This fall is going to be awfully interesting…and that's one hell of an understatement. ­čśë

At least now it's more of a contest

Now that Microsoft has ditched its ridiculous policies concerning used games and the "24-hour check-in," the next-generation console war is now a lot closer.

However, it's interesting to note that the bitterness Microsoft instilled in many gamers has remained, at least in some capacity. Many, including myself, have no intention of buying the Xbox One because we believe that MS has already tipped their hand; we know what they're all about, and we're not interested in giving them our money. At the same time, this country has always been hugely pro-Xbox. The casual gamers vastly outnumber the hardcore and as we all know, the casual flock to Microsoft. That's why Michael Pachter says initial sales of the PS4 and Xbox will be just about even .

But as far as I'm concerned, that's still a big win for Sony. Pachter is referring to this country; globally, the PS4 probably would've outsold the Xbox One without this whole fiasco. It's really only in the US Microsoft can hope to have a significant lead. And if Pachter is only predicting an even keel for this country…well, then Microsoft has lost tremendous market share. Remember, the Xbox 360 has outsold the PS3 in the US for 29 straight months to date. And if Sony has found a way to draw even right off the bat, that's pretty darn impressive.

Make sure to pre-order the PS4 if you haven't already!

Wait…The Last Of Us was going to be bigger?!

Naughty Dog says their latest masterpiece was supposed to be a much bigger game . They had to cut quite a bit, including the idea of allowing a another AI partner (a dog) to join Joel and Ellie. That was hardly the only original idea that didn't make the cut due to time constraints. I find that amazing . I really do. In an industry where 8-10 hour single-player adventures are the norm, to have what amounts to about a 20-hour game (I'd say on average, depending on if you really take your time) is pretty special. I actually think this is the longest non-RPG I've played in a while . In fact, can anyone recall a game with a longer campaign this entire generation? One that doesn't qualify as role-playing? I can't.

I can only imagine what The Last Of Us would've been like had Naughty Dog been able to deliver their full vision. I mean, it's epic now . Then again, in some ways, I'm happy it didn't get that far. There's a fine line to walk in game development: As great as something can be, adding more elements and mechanics is just begging for trouble. With every new one, the chances of a flaw popping up increases. Naughty Dog doesn't really do "flaws." And as talented as that team is, if The Last Of Us got too cluttered, I think there would've been ample potential for screw-ups. Then again, if everything had been as fantastic as what we see here…well…damn.

Personal gaming update

I really am attempting to savor The Last Of Us , especially because there isn't much on the immediate horizon that I want to play. Time and Eternity is worth looking into if you're a JRPG fan (review coming soon), but other than that, I'm not really playing much. When I've got some spare time to kill, I usually relax with Journey , echochrome or Rock Band Blitz . Got 20 five golden star ratings in the latter, by the way. ­čśë I'm also considering trading in my Xbox 360 and all its games to make way for the PS4. Thing is, I have zero intention of going back to play any of my 360 games and I'm afraid the system would just gather dust. There certainly aren't any 360 titles coming out that I want in the future, either.

I am hoping we get a date for Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD some time soon. If it manages to come out later this year, that could be a huge problem. I'll have all these next-gen games I'll want to play and yet, there's FFX in beautiful high-def, just beckoning…

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