The Question of Buying New Games for Old Systems

Imgae by Flickr user Maximus Yang (CC)
Image by Flickr user Maximus Yang (CC)

Maybe there’s no question, right? I mean, in the years where  VHS takes overlapped with DVDs and cassettes stood alongside CDs, the newer tech won without question. And here we are now with the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, both of which easily outpace their predecessors in terms of capability and power.

So why would any gamer in her right mind think about buying a current game for anything other than a current system?

 Well, one’s “right mind” is a matter of perspective, I guess. Because this issue is one I face with Rise of the Tomb Raider. I’ve wanted to pick it up for a few weeks now, and at first, getting the Xbox 360 version wasn’t even a consideration. Of course I’d get it for the Xbox One, because why the heck not? Obviously it would do a better job with the game being the more advanced system. The Xbox One would do a much better job rendering the graphics and keeping up with the necessary frames per second in order to make for the best gameplay. It would better display Lara Croft’s massive world of stealth and puzzling and combat. Running the game would simply require less labor on the part of the machine itself.

But…

(My mind reels: There is no “but!” Once again, no question. Why would anyone with a current gen system get a current gen game for a previous gen system??!?)

Looking just at my predicament with Rise of the Tomb Raider, sure I’d like to have the Xbox One version, but I’ve been offered the Xbox 360 version at a considerable discount from a friend. In my house, the Xbox 360 is more regularly accessible as it’s hooked up to a secondary TV. (The Xbox One is connected to our primary TV, which we use for everything from YouTube viewing to The Walking Dead. It’s a very busy television.) I also have something of a sentimental connect to the Xbox 360. We’ve been through a lot together, and I hate to see it ignored. It powered through sizeable series such as Mass Effect and Fable. It met a reckoning with Red Dead Redemption and didn’t question the wackiness of South Park: The Stick of Truth. It’s a good system, and I’ve read that it can handle Rise of the Tomb Raider almost as nicely as the Xbox One. I’m not really one to balk at slow frame rates and imperfect graphics, so the pragmatic, frugal part of my brain says I should really just shut up and take the cheap version of the game while I can. But it remains at odds with the part that insists that I must get with the times. After all, Microsoft has reported that there’s only three more years left in the life of the Xbox 360, so it’s round about time to jump safely off the bandwagon. Why wait until the train is an empty, decaying shell?


As much as I’d like to have Rise of the Tomb Raider, the fact remains that it’s just not a priority right now, so that’s why I’ve not jumped in either direction. But what do you think? For which system should I get it?  If you have both past and current gen systems, what parameters guide you when getting games for them?

13 thoughts on “The Question of Buying New Games for Old Systems”

  1. I’d check the DLC first, and ask if you want that, because for a lot of games, DLC is now missing and unplayable on xbox 360. Take Dragon Age Inquisition or CoD, Dragon Age was worst, all DLC except the best one was available on 360.
    Tomb Raider though, the last one I played on both xbox 360 and xbox one, and couldn’t really tell the difference except for the fact the weather and scenery looked a lot better. It ran the same, and I’ve played Rise of the tomb raider, it doesn’t look much different, doesn’t play much different than the last game. I would just check the DLC is there on 360, because the DLC is freaking awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, I hadn’t thought of that — thanks! I played the first Tomb Raider on the 360, and it looked excellent. No, DLC though, but the game itself was amazing enough. I’m not much of a fan of DLC, but I’ll consider it for the right game…or I’ll just wait for the GOTY edition. 🙂

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      1. I quite like the DLC of what I’ve seen so far, the story was excellent, but it was incredibly short. I bought the game and season pass when it was on offer, think it was £30 for both the game and all DLC. Worth it at that price, but otherwise, I think it was a bit short to pay extra.

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  2. I’d say it would be better to get it for the Xbox One. Your 360 already has a generation’s worth of games in it’s library right? I’d say it’s a matter of starting to build up the same for your Xbox One. Gotta start somewhere right?

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    1. Good point. That’s how it was with collecting DVDs once they came out. Granted, the fact that a lot of the offered special features helped jumpstart things, but the collecting had to start somewhere. Our Xbox One library remains pretty small; the PS4 is the preferred console at the moment, as is Steam. But Rise of the Tomb Raider would look quite nice on the shelf there…

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  3. It’s an interesting though. The only reason I can think of for considering getting on an older system is that the game will be cheaper. It’s also possible that a game can look similar if not better on an older one during the early parts of a consoles life because developers haven’t yet adjusted the tools to work with it. If I’m only slightly interested in a game then I’ll probably go for the cheaper one, but if it’s a major title then I’ll want to get it where I can have the best quality. I had to get The Evil Within on PS3 because it didn’t look as if I’d be able to get a PS4 any time soon. Then soon after I got my hands on a decently priced console. I now wish I’d been patient so I could have The Evil Within on PS4 as its ended up becoming a favourite game. If not for the quality it also feels like it matters so I can feel like I’m getting my money’s worth out of the new console and because I know it’ll be supported for much longer into the future should I have any problems. If I have a choice between lots of different formats then I usually do some research to see where it’ll be the best and weigh that up with the price. I also have weird fixed ideas in my head about certain genres and franchises and where they should be played.

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    1. I actually get what you mean there! For a long time, our PS consoles were used for shooters and action/adventure games, Xbox consoles were used for RPGs and fantasy games, and anything Nintendo was used for platform games. That’s just how it was, and I still think that way about games sometimes. (Like, why would I get Dragon Age: Inquisition on the PS4?? It belongs on the Xbox One!) But I didn’t even think about support for games — that’s a good point. and it kind of ties into the whole DLC thing. As you say, you want to feel like you’re getting you’re money’s worth out of the newer console itself, and the same extends to games. Sure, I can get Rise of the Tomb Raider at a discount, but the developers are much more likely to offer patches, updates, etc. for the Xbox One version because it’s the Xbox One version.

      Yep, Rise of the Tomb Raider on the Xbox One is looking more and more likely…:)

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      1. Seems like reading these comments has helped you to make your mind up. Hehe, Dragon Age belongs on PC for me; Not a console game in my mind. My partner got Just Cause on PC at first and that seemed bizarre because it’s obviously a console game, lol. I think we get use to where we play them first and I had the original Just Cause game on PS2.

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  4. I can’t speak to your specific dilemma here on Tomb Raider, but I have often found myself in a position of having to choose between a readily available game on an “inferior” console and a tougher to procure game on the “superior” console… Psychonauts, Beyond Good and Evil, Fatal Frame, and Grand Theft Auto series on PS2/Xbox are a few examples that spring to mind.

    In general I don’t really care… but those instances when I do opt for the path of greater resistance can end up being pointless fixations. Such is the case with Beyond Good and Evil, which I still don’t own on ANY console thanks to my irrational desire to track down the Xbox version.

    And in the alternative scenario, I got Psychonauts on PS2 (which I’ve heard criticised heavily compared with the Xbox version) and loved it regardless. No, the framerate wasn’t amazing, but when a game is as good as Psychonauts I didn’t care – it didn’t affect the experience. Especially when differences are cosmetic, as opposed to something more fundamental like controls, I’m a lot less inclined to care about that sort of thing. If you know in advance you’re not going to drop hundreds of hours into a game, why bother going the extra mile?

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    1. About the Xbox version of Beyond Good & Evil — is there something about it that makes it more special than the other versions? Just curious as I’d like to add that game to my own collection someday. (Probably the GameCube version.)

      I think what you’re saying comes into play plenty when folks decide, now, between the PS4 and Xbox One versions. As I said in my response to wallcat, for a long time I held on to the notion that some games just “played better” on certain consoles. Now those lines are blurring, but they still hold fast in some regards. Part of me really just wants to use the Xbox 360 as much as I can until it finally kicks the bucket. And I’ve really no idea just how much effort I want to put into Rise of the Tomb Raider. I played through the story of the first one but haven’t been back. So maybe knowing that I’ll only put in 30-40 hours of gameplay into it makes a strong case against getting the Xbox One. Then again…if a gaming library is to be built, as Hatm0nster said, the collecting has to start somewhere.

      It’s an interesting “struggle,” and one that I do enjoy talking through with folks here. Still leaning more towards getting the Xbox One game, but we’ll shall see… 🙂

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      1. As far as I know with Beyond Good and Evil there aren’t any substantive differences, it just looks slightly better on Xbox. Then again the graphical arms race has become somewhat redundant given there’s a HD version on PSN and XBLA!

        Funny, I didn’t think I had this sense of “certain games for certain consoles”, but then I remembered that I don’t play PC games! I just can’t stand the experience of playing on a computer for some reason. It’s weird because I used to do play PC games all the time when I was young but I just can’t stomach it any more.

        Besides my aversion to computer gaming, and the availability of games on a certain console, really controls are the main thing that will sway me to pick one console over another. A good example is Street Fighter: I would much rather play that on the Saturn than any Playstation console for example, because the Saturn controller has a great D-pad and ideal button layout. And for a 2D platformer I’d rather avoid Gamecube and Playstation if I can because they don’t have comfortable D-pads. Or… one more, a real doozy – Super Monkey Ball. The originals on Gamecube are best because of the octagon mold around the analogue stick that lets you lock into the cardinal directions. I can’t imagine how much more difficult and annoying those games would be on PS2 or Xbox where the controllers don’t have that.

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      2. Good point there about the whole controller thing. I can’t play fighting games generally on anything but a PS controller. I’m so used to that button layout that anything else just seems foreign. Probably the only exception to this is Killer Instinct Gold, which I successfully played on the Nintendo 64. Considering that controller, I’ve no idea how I did, but I did. And I doubt I could do so today.

        I’m slowly coming back around to playing PC games after a considerable break. (I used to play them all the time too, and without any second thoughts.) I’m not quite there yet as I’ll still use a controller whenever a PC game allows for it. We’ve been thinking about ways to set up a proper PC gaming station at home, which we don’t really have yet. Maybe once that’s set up, the PC will have a rightful place in my gaming arsenal once again. 🙂

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  5. Reblogged this on Recollections of Play and commented:

    Though we’re well into this generation of “current” consoles with the Xbox One and PS4, the previous console generation with your Xbox 360s and PS3s is not dead…yet. So when it comes to buying a game that’s available on systems both old and new, like Rise of the Tomb Raider, what’s a gamer to do? While it might seem like the obvious choice is to simply get the new game on the new system, the answer isn’t quite as cut and dry. This fair-weather conundrum is one I recently explored in this post on United We Game.

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