While it's undeniable that the Xbox One has some flashy exclusives coming out this holiday, and PlayStation seems content with being the console of choice for big multiplatform games like Destiny: The Taken King and Star Wars: Battlefront, the idea that there are no exclusives for the PS4 this holiday just isn't accurate. PlayStation has leveraged the fact that around 40% of PS4 owners didn't own a PS3 to tweak games from other systems into great experiences for a significant portion of their new player base.
If you didn't play the Uncharted games on the PS3, the remastered Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection gives you three games for the price of one, plus access to the Uncharted 4 beta down the road. And yes, it's 1080p and 60fps, but I was more stoked by the fact that the melee combat has been standardized so it's not stupid in the first game. There are also a ton of small flourishes that refresh the experience for returning players, like destructable environmental objects, motion blurring, and rebuilt environments that made levels I knew I'd played four times feel new. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is available October 9.
Media Molecule has also redesigned the PS Vita game Tearaway for the PS4 as Tearaway Unfolded, and it's my favorite game for the PS4 so far. Tearaway Unfolded is a whimsical, imaginative, all-ages game set in a world made of paper. Unlike toys-to-life games that provide undeniably fun, but potentially expensive experiences for kids, Tearaway Unfolded straddles the gap between video game world and the real world through unlockable papercraft projects you can print out and build. It also has a companion app for iOS and Android devices that allows a second player to design things for use in game.
But the truly amazing thing about Tearaway Unfolded is how it uses the unique features of the Dualshock 4 controller. I had no idea the thing did so much! The story, voice acting, and dialogue are also adorable, and it manages to capture the pure wonder of video games that keeps bringing us back to them despite all the cynicism out there these days. Priced at $39.99, it's an absolute steal, especially since most people didn't play the PS Vita version, so it will be brand new to them. Tearaway Unfolded is already in stores.
As is Until Dawn, a walking novel-style "cabin in the woods" Horror game where small, spur-of-the-moment choices can have a butterfly effect and lead to unintended consequences. The game promises that no two experiences will be the same, and it's a good option for those players who want a more story-driven experience. And I personally found it cheesy enough to be fun, instead of butt-clenchingly terrifying until you become numb to jump scares like so many horror games on the market.
Combined, these three games have enough play hours to keep you busy through the holidays, especially with all the third-party stuff that's coming out. It may have been smart for PlayStation to leverage its sizeable lead in console sales to focus on multiplatform releases this holiday, because who knows just how long that lead will last. I know a lot of analysts are projecting a lengthy lead for the PS4, but in the video game industry, the only constant is change. Xbox is going to get a huge bump with Halo 5: Guardians, so there's little sense in PlayStation going head-to-head with that game. 2016 will be a whole new set of conditions, and with Uncharted 4 coming out in March, a new Ratchet and Clank game accompanying a movie, and Morpheus yet to announce a price, I don't think we've yet seen the peak of this era of the console wars.
Images courtesy of Sony Computer Entertainment. PlayStation header image copyright 2015 Metaleater Media.