The release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S has us thinking back to the console launch line-ups of yesteryear.
Games at the start of a generation can be notoriously buggy and unstable, be just glorified tech demos built to show off the new hardware, or genuine, fleshed-out experiences which galvanise the console’s place in the gaming history books.
It’s the latter we’ve been looking for; those games which really stand out as iconic, generation-defining moments. What title would you choose? Do you ever buy new consoles at launch? Let us know in the comments.
Reliving the Battle of Endor was one of Rogue Leader's many standout moments.
James | The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild | Nintendo Switch
When this topic came up, I was first pouring over lists of games from some of the great turning points in my gaming career – original DualShock PlayStation (first console launch), Xbox One (first Xbox at launch) – when it occurred to me I was neglecting the most unique console experience of them all – the Nintendo Switch.
The console wasn’t blessed with the widest variety of games on day one, and 1,2 Switch really falls into that glorified tech demo camp, so the only real choice is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Since my track record with Zelda as a series is dire (in short: played Ocarina of Time a bit, played The Wind Waker less and haven’t completed any since A Link to the Past on the Game Boy), I was determined to really throw myself into it, and, as my glowing review hopefully would suggest, I rather enjoyed it.
Something about the freedom and scale of the game’s world, as well as the accessibility of its combat and puzzles, really clicked and I spent countless hours hitting as many shrines as possible. It really captured the potential of what this new console could do. Whether we’ll see the in-development sequel before the next Nintendo console remains to be seen.
"I'm going on an adventure!"
Sam | Demon’s Souls | PlayStation 5
While I had access to various games consoles throughout my childhood, it wasn't until the launch of the Xbox 360, just after starting high school, that I got my very own console at launch. King Kong and Perfect Dark didn’t make for the best hardware showcase, so, though they hold a special place in my heart, I need to look further into the future.
On paper, the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S launch line-ups were pretty underwhelming. Having now spent a decent chunk of time with them, however, there’s a lot to love. Gears Tactics has been my recent Xbox addiction, launching alongside the new Microsoft consoles and included with Game Pass from day one.
As much as I love Gears of War (and Xbox in general), PS5 games like Demon’s Souls and Spider-Man: Miles Morales are on the next level. The former in particular, which is why it takes my pick.
Visually and technically it’s outstanding - just as you’d hope for from a next-gen launch title - though it doesn’t fall into the common “style over substance” trap. While it does utilise some non-standard (yet) elements of the new DualSense controller, rather than feeling like gimmicks, they genuinely aid immersion. Demon’s Souls is a fantastic experience in and of itself, which, within the context of a console launch game, is all too rare.
Demon's Souls does look very impressive (unless you suffer from arachnophobia).
What was your favourite launch game? Let us know below or in the forums.