The holidays are here, and there’s a good chance many of you will end up with either an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 under the tree on Christmas morning. We’ll be taking a look at both in the coming days, but for now, we’d like to settle on Microsoft’s next-gen console and the burning question on everyone’s mind.

Which Is Better: XBox One Or Playstation 4?

Or, is this orange better than this banana? The truth is, though graphics are better and yes, there are games you can only get for each, you aren’t missing a whole lot by not upgrading. Yet. You’d think so, given these upgrades were about eight years in the making, but nope. Neither system is really that mindblowing.

Many may disagree with me, but here’s the breakdown:

The biggest difference you will find in the consoles in terms of the tech is the RAM. PS4 uses GDDR5, and Xbox One uses DDR3. If you don’t speak dork, DDR3 is slower. Slower isn’t necessarily bad, though. Because, well, DDR3 provides faster latency and GDDR5 offers faster data transfer.

In this case going by price will shoot you in the foot, as will going by tech, and social. Honestly? Not enough difference to matter in any of those. Yes, the Xbox One is about a hundred bucks more, but honestly, when it comes to buying gaming consoles, a hundred dollar difference doesn’t matter too much. Particularly when you consider the titles for the Xbox One are much, much better, so far.

Let’s take a look at the best of Microsoft’s existing offerings, bearing in mind there are more great games to come as well as competition from Sony when PS4 finally puts it all together. Now we begin.

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Call of Duty: Ghosts

The storyline behind Call Of Duty: Ghosts is really good. I definitely enjoy the Call of Duty line, but a lot of the story seems disjointed. This franchise is just so entertaining that it didn’t really matter a whole lot. But if story is your thing, and you were put off by the original Call of Duty line, you might give Ghosts a try. The game’s single player is a little short on play time, but really, the big reason anyone plays any Call of Duty game is multiplayer. Of course, there’s Deathmatch and FFA, similar enough to make the purists stop whining and you can also play in Infected mode.

It isn’t just a change in story, though. If that’s all it were, I’m sure it’d still be pretty cool- but what sets this apart from the original is in the objective based gaming. I personally do not care a whole lot for playing with pick up groups because well, I enjoy winning. However, when you play with people you know and you’re not distracted, they’re not distracted: Dominion and Blitz, Search and Destroy-Rescue modes are just awesome. The Kill Confirmed and Cranked modes are also fun, but Cranked can be a bit cheesy. Ghosts also brings avatar customization to a new level, with just a ton of loadout options and weapons, as well as an introduction to the female body type.

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Killer Instinct

You cannot go wrong with a classic. Those of us who remember the original Killer Instinct would hail it as quite possibly, the best of the button masher combo crazy fighting games. We’d also appreciate it very much if you did not remind us that the original is now nearly 20 years old, thank you very much.

I know what you’re thinking, Killer Instinct? Really?

Yes, really. This is an awesome game: and not solely on the basis of nostalgia.

The launch game is actually season one. This gives you 6 characters with 3 modes of play, online play modes that offer both exhibition and ranked games. However, next month, (January 2014) they’ll be releasing a new character, Spinal, with Fulgore and adding the story mode in March.

If you got Shadow Jago by way of the day one Xbox Live subscription card, you also get to play every mode in the launch using Jago, for free. Your $20.00 subscription provides the initial characters plus that story mode but you can also buy individual characters for $5 a pop, which sounds really sucky. I will be the first to admit that the idea of paying for new characters rather than unlocking them is stupid. The game’s developers anticipate a total of 30 characters, so that’s around a $150 cash grab.

Particularly obnoxious is the fact you have to unlock things using KillerPoints and you still have to complete certain tasks to do so. Still, I can’t quit you, Killer Instinct, because your game-play is simply amazing. It’s one of those things where you feel dirty for going along with what seems so wrong, but the game’s fighting mechanics and graphics are top-notch and wildly entertaining, and yes, I won’t lie, nostalgia still holds some sway.

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Dead Rising 3

This game is pure zombie camp at its absolute finest. It’s an over-the-top, hack-and-slash that definitely sates the gore hungry. It’s not a whole lot different from the other Dead Rising games that came before it — this is Capcom, after all, and they do have their comfortingly consistent formulas. Basically, you’re trying to survive in a zombie outbreak, but unlike a lot of other games with a similar premise, you use pretty much everything and not just the standard weapons of choice. Sure, there are guns and chainsaws. Those are old standbys and no zombie hack-and-slash would be complete without ‘em.

But there’s also a katana, which may seem a bit out of place, but c’mon, if it’s a zombie outbreak, you’ll use whatever’s at your disposal. Some of that “at your disposal” consists of cinder blocks, golf clubs, and teddy bears. Explosive teddy bear bombs of doom, that is! And if that doesn’t seem over-the-top enough, just make some of your own weapons. For instance:

It slices, it dices, and it’ll even clean up the kids’ messes: you can build a vacuum with saw blades in it, then suck ‘em up and make a few zombie smoothies.

This is a third person game and it has a handful of modes, including Nightmare and co-op. Word to the wise, Nightmare is. It’s a lot of fun, and definitely a challenge. Another feature is the use of Xbox SmartGlass. What this does is it enables you to use your tablet (or smartphone) as another screen so that you can do more. I thought this was a little distracting, but at the same time, some of the missions that you can only do that way are just amazing. Using the Kinect sensor, you can also voice navigate the menu, yell at the zombies and then some. Again, more of a novel distraction, but still pretty cool.

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Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4 has a lot to offer. It’s a first person shooter that offers rich environments, a huge array of vehicles, and plenty of carnage and destruction.

Battlefield 4 brings more to the table than the others in a way that is both challenging and frustrating. The two 32-player team set up is a bit hard to deal with, particularly as the environmental conditions are continually evolving. It can seem a bit overwhelming, and requires that you think on the fly.

The Frostbite 3 game engine is definitely kicking some serious butt with audio, visual, and character animations that are second-to-none. For the most part, it’s still pretty close to Battlefield 3, but counter kills have been beefed up, and the map design just about blew my mind. The Obliteration maps, with their water hazard-from-hell style of gaming make things interesting, challenging, and only sometimes controller-flinging-frustrating.

There is a lot more I could say about this game, but I’m still working on it. Still, what I’ve experienced thus far has made it an excellent addition to my collection. While it isn’t free of cliche war game high points, its squad commands, heavily improved single player mode, visually diverse settings, and new challenges, more than make up for it.

Summary
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Xbox One: How It Stacks Up, And Its Most Launchworthy Games
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