What's the last game that felt truly next-gen to you?

PCG Evan

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Dec 9, 2019
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Here's another regular Weekend Question - answer in this post today, and your answers could appear this weekend as part of our larger discussion! Inspired by Cyberpunk, when's the last time a game felt truly "next-gen" to you, whatever that might mean to you personally?

I want to leave this open-ended in terms of what our individual definitions of next-gen are, but: what's a gaming experience that changed your sense of what was possible - technologically or otherwise?
Nov 18, 2020
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Half Life Alyx. I remember the moment too lol. I was looking through boxes on shelves with the Index controllers and was suddenly hit by the realization that I am in the middle of my room looking through virtual shelves for ammo and it felt so "next-gen" to me lol.
Recently it would be Destiny 2 when it launched for PC. Back then i had just gotten an ultrawide monitor that i wanted to pair with my also new 1080ti, i hadn't used one personally before that either. I had no plans to play D2 and i missed D1 but a friend had gifted me the game after his brother didnt want the copy he had boughten him. I was just blown away by its design, from the planets to the enemies to the guns, the music was great and the gunplay was perfect to me, i was a fan of halo already and missed out on D1 since it was a console exclusive. Seeing all of this on a new ultrawide at over 100+ fps was the cherry on the top.
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Its a long time for me. Improvements to graphics and gameplay mechanics I feel have been incremental for a long time rather then the huge leap I'd describe as next generation.

Fallout 3 in 2008. I didnt particularly enjoy the game in the end but the sheer size and detail of the world was stunning. I played a game I didnt really like for dozens of hours because the world was so huge. Same with Skyrim except it was even more beautiful.

Warhammer 40K Dawn of War in 2004 being amazed by the unit animations, partcularly the Dreadnought spinning and picking up smaller models and smashing them around. That was a massive leap from the basic hit/shoot animations of Warcaft and C&C games.

In Deadspace when they incorporated elements of the UI into an in game augmented reality overlay....

So yea 10-15 years ago :D I don't have VR yet though, and theres not time in my life to play everything so I probably missed a lot.
Nov 15, 2020
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Half-Life 2 for me was quite a revelation when it launched back in 2004, as was the then-nascent Steam delivery system that has now become the industry behemoth that it is. But the game truly felt unlike anything I'd played till then. Right from the opening moments, it conveyed a sense of bleak realism like no other game till then had, simply in how believable it was. If you watched 1984, there was a real sense of deja vu unlike anything experienced in games prior to it.

Then came the physics. At a time when merely having objects move in a scene was a big deal, this game made it part of the gameplay itself. The fluidity and ease of implementation of the gravity gun still stands out as one of the most memorable aspects of the game when I think about it today. This was most apparent in the freaky Ravenholm level, where using objects to your advantage won half the battles.
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May 3, 2020
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Well, TLOU2 felt really from another gen to me, the perfection of the motion capture, the AAA sequences....it was a clear candidate for the GOTY for sure, like GOW years before on ps4 too


Dec 12, 2020
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SNES Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Tomb Raider

Most games these days dont really compare to them in graphics quality or in originality. Sure frame rate, yada yada, but nothing ive seen in store or magazine reviews ever made me want to get a copy. Or a system to play it on.
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First one was the original Prince of Persia around '90, first time I saw a human figure somewhat realistically animated.

Wolfenstein 3D in '92 was another step for me, first 3D game I played.

Next was Command & Conquer in '95. That dropped my jaw, and confirmed gaming was going to take over as my main entertainment medium.

2004 was a great year for FPS for me—I hadn't been much of a fan before.
Half Life 2 was awe inspiring, very different to anything before. I still recall the Ravenholm and Bridge scenes, wonderfully atmospheric.
Far Cry was my intro to open world sub-genre, and delighted me with the freedom of choice—something I now require in a FPS.

2007 saw a minor 'next gen' experience with Supreme Commander—first game I played which used two monitors, and I believe also the last as sadly that feature didn't catch on in the mainstream. SC also had a great new zoom feature from world overview down to individual unit.

Honorable mentions:
Portal 2007, very unique;
Deus Ex 2000, so stylish and a combo of genres which should have been a mess but was instead a masterpiece;
The Talos Principle 2014, mixing scifi puzzles with a philosophical backstory for the most compelling puzzle game.
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