When a new generation of videogame consoles are released, it used to surprise me. It used to amaze me. I was blown away. The games looked much better than anything we had seen before. The price point of upgrading to the "next generation" seemed worth it.
The differences have always been pretty easy to appreciate. NES to SNES to N64 to GameCube. While Nintendo took a different route with their next system, the Wii, the tech race continued with the Xbox 360 and PS3. Both of those systems had another sizable increase in graphics from the previous console generation. When I saw a demo of "Kameo Elements of Power" being run on the Xbox 360, I was very impressed. The camera zoomed out and I saw hundreds, maybe more than a thousand orcs on the screen. My jaw hit the floor, next gen had arrived.
While the graphics in Kameo still hold up today, and I'd recommend it to anyone who owns an Xbox 360 and hasn't tried it, games that look far better have come out since. With the release of the three (now) current generation consoles, I'm left unimpressed. Maybe it's diminishing returns, maybe it's the fact that I've had a really good gaming PC for a while, I'm not sure. Nintendo have made a significant step up over their last system, which admittedly isn't a huge accomplishment, but the other two haven't. At least, I don't feel like they have.
The game that really cemented that idea in my head is Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition. It's made to sound like some extra, super awesome edition. What it is, basically, is a slightly tweaked PC port. A game we got a year ago, finally looking almost as good as it did on PC but on Xbox One and PS4. Is this what "next gen" means now for consoles? What you got on PC two or three years ago? Is that all we can expect on modern videogame machines?
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm sure both of those consoles will get enough interesting exclusives to warrant purchasing eventually, I'm just disappointed that the graphical leap doesn't seem as large as it has in console generations past. I'm not trying to bash on the new systems, either. I think it's pretty likely that I'll end up getting a PS4 at some point. I guess it was inevitable that consoles would stop being able to surpass a modern PC at launch. What do you think?