It’s been exactly one week since the release of Sony’s PS4. Since 4 out of 5 Gamer Horizon crew members got one, we decided to talk about where we are after having Sony’s salvo for next gen gaming in our entertainment centers.
I’ve played exactly one PlayStation 4 game so far, and I happened to have played it enough to earn a platinum trophy. That game is Resogun, an arcade style shoot ‘em up that could have been on a last gen console, albeit with fewer special effects. Still, it was plenty of fun, and it allowed me to get used to the system and the controller.
The controller is fantastic. I love the feel of the analogue sticks and that they are not so close together like in previous Dualshock controllers. They are also easier to grip, and can be used for some very precise control, which was helpful in Resogun. Regarding the buttons, I’m still getting used to the placement of the Options and Share buttons, as the positions of Select and Start buttons on older controllers seems impossible to unlearn. I haven’t had a chance to use the touch pad for anything yet, so I’m looking forward to playing a game that makes use of it in the near future.
As for the system itself, its user interface is something that still needs a bit of work. I’d like to see more “quality of life” features added, especially for organizing all of my apps. A way to create folders or categories and to manually organize apps would be nice. I’m also really looking forward to being able to suspend and resume apps in an instant like on the Vita, something that is supposedly coming to PlayStation 4 in the future. We’ll have to wait and see if that pans out. But those minor complaints aside, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve experienced so far of the PlayStation 4.
I got my PS4 Saturday November 16, a day after launch and immediately hooked it up to my TV. I heard about all the issues people were having connecting to the PlayStation Network and hoped that wouldn’t happen to me. Well, it didn’t. I had no problem installing the day 1 update and getting on to PSN. I sat through that little instructional video for the camera because I had no choice and when that was over, I started downloading and playing games.
I have to say, the PS4 is a really nice looking console. It’s thin and extremely quiet. The new interface looks really nice. It took some getting used to but grew on me. I like the ease of getting in and out of games as well as placing the unit on standby to avoid long start up times. After having the console for a week, I’m having fun with Killzone: Shadow Fall and Resogun. I’m really impressed with everything the PS4 does, I’m just waiting for more games to come out that will push the console’s graphical powers to its limit.
I’m not gonna sugar coat it. I friggin’ LOVE my PS4. I opted to pre-order it after Sony dropped bomb after bomb on Microsoft at E3 regarding used games, an always online console, and that $399.99 price point. I maintain–now and forever–that used games need to be part of the console eco-system, so Sony keeping the way physical media is bought and sold as it has been since the advent of home consoles was a major selling point. That and inFAMOUS: Second Son looks amazing–I’m shallow.
I’m not going to lie though, after Microsoft made the right move and reversed all of their absurd policies regarding Xbox One, I wavered a bit on my pre-order. I could only afford one at launch and I really, really enjoyed my Xbox 360. While I have been a 2 console gamer since PS2 and Xbox, I played nearly every multi-platform game on my 360. I just prefer Achievements to Trophies and playing games online was a much better experience on Xbox Live. And with Titanfall looming in the horizon, I definitely entertained the idea of cancelling my pre-order and going with Xbox One. As fate would have it, I couldn’t get an Xbox One and I resigned myself to sticking with the PS4.
As last week hit, I moved my $436 from my savings to my bank account waiting for Amazon to charge me and ship my PS4. Then, like Chris, I began reading about bricked systems and bad HDMI ports on the new hardware. See, this was the first time I was buying a console at launch–something I don’t do because of problems just like this. When the UPS driver finally delivered my console, I opened it, inspected the HDMI port, saw everything was copacetic, hooked it up and breathed a giant sigh of relief as it gracefully sprang to life.
I immediately fell in love with how fast the UI is compared to that of the PS3. I actually quite enjoyed the XMB; I thought it was neat and easy to use. But man, the operating system on the PS4 is giant sea change. Much slicker, faster and easier to navigate. I could write my own full article about how much I love it so I will keep it brief. I love that I can download games while I’m playing a game and it automatically installs, ready to go as soon as it does. This seemed like a no brainer but somehow downloading games on the PS3 was an agonizingly slow, and counter-intuitive affair. Another thing I love is that I can suspend my game and open Hulu Plus or Netflix and then jump right back into the game.
Another great thing about the console is the controller. Yeah, at this point I am basically echoing most people who have used the Dualshock 4’s sentiments, but it’s a damn fine controller. My two biggest gripes with the Dualshock 3 were the thumbsticks and R2 and L2 “triggers.” I managed to fix the trigger issue by buying a pair of “Real Triggers,” but the thumbsticks were always too loose for my taste – so the actual trigger shaped R2 and L2 and the sticks feel better and are much tighter making playing FPS’s like Call of Duty: Ghosts and Killzone: Shadow Fall much more enjoyable and precise. The ways Killzone used the touch pad is fun and impressive, even if relatively novel. For instance, the light bar on the controller glows green when at full health but as health depletes, the light seemlessly changes to red. Hiding in cover brings it slowly from red, to orange, to yellow, to green. It’s not overly useful, but it’s nice to know that developers can do cool things with it. Also, picking up “radio logs” in Killzone triggers playback through the in game speaker. It doesn’t add anything new to the moment to moment gameplay, but it’s a great feature non-the-less. One last thing about the Dualshock 4 I love is that I can plug in standard stereo-headphones into it and stream all of the games audio through the Dualshock 4 into the headphones.
I’m really looking forward to streaming via Twitch, but I’m going to hold off on doing that for games that I’m plaything through for the first time due to the amount of screen real estate I lose in order to do live streaming.
Speaking of games, I’ve played only a handful: Call of Duty: Ghosts, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Blacklight: Retribution, and Resogun. You can read my thoughts on Call of Duty: Ghosts in my review so I won’t waste valuable space here reiterating. So far I am really enjoying Killzone: Shadow Fall. It reminds of the original Red Faction with much better visuals and effects and without the destruction. Blacklight: Retribution was a laggy mess so I am going to hold off judgment until I see if Zombie Studios can get it more like what I played at E3. And lastly, there is Resogun. I played it for 3 minutes and unless I am in a complete drought of games (you should see my backlog) I think those will be the only 3 minutes I ever spend playing it. Everyone else seems to like it a lot though, so there’s that. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Sony’s first party can do with the power of the machine in the future. As I said earlier, inFAMOUS: Second Son looks amazing.
If there are any real negatives I can level at the PS4 it’s the utter lack of external media playing capabilities. I use my PS3 weekly to stream content from my iMac and to watch movies and TV shows on my TV. I also like to hook up my external 1tb hard drive and play my movie backups through it. My PS3 has been my media hub for a long time and it looks like it will remain so until PS4 gets these features in what I am sure will be plentiful updates in the months to come.
I know realize that I went on for about 3 times as much as the other guys, so I’ll stop now.
I haven’t actually played all my PS4 games yet–Assassin’s Creed IV still needs to be booted for the first time. That being said, while my experience has been overwhelmingly positive, I am starting to come down off of the high that is provided by the purchase of expensive new hardware, and some things stick out to me.
Battlefield 4 is broken on PS4. The signature Conquest mode doesn’t work. Single player has a known save-file overwriting bug. Commander Mode just got turned off for some reason. It’s a fun game, beautiful-looking, and I want to love it, but damn if it isn’t in a bit of trouble right now.
Injustice is the same game, albeit running at a native 1080p. The problem it has right now is a low player base. I ranked match against the same guy 5 times in a row. That being said, the Dual Shock 4 works VERY well for this game (I would prefer it to an arcade stick for this specific title), and I can’t feel any lag at all when I use remote play.
Speaking of, I can’t believe remote play on Vita is lag-free, but it is. If I am in the same room, or in my bedroom, it’s a perfectly fine experience, only limited by the fact that some games don’t play too well on it. Resogun needs 60 frames a second, and remote play is limited to 30.
As for live streaming, I haven’t been doing it much. I mean, does anyone know I am streaming? Who’s going to watch? Also, there’s a grand total of 27 games available on PS4 right now. It’s like watching a TV with 27 channels.
I’m looking forward to the first major firmware update, and I want to see what kind of potential the PS4 will fulfill.
So there you have our brief [it was supposed to be anyway, sorry – Sean] initial impressions of the PS4 after our first week with the console. Do you have a PS4 already? Share your impressions and thoughts in the comments below.