We originally had the idea to make individual guides for each of the major platforms, but after some careful deliberation we decided to make one console guide which includes all the major home consoles and handhelds. As we did with our PC Gamers Holiday Guide, we’ll begin with hardware first, then wrap the package up nicely with some games.
So let’s get started…
In the current gen console ecosystem we have 3 consoles and 2 major handheld systems. These include the PS4, XBOX ONE, WII U, 3DS and the majestic PS VITA. (yup we went there, “PS Vita FTW”). With all of these platforms to choose from, it may seem like a daunting task to decide which one to get, but when you weigh the pros & cons of each platform the choice becomes so much easier.
Immediately, let’s just disregard the Wii U. It’s a platform that has very little with regards to software support. The Wii U only has approximately 300 games available for it, with only 40 or so more expected to be released between now and 2017, most of which can already be found on other platforms. Factor in the fact that Nintendo is releasing a new home console next year, and that it will have ports of Wii U games, and the choice is easy… DON’T BUY A WII U!
OK, that ugly business out of the way let’s talk about our other options beginning with the PS4. The PlayStation 4 is a total BAMF in the gaming ecosystem with more than double the WII U’s library, and that number is expected to double during the next year. What this means for you as a gamer is, games, games and more games! The PlayStation 4 is a Japanese brand so fans of Japanese RPG, and games based on Anime will find the most value out of the platform. This however does not mean that the PS4 is just for Otaku types, oh no. The system also has a huge catalog of shooters, western RPGs, sports titles, family games and so much more. The PS4 is pretty much the jack of all trades in the console world, and we love it. We on The Buttonsmashers editorial team own all of the major platforms mentioned above, and during the past year we have played more PS4 and PC games than any other platform, and this is not to say that we didn’t have the option to play games on the other platforms, it’s just that when given the choice we mostly chose those two platforms, because of their power, optimization and general ease of use.
If you’re getting a PS4 for the first time you’ll have an option between the:
PS4 slim: (Purchase)
PS4 Pro: (Purchase)
You may find the older models of the PS4 in some places, but we’d recommend the redesign over those. If you have a bit of extra cash, or plan of playing PS VR, then you should get the PS4 Pro. Oh, and just a little heads up. The PS VR is a bit hard to find right now, so if that’s your reason for getting a PS4, make sure you can find it at a reasonable price first. We’ve seen it on amazon for $600, and that’s an extra $200 more than the MSRP.
If Japanese games don’t interest you, then the XBOX ONE might be the system for you. It’s pretty much a Windows PC with a crappy interface that primarily plays games. The XBOX ONE is the successor to the XBOX 360, and it supports some of it’s predecessors games too, so if you played on that platform in the past then you may want to continue using that same account. Also, though the interface on the system is unnecessarily complicated, the system does have it’s perks. Two of which are EA Access and Games with Gold. I never thought we’d ever be recommending subscription services like these, but they are both a great value, and unlike PS Plus you retain to access all the games with Gold games you have claimed no matter if your subscription is canceled. It also helps that the games you get with gold and EA access are all really good titles. We’re talking about new triple A titles every month. lastly, It should be noted that if you have PC you will be able to purchase most of the XBOX ONE’s exclusives through the XBOX app, and you can get the third party titles on Steam. So in essence as we mentioned before. The XBOX ONE is just a PC with a crappy interface that is primarily used to play games.
If you’re getting an XBOX ONE we’d recommend getting the:
XBOX ONE S: (Purchase)
The S is a slimmer better XBOX ONE with more features, a better controller, and a little more power. If you’re the kind of person that wants more power then you can hold out for the upcoming code named Scorpio, or just buy a gaming PC.
If home consoles are not your thing, or if you’re the kind of person like us that likes a mix of both home console and handheld gaming, then you’re going to want a PS Vita or a 3DS. We’ll mix the two into one section, because we highly recommend getting both.
The PS Vita is the better of the two in every considerable way except that it hasn’t sold quite as much as the 3DS, and is no longer supported with first party titles by it’s manufacturer. Though the system may seem like it’s at a disadvantage. It is still supported strongly by 3rd party developers, and a very active PS Vita community who support the system in groups like PSVita Village and PS Vita Gamers United!. Both communities celebrate the system, and their members purchase almost every game released for it. I can’t say I’ve seen as dedicated fan base as those for any other system in the past or present.
With the 3DS it’s a slightly different story. It is still supported by its manufacturer, and has more than three times the amount of units sold than the Vita. What this equates to is a larger community, but not as much games. Third party don’t develop as much games for the platform, so this is pretty much an option for fans of games like Pokemon, Zelda and other Nintendo first party titles. The communities for this platform may also be bigger, but they only seem to buy the first party titles and not much of the 3rd party one, which mainly consist of shovelware.
If you’re buying a PS Vita or a 3DS, then you have quite a couple options:
PS Vita 2000: Purchase
Ps Vita 1000 (rare): Purchase
New 3DS: Purchase
New 3DS XL: Purchase
The Vita comes in three flavors. The slimmer more modernized 2000 model, the rare 1000 model with the OLED screen, and the PlayStation TV that is basically a vita that you play on your tele. The 3DS comes in other flavors than the New 3DS and XL, but they do not support all the games, while the new models do, so if you’re getting a 3DS they’re the only way to go.
With the hardware out of the way let’s talk games. The following games are titles that we’ve played over the past year that we believe are a worth picking up either for yourself or as gifts for fellow gamers.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel I & II: PSV & PS3
Xenoblade Chronicles X: Wii U
Nights of Azure: PS4
STORIES: THE PATH OF DESTINIES: PS4
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered: PS4
Stella Glow: 3DS
Yomawari: Night Alone: PSV
Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors: PSV
Loading Human: Chapter 1: PSVR
Review: In progress…
Review: in progress…
Dragon Ball Fusions: 3DS
- Corpse Party: 3DS (review in progress…)
- Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth: PS4 | PSV
- Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse: 3DS
- Picross 3D Round 2: 3DS
- Pokemon Sun/Moon: 3DS (review in progress…)
- Stardew Valley: XBOX ONE | PS4 |Wii U
- Mafia III: XBOX ONE | PS4
- NBA 2k17: XBOX ONE | PS4
- Gears Of War 4: XBOX ONE
- Rise of the Tomb Raider XBOX ONE | PS4
- GRAND KINGDOM: (Review) PSV | PS4
- Gal Gun: Double Piece: (Review) PSV | PS4
Please note that this is not a definitive list of all the great stuff you can get for your Consoles/ handhelds this holiday. These are just our suggestions. As a responsible gamer, it is your responsibility to do your own research to help you decide if any of our suggestions are useful to you.