Playstation 4 Review
The long-awaited release of the Playstation 4 had PS3 enthusiasts in a frenzy of excitement. The PS4 promised more power, better graphics, a superior online offering and a better full-body motion tracking camera.
For the most part, it has delivered on its pledges.
The Playstation 4 is actually the most powerful games console on the entire planet. That’s a good start. More specifically, it exceeds its rival console Xbox One’s graphical power, and boasts over thirty times the memory of Playstation’s previous iteration.
The temptation for consoles nowadays is to focus on “media mojo”, to become the all-in-one TV and Computer for your living room. Yet, as critics have pointed out, this often comes at the expense of your gaming experience. You’ll be happy to hear that PS4 has firmly focussed its efforts on creating gaming bliss.
Indeed, it is a gaming console built by gamers, and for gamers. Performance is everything with the PS4; you’ll hardly ever wait 30 seconds to launch a new title from start-up.
The astonishing performance also manifests itself in the enormous multiplayer games it can handle. If you happen to have 63 other friends who own a PS4 and Battlefield 4, you can wage an epic 64-person battle.
So, the PS4 packs a punch. Yet – you won’t have to pay a pretty penny for it. At $399 in the United States, this console retailed $100 more cheaply than the Xbox One at launch.
Nonetheless, the PS4 does have its drawbacks. Commentators have pointed to the lack of a generation-defining game. That’s almost to be expected though; the PS4 is in its infancy, and games makers are busting their butts to develop “next generation” games. Once this happens, the sterling bit of hardware that is the PS4 will be fully tapped into.
Playstation 4 Features
The Living Room Computer
Perhaps the most important development in the Playstation 4 is its shift towards becoming a “Living Room Computer”.
The Playstation 4 is now more connected than ever. In fact, you can use the “share” button on your DualShock 4 controller to capture your finest gameplay moments. Just been on a Call of Duty killing spree? Why not share the video with your friends via facebook or twitter?
Downloading movies on a Sony product has never been easier either. With its “Video Unlimited” feature, Sony has developed a competing product to Amazon’s Instant and iTunes. Video Unlimited’s functionality is quite similar to these services, as it offers streaming playback of movies and TV in both high definition and standard.
Sony wasn’t content to just compete on the video front. With its “Music Unlimited”, Sony has become a direct competitor to Xbox Music and Spotify. While Music Unlimited requires a subscription fee per month if you’re looking for playback mode with mobile devices, it has an enormous library of artists to justify the paywall. Better still, Music Unlimited is well integrated into PSN’s interface, and you can play your favourite tunes while gaming away.
For those of you that remember playing Ps3’s The Last of US, you might recall starring patiently at your watch, waiting ages for the game to load up.
However, the days of snail-paced loading are over, and PS4 only requires a “one-time install” of each game.
Graphics-wise, the Playstation 4 is undoubtedly a massive step up from Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360. Still, they aren’t mind-blowing. Computers that retail for 2-3 times as much as the PS4 have superior graphics.
Having said that, games released to date haven’t fully taken advantage of PS4’s impressive hardware, and as such, really aren’t truly “next generation”, meaning the graphics we have seen so far are just the tip of the iceberg. The exception to the rule is NBA 2K14. I was particularly impressed by the attention to detail given in the renderings of famous players as well as the crowd itself.
To this point, PS4 really lacks a “must-have title. Indeed, this is to expected – buying a console on its debut is about bragging rights and banking on future prospects rather than instantly securing a library of modern classic video games. In other words, the first cohort of games released really just are props, unambitious in their nature, but good enough to keep the hype strong.
Ps4’s breakout launch title, Resogun, is a perfect example of lacklustre debuts. In essence, this shooter game is little more than a glossy version of the old-school arcade game Defender. To sum the game up, you basically fly around in a cylinder, constrained to two directions in which to shoot. You have a limited number of bombs at your disposal, and can unleash a super attack at will. Simple right? But darn fun!
During the last generation of consoles, Playstation Network (PSN) most certainly played second fiddle to Xbox Live.
In days gone by, Xbox Live Gold sat behind a paywall. However, once you paid your dues, the product you received was exceptional. You would be granted full access to online multiplayer and streaming services, with a robust set of features that made communicating with friends and joining their games a seamless exercise.
By contrast, Sony was kind enough to provide free online multiplayer to its customers. They did offer the option of a premium service, namely PlayStation Plus, but subscription to this service merely gave you digital store discounts and other ancillary perks.
Nowadays, that right to online multiplayer sits behind the pay wall of Playstation Plus. Yet, gamers won’t be too livid as there are a number of new features and benefits of getting membership.
For example, game patches automatically download and install when your console is in standby. Furthermore, Plus also provides 1GB of Cloud storage. This means that given your PSN log-in details, friends can sign-in to your account remotely and pick-up where you left off.
The Playstation Store gives gamers the option of purchasing and installing games digitally. The advantage of doing so is that you avoid the risk of losing or scratching discs. The downside is that your resale value is zero and lending the game out is impossible.
Sony has developed an awesome app for the PlayStation Store. You can actually purchase and download games from any of your mobile devices. So if you’re at school and desperate to play a newly released game before you get home, just click and pay, and it’ll be ready for you by the time the bell rings.