What’s Left for the PS3 and Xbox 360?
With the media’s focus shifting to the upcoming next gen, those of us not quite ready to jump into the next era might be wondering what’s left for our aging Xbox 360’s and PS3’s. After all, Sony’s PS2 lasted a solid 12 years, and Microsoft claims to be continuing support for the 360 through at least 2017.
Whether Sony and Microsoft stick to their projected support plans for the PS3 and 360 is yet to be seen, but there are quite a few high profile games coming our way in the next 6 months, many of which won’t be making the leap to the PS4 or Xbox One. There are a few titles in here that will have me protectively hugging my current gen consoles for just a bit longer, and ensures that I’ll still be turning them on in coming months.
[The following American release dates are currently being reported, but are subject to change…as they so often do.]
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (Xbox 360, PS3 – February 11, 2014)
The conclusion to the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy sees Lightning awakening from a self imposed hibernation to once again save the people of her world. Confined to only 13 days, this game looks like it will be employing some interesting time warping elements reminiscent of the Chrono series or Radiant Historia. Gameplay has been streamlined with Lightning as the only party member during battle, switching outfits to change her capabilities. Final Fantasy XIII-2 was a big improvement over the original, so hopefully Square Enix is able to keep that momentum going through the finale.
Thief (Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4, PC – February 25, 2014)
Thief as a series has probably flown under a lot of people’s radars, but the fourth entry looks like it might garner quite a bit more attention than its predecessors. The first person stealth action in Thief will blend a methodical pace of play with frantic escapes and outrunning your pursuers. A new parkour type system for traversing the steampunk-styled city is also being implemented to give players a quick way of breaking and entering. I’d definitely recommend giving the trailer a watch; this one looks like it’ll be a lot of fun.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC – February 25, 2014)
Considered a reboot of the classic Castlevania series, the original Lords of Shadow was received quite well back when it debuted in 2010. The sequel set to release in coming months continues the story of Gabriel Belmont as he combats evil both within himself and in the external world. Lords of Shadow 2 promises to incorporate an open world method for progression, since the developers felt the original was too linear. Konami and Mercurysteam team members have begun uploading dev diaries to comment on progress and changes coming to the series, although they may contain spoilers, so watchers beware.
Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z (Xbox 360, PS3, PC – March 4, 2014)
The cringe-worthy trailer we got for Yaiba about a month ago didn’t sit too well with a lot of people, but if you’re able to look past the title character’s attitude, the gameplay looks excellent. Beautiful cel-shaded graphics pair well with the comic book art direction, and look like they’ll add to the smooth combo system we’ve become accustomed to in recent Gaiden games.
South Park: The Stick of Truth (Xbox 360, PS3, PC – March 4, 2014)
The Stick of Truth has seen its fair share of troubles, including delays and near cancellation due to THQ being shutdown. Luckily Ubisoft saved the project and will be bringing Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s RPG to fruition in early 2014. The gameplay that we’ve seen has received mostly positive feedback thus far, and with show creators Parker and Stone providing the script and voicing talents the story will surely be enjoyable for fans.
Dark Souls II (Xbox 360, PS3, PC – March 11, 2014)
The much-anticipated sequel to one of gaming’s most masochistic franchises, Dark Souls II has just entered beta phases to test the dedicated multiplayer servers. Hands-on previews of the game have revealed that the difficulty has been toned down slightly to be more accessible, but might still be viewed as unforgiving to series newbies. From Software are playing their cards pretty close to the vest on this one, but more details should become available as March approaches and the beta proceeds.
It seems the PS3 and Xbox 360 haven’t sung their swan songs quite yet, with quite a few other titles slated for release in coming months — of note, Destiny and Titanfall. The question is whether developers and publishers will continue pushing their content to older consoles over the next 3 years as Sony and Microsoft claim, or choose to focus primarily on the PS4 and Xbox One. What do you think? Did I miss any other noteworthy titles or others that might slip in unnoticed? Let me know down in the comments!