 2015
Microsoft Xbox One
Next up, we have the Xbox One, which is Microsoft’s third and most fully-featured gaming console available. The Xbox One is for much more than gaming, it is an entire multimedia controller. This system aims to be the center of your living room with the ability to plug your cable box, speakers, and other devices directly into it. Why is this something you want?
Well, packed in with the Xbox One is a device called Kinect. The Kinect is a motion-sensor camera with voice recognition that allows for a ton of amazing features, one of which is the ability to control your cable through voice commands. The Kinect allows you to change the channel, pause, fast forward, or rewind anything you’re watching (assuming you have DVR) just by telling it to do so. But that’s not the only thing you can do with your voice; you can also turn the console on and navigate everything on the Xbox One without ever having to pick up a controller.
The Xbox One also has an ability called “Snap” which allows you to do two things at once. Want to play Call of Duty while the big football game is on? Just say “Xbox Snap Television” while you’re playing and you can. It’s that simple. Microsoft’s newest console also allows you to organize all your stuff from Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, your cable, and more into one easy-to- use guide called “Oneguide.” The only problem with the Xbox One is that if you do decide to use a controller to navigate, you’re going to find an interface that doesn’t have the most intuitive design, and it takes a little getting used to.
While the Xbox One may want to be the ultimate media controller, it is still very much a gaming machine. The biggest games are all here from Call of Duty to Battlefield to Assassin’s Creed. But is it necessarily the best way to play these games? It comes down to preference between the Xbox One and Playstation 4, but in general, these games tend to have a higher resolution on Sony’s console.
When it comes to exclusive games only available on the Xbox One, Microsoft doesn’t quite have the first-party lineup that Sony and Nintendo have. This isn’t to say they don’t have many exclusive games, they just tend to work with other developers instead of owning different studios. The Xbox One has some great games on it considering it has only been out a year, though a lot of the best tend to be focused on shooting games.
Titanfall is Microsoft’s current big exclusive game for the console. This online shooter puts you in the middle of big battles between giant robotic suits and humans. It’s frantic, intense, and awesome. The other big new shooter this year is Destiny, and it comes from the team that brought you Halo. Destiny is a completely online-only shooter focused on creating a character and collecting different weapons and armor for said character. The entire game can be played cooperatively, and it also has an amazing competitive mode.
For the racing fans, Microsoft also has an incredibly realistic racing game called Forza Motorsports 5. This game allows you to race all the cars of your dreams on all the tracks you ever wanted with amazing detail. But new games are always being released. This year we still have Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Sunset Overdrive, and a lot more to look forward to. This system will run you $500 for a bundle with a Kinect, and $400 for a Kinect-less bundle, but be sure to check out all of the fancy limited-edition consoles that Microsoft is releasing this holiday season. If you’re looking for a gaming console that will fulfill all your multimedia needs, The Xbox One is a great choice.
Sony Playstation 4
Finally we have the Playstation 4, which is currently the most popular of the three consoles, breaking various sales records. Sony’s latest console has a primary focus, and that is gaming. If you are looking for cutting edge graphics and all the latest releases, the Playstation 4 is a hard option to argue with. The console may not be as feature-packed as the Xbox One or have the charming Nintendo games on it, but Sony has an excellent first-party lineup of their own.
One of the best features of this system is its sleek and easy to use interface. It’s so simple to navigate that you will immediately pick up on it. The Playstation 4 also has one of the most impressive features available in a console today: if you have a Playstation Vita (Sony’s newest handheld) you can link it to your console and play your Playstation 4 on your Vita from anywhere with a Wifi connection. It’s truly impressive to have the ability to play your next-gen console from hundreds of miles away while using your Playstation Vita.
Sony’s Playstation 4 really shines when it comes to games. Just like the Xbox One, it has all the biggest games like Battlefield and Call of Duty, but one thing that the Playstation 4 has that the Xbox One or Wii U does not is an amazing baseball game. If you or anyone who will be playing this console are baseball fans, this console might be for you because of Sony’s exclusive baseball game, MLB: The Show, is easily the best around. In fact, it’s the only baseball game around anymore. The Xbox One or Wii U doesn’t currently even have a MLB game. Other sports games like Madden, FIFA, and NBA2k can all be found on both Xbox One and Playstation 4.
Sony’s got some great exclusives on this console as well like The Last of Us - a post-apocalyptic survival horror game with an amazing story and game play, and Infamous: Second Son - an open-world action game where you can run around Seattle with super powers. These are some of the best games around. Destiny is also here too with exclusive content you can only get on the Playstation 4.
The console itself runs for a reasonable $400, and it’s a really great buy. If all you plan on doing with your console is playing video games, Sony’s latest may be the best direction for you.
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All of these gaming consoles have their pros and cons, but they are all amazing machines with the best games around. There isn’t a wrong choice to be made here, just the best choice that suits you or your loved one’s specific needs. The holidays are a fun time for gamers, and anyone who receives one of these consoles is sure to have a blast with it.