As all gamers know the PS4 launched on November 15th 2013.
My Girlfriend and daughter accompanied me to the Midnight Launch of PS4. Since we moved since I preordered the PS4 it was about an hour and a half drive for them to meet me there. I was about 30 minutes away and went straight there from work. We brought our 42″ TV, PS3 ice chest and a bunch of snacks. Since we live so far away we were not about to go home after the we finalized our purchase at GameStop. Luckily Walmart was right behind us because it was cold enough to warrant running over there to get an electric blanket. But our PS4 launch day is not what this review is about. After spending roughly half a month with the PS4 I thought it was time to let everyone know what my thoughts are on the system. As will all systems there are things I love and things I don’t.
So lets start when the PS4 starts, unlike the PS3 the next generation console has a much better start up time. Gone is the animation intro and it replaced simply with the PS logo. When the PS4 was first started it prompts you to set up your internet connection, then login to PSN or set up a new user for PSN. After getting through the login process it asks you if you want this to be the default PS4 or rather the MASTER PS4 account. I am still not 100% sure on all of the functionality of this Master/Sub/Default PS4 stuff. But I really should dig into that further.
Once you get past all of the initial set up you are presented with a new home screen. The new home screen is definitely more visually appealing that the older PS3 XMB. But pressing up or the PS button while on the main screen, on the Dualshock 4 brings up a very similar XMB as the PS3. The home screen focuses on recent games played and common tasks such as audio and video. Going over one of the games will show you recent information about your game play on that game and any news updates from that developer. I have to say that I kind of like this feature as I don’t have to go into the game or search online to see when/if a new map pack is released.
Since I have already mentioned the Dualshock 4 I figure it is time to reveal my thoughts on it. I have been a gamer since consoles such as the Atarri and remember getting the Nintendo 8 bit for Christmas from Santa one year. I have had every game system known to man, Atarri, Commodore 64, Nintendo (all of them), Playstation (all of them), Sega (All of them), Xbox, xbox 360 and I have to say that this is the most comfortable controller that I have ever played with. The touch pad so far has really not been utilized in any game except for the demo play room but it also functions as a button in some of the other games. The select and start buttons are gone and have been replaced by the options button on the controller which takes you directly to the options screen for the game. It may just be my hands still getting use to the controller but the options button is not as easy to get my fingers to as the start or select button where. I am sure with a bit more time that muscle memory will solve that small hicup. Of course in all the advertisements you read about the new Share button on the controller, which originally touted being able to record, livestream and take screen shots of game play and share them in multiple facets of social media. During the PS4 press conference they mentioned being able to take over a friends PS4 to help them through tough areas or being able to leave them a care package somewhere in the level. Taking over a friends session, unfortunately is nowhere to be found, and I have yet to see where I can leave a friend a care package. Which brings me to my biggest gripe on the PS4, the sharing functionality.
The Share function, being able to live stream via Twitch or UStream is a neat feature but honestly not something that I will really use all that often. On the other hand being able to take screen shots and record game play is nice. I like doing hints, tricks and game play walk-throughs. I can post the images via twitter and unfortunately only share the recorded game play via Facebook. As someone who is extremely anti Facebook I cant stand this. Why PlayStation decided to neuter this functionality is beyond me, Facebook’s video section does not even come close in popularity or usage to that of YouTube. Unfortunately without YouTube the share button to me is almost completely useless for my purposes. Because of this I decided to see if the PS4 would work with my Haupagge HD PVR 2 recorder. Much like the PS3, the PS4 uses HDCP to prevent copy, so the PVR2 just gets a black screen from the direct HDMI connection. That being said if you follow one of my previous articles this can be ultimately defeated to record game play but may be against PlayStation terms of service so be careful.
The overall speed of the PS4 is of course leaps and bounds beyond the PS3 that being said I am surprised they didnt upgrade some of their technology. Specifically, why use SATA 3 when SATA 6 is out and reasonable priced. Even being on the SATA3 platform I was surprised at how fast the 42GB games loaded onto the hard drive. Oh and speaking of the hard drive, 500GB really? When every game that I have seen so far is 30GB. Since every game installs to the HD instead of running purely off of the disc, that means you will get roughly 10 – 20 games on the PS4 before you have to start kicking games off of the system. I have the original FAT PS3 and just recently upgraded it to 1TB HD so I will most likely upgrade the PS4 to at least 2TB. For the minor cost difference I would have gladly paid a little more for more HD space on the PS4.
The video quality on the PS4 is of course great. I’ve noticed that the developers of several of the games have attempted to use as much of that video processor as they could in the short times they had to make the games. I cant wait to see how far they push the boundaries in all the next gen titles coming next year. The limitation though is that it is 1080p with 4k around the corner Sony took the cheaper route here as well but honestly I cant afford a $5000 – $60,000 TV so honestly I wouldn’t see the difference until 4k becomes a little more affordable.
The launch titles on the PS4 and XBOX one for that matter left a little to be desired in my opinion and for my gaming style. Honestly I could care less about sports games. I played sports in school but I dont have time to follow them now so I have no desire to play that genre of video games. Of the PS4 Launch games I have four physical discs and two downloads. I got Knack, and COD: Ghosts at launch and latter purchased KillZone and Need for Speed Rivals. I’ve defeated the single player on Ghost, Killzone and Knack and am working on the Need for speed now. One of the downloads I got on PS4 launch which was Super Motherload, I use to play this game online on MiniClip.com and always loved it so I downloaded it, later followed by contrast, both story lines I have already completed several times and reviews will come on all of these games shortly. Fortunately the game prices have not gone up, I think they realize that $60 per game at launch is about the most they can choke out of the gamer population and hopefully we will not see any price increase in years to come.
I have seen both sides of the argument on PlayStation Plus memberships being required for online play. For a long time this was one of the great benefits of PlayStation vs the XBox line with free online gaming. But as history has shown Xbox had the extra funds to put into their gaming networks and they often got new maps and DLC long before the PS4. I feel that Xbox pays for some of this “FIRST” availability and hopefully PlayStation will now be able to get some of these DLC at the same time or even before the XBox systems. At $50 a year honestly its not that high of a price to pay for better servers, support and hey they throw in some free game downloads as well.
Overall I think the PS4 launch was a success and I am happy with my purchase. I feel that the price tag is justified and cant wait for more titles to launch to give me some more game time. After all its winter now and not much work will get done outside. If you are on the fence about getting the PS4 then maybe wait until there are a few more games, then take the plunge.