With autumn well and truly setting in, the biggest event of the gaming calendar is almost upon us. Forget E3, Gamescom and the Tokyo Games Show; they all pale in comparison to what is to come. In just under two months both Microsoft and Sony's next generation systems will finally be making their way into the hands of consumers, and with climbing pre-order numbers and arguably the strongest launch lineups in recent memory, they are going to make quite the splash.
However, before you go trading in your eight year old devices, take a moment to think about the slew of amazing titles for Xbox 360 and PS3 that have yet to be released. From artistic endeavours such as Japan Studio's Rain, to AAA blockbusters like the newly released Grand Theft Auto V, there's still plenty of life in the current gen yet.
Beyond: Two Souls
From developer Quantic Dream – the French studio behind PlayStation 3 exclusive Heavy Rain - comes the interactive psychological thriller, Beyond: Two Souls. Written and directed by David Cage, the game features the hollywood acting talent of Academy Award-nominees Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe.
It's mysterious narrative spans fifteen years, focusing on the extraordinary life of Jodie Holmes, a girl born with an inexplicable link to a supernatural entity known as Aiden. It features a branching, non-linear storyline, and employs state of the art motion capture technology to create digital performances full of genuine human emotion.
Playing as both Jodie and Aiden, the game builds upon the QTE-intensive gameplay of Heavy Rain, solely using the right stick to engage in contextual actions and combat. Whilst playing as Aiden the camera switches to first person and he is manoeuvred using the sixaxis controller. He can fly through matter and psychically interact with the world by blasting objects, possessing humans and channeling visions.
Beyond: Two Souls will take gamers on an emotional rollercoaster from October 11 and is a PlayStation 3 exclusive.
Batman: Arkham Origins
The Caped Crusader returns in the third instalment of the exceedingly popularBatman: Arkham series. Whereas the previous titles were developed by British studio Rocksteady, Arkham Origins is being handled in-house by Warner Bros. Games Montréal.
A prequel to its predecessors, the game follows a younger, less experienced Batman, who has a bounty placed on this head by the crime lord Black Mask. This attracts eight of the world's deadliest assassins – Deadshot, Copperhead and the Joker among them – to a snow-blanketed Gotham City, to put an end to the Dark Knight and claim their reward.
While similar to its forebears, the game features innovative new gadgets such as the Remote Claw – a tether used in both combat and as a means to tightrope walk across chasms – and the Shock Gloves, which allows electric attacks to be blocked, enemies to be stunned and electronics to be disabled. In addition a fast travel system has been implemented and the Bat Computer has been upgraded, allowing theoretical crime scenarios to be analysed and replayed in real time.
Batman: Arkham Origins will be swooping onto shop shelves on October 25, for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Wii U and Xbox 360.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
After a troubled development, hampered by the dissolving of original publisher THQ, South Park: The Stick of Truth is finally being released this December. Developed by Obsidian Entertainment – famous for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II and more recently Fallout: New Vegas – the RPG, now published by Ubisoft, features everyone's favourite characters from the Comedy Central show.
Produced and written by series creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the game casts the player in the role of the new kid in South Park, having you join in with the gang in a live-action role-playing game. In typical RPG fashion, your character is customisable and can choose from one of several class types including the Fighter, Mage, Thief, Cleric and Jew – a paladin/monk class invented by Cartman.
Using 2D visuals that ape the style of the show wonderfully, the game employs typical JRPG turn-based combat. Because the story revolves around children at play, quests consist of comically mundane goals, such as retrieving some Kung Pao chicken from City Wok for Cartman.
South Park: The Stick of Truth will burst onto the scene on December 12 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360.
Dark Souls II
A sequel to the brutally punishing cult-classic developed by From Software, Dark Souls II is the first title in the series not to be directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki. While he is still involved in a supervisory capacity, the follow-up is being helmed by Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura, and is more accessible to newcomers while retaining its core challenge.
Its bleak narrative follows a cursed protagonist who is searching for a remedy to alleviate his torment. Choosing from four classes – the Sorcerer, Warrior, Temple Knight and Dual Swordsman – the player must survive in a grim world, battling monsters and beasts to find the cure they so desperately seek.
While gameplay remains largely the same, the game-world has grown to twice its size, with overhauled enemy AI, allowing foes to react to a wider range of player actions. A slew of new features have also been added such as mid-air reposts, destructible environments and optional bosses that can be circumvented. However, some things never change; you will die a lot!
Dark Souls II will be slashing into stores on March 14, 2014 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Murdered: Soul Suspect
One of the more interesting games slated to arrive in 2014 is Square Enix's action-adventure mystery-title, Murdered: Soul Suspect. Developed by Airtight Games – responsible for last year's first person puzzler Quantum Conundrum – this intriguing project looks to put a paranormal spin on the crime noir genre.
Its ominous narrative centres around Ronan O'Connor, a detective with a dark past, who finds himself at the wrong place at the wrong time. Murdered by a hooded assailant, he is dismayed to find himself trapped in the limbo-like world of Dusk, and that tracking down his mystery killer is his only chance of escape.
Exploring the gothic streets of Salem, Ronan does not have corporeal form, so can't interact with the world in traditional ways. By eavesdropping on conversations, delving into people's minds and even possessing them, he can gain valuable insight into the town and its inhabitants. Other ghosts can be found and their unfinished business resolved; but beware, demonic spirits stalk the land of Dust that threaten to end your ethereal existence.
Murdered: Soul Suspect will materialise at some point in 2014 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360.
These are just five games coming to Xbox 360 and PS3 over the next several months, but don't forget, many games like Battlefield 4 and FIFA 14 are appearing on both current and next gen machines - with the option to upgrade for only £10.
Which games are you most looking forward to and which systems will you be buying them on? Let us know in the comments down below, and for everything gaming-related concerning current gen and the next, stay tuned to GameGrin.