Playstation 4 Impressions – Does Greatness Actually Await?

Today I’m not going to give a full review because I simply haven’t had enough time with the console yet. However, I feel like it would be a waste to simply review one of the arcade-style games that launched with the system. The Playstation 4 is Sony’s latest foray into the console industry. Having no shortage of goodwill from E3, the PS4 has been getting some hits recently in light of several launch game cancellations such as Drive Club and Watch Dogs. This is even ignoring the vast amount of negative user scores and attacks brought on by Xbox One fans (because console wars are stupid). Despite these things, Sony has launched an impressive piece of hardware with enough games to keep even the most obsessive gamer busy for months.

You have no idea how small this is in real life.

You have no idea how small this is in real life.

The User Interface is far beyond that used on the PS3. The home screen is primarily separated into two tool bars. Defaultly, you’ll be on the lower one, which houses downloadable games, services such as Netflix and other applications. The upper tool bar houses more business-oriented stuff like trophies, friends lists, and the PSN. By separating these two function to two horizontal tool bars, it makes it much faster to switch between services intend of being forced to scroll through what can seem like endless menus. For each application, there are further options available simply by pressing down when highlighting it. For games, this will allow you to see videos, updates, the manual and so forth. It is organized exactly the same way as it has been on the PSN for awhile now, so everything is very familiar.

Poor Knack - good for kids and not much else.

Poor Knack – good for kids and not much else.

It is worth noting that the awful PSN interface that exists on the PS3 has been carried over to the PS4. Unfortunately, it is still very poorly organized and difficult to simply browse if you’re not sure exactly what you want. On the plus side, the PS4 is so much faster than the PS3 that this is hardly a concern as you can move around without stuttering all the time like on the other system. In fact, everything is faster. Downloading games from the PSN takes mere minutes where hours would have passed on the PS3. Every game, even retail, now requires a hefty installation, but, once again, the speed of the PS4 makes this all a tiny formality. A 50GB install can take you as little as ten minutes even if you have a weak connection like me.

Do you like giant pictures that obscure the more interesting content? Then you'll love the PSN.

Do you like giant pictures that obscure the more interesting content? Then you’ll love the PSN.

The Dual Shock 4 controller has been getting almost universal praise, and I’m here to join the chorus. It is easily the best controller I’ve ever used. While it may look similar enough to the Dual Shock 3, there couldn’t me more of a difference. The most immediate difference is the heft. There is a real weight to the controller, which, along with its slightly larger size, makes it feel better and less cheap in your hands than the DS3. The R2 and L2 buttons have gotten a complete overhaul, one that was sorely needed. Now these buttons work as real triggers instead of wobbly, insecure buttons. The analogue sticks are now concave and stiffer, which gives them more precision. The only thing I can’t really get behind at this point is the culling of the start and select button. The option button is in an awkward position, as is the home button, so there isn’t a really easy way to pause your game. Since I haven’t used the share button yet, I can’t really comment on that. Finally there’s the touch pad. It works for swiping, which gives you essentially four new hotkeys. Anything beyond that, however, I doubt will be any good.

It's something you need to hold in your hands to understand how great it is.

It’s something you need to hold in your hands to understand how great it is.

The launch lineup, seemingly the woes of all gamers, is actually very strong. Killzone Shadowfall has been getting middling reviews, and Knack straight out bad ones, but both do a good job of showcasing the hardware. However, the real meat of the PS4 offerings right now won’t cost you a dime. From my personal experience, there is a lot to love about Resogun, Contrast, and Warframe (though the last one is available on PCs). Ignoring exclusives, there is an equally impressive number of multiplatform games at the PS4 gamer’s finger tips. Shooters are pretty much covered with Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty Ghosts. While Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, Injustice, Lego Marvel, DC Universe Online, and several others fill in the gaps. What we have is an extremely varied launch with games that are likely to appeal to almost every kind of gamer.

For some reason, many gamers don't give arcade-style or indie games any credit, even if many of them are better than retail experiences.

For some reason, many gamers don’t give arcade-style or indie games any credit, even if many of them are better than retail experiences. 

I have yet to try remote play out, or, as I mentioned before, the sharing service so I can’t really comment on either. However, from initial reports, it seems like remote play works well, though only on the same wifi network, which was to be expected. Sharing on the other hand, I haven’t heard anything about yet. Pressing the share button does immediately take you to the sharing menu, and you can post a screenshot on the social network of your choice with the same ease as on the Wii U, but video recording requires a twitch account. Speaking of social media integration, for those of you who were afraid that the PS4 would put social media before games, you will be happy to know that it’s very easy to not notice any social media features. They’re there, but never in the way of the core gaming experience.

Reports from acquaintances says it works, which means I lost a bet.

Reports from acquaintances says it works, which means I lost a bet.

To the general question as to whether the PS4 is worth buying at this very moment, I would have to say a qualified yes. If you’ve already exhausted the multiplatform titles, or simply have no interest in what’s available, then you shouldn’t pick it up. However, the PS4’s launch is one of the strongest I’ve seen like the Xbox One is to be next week. And if you’re worried about not having any games or things to do on the machine, I’d take another look. There is a ton of content on it, and pretty much everything has been streamlined, or otherwise enhanced from the last generation.

– Mistranslation for the Modern Gamer


2 thoughts on “Playstation 4 Impressions – Does Greatness Actually Await?

  1. Thus far it’s everything I’ve expected and more. I don’t own one myself yet but I get to sit next to one and drool at it while it seamlessly functions, which is good enough for me.

    • At this point, I’m truly shocked with the quantity of games on the system. I fell into that trap of only looking at exclusives. However, now that I have it, I’ve spent a ton of time with three of the five free games that you can download. Compared to pretty much every launch I’ve been a part of, the PS4 has probably the most content.

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