As you could probably tell from previous entries, I tend to favour Sony in the Console Wars. Not that I don’t like Microsoft and the Xbox, but after going though 4 Xboxes in the first four years (compare to 2 PS3 in the same time), I tend to trust Sony with their hardware more. Although I’d like to get a XBOne and enjoy both systems, I have to face facts that I cannot afford both, at least not at this time. So, I went with the PS4.
The overall look of the system is nice. Both Sony and Microsoft’s consoles are big black slabs of plastic, but I like the PS4’s aesthetic better. The system comes with a DualShock 4 controller, with the new touchpad, build in headset/microphone jack and a HDMI cable, which means we can get up to 1080p right out of the box, unlike the PS3, where you to get another cable. It also comes with a short (3 ft) charge cable for the controller. The PS4 doesn’t comes with the PlayStation Eye camera and it is not needed for most features, except for The Room, a preloaded app on the 4’s dashboard. Unless you really want to try that out and post videos of yourself playing a game, talking smack or having sex. No wait, they frown on the last one…
The main menu interface is different that the PS3. Gone is the XMB, replaced with icons for What’s New and ones for any games you had recently played and apps on you system. Under the game app, you can see available DLC, what friends have been playing with the game, any pictures or videos you captured and what achievements you have recently gotten. There is also Apps for the Sony Video service and Music Unlimited. More on those later. Options for PlayStation Store, notifications, Friends, Account (Which can be linked with Facebook), Settings and Power can be accessed by pushing on the controller.
Graphically, the games that I do have (Assassin’s Creed 4, Killzone: Shadowfall, Lego marvel Superheroes and some downloaded ones such as DC Universe Online,.) all look good. I suspect that the graphics will continue to improve over the next few years. Game run up to 1080p with very good frame rates. We should start seeing from more games later this year, though I am excited for Infamous: Second Son later in March.
One of the features I an excited about is the integration with the PS Vita. Most, if not all, games cam be remote played from your Vita. As long as you have a good intent connection (and I don’t. Thanks Bell!) you can stream you games through WI-FI or the internet. The PS4 also promises a second screen function for most games. I have yet to see it, but using the PS Vita as a control and using it to manage you inventory or solve a puzzle would help with the immersion.
Sony also recently updated the PS4 to be compatible with the PlayStation wireless headsets. It works well for talking in online games or even just keeping the sound to yourself. As well, with the Facebook integration, you can now allow Friends to see your real name (as on Facebook) instead of your PS ID.
Now, I do have a few nitpicks with this system. One is why did they change the type of cable for the controller charger cable. They went from a mini-USB to a micro USB (like on most non-Apple cellphones). The one they provided is too short to plug and play and I can’t find a decent cable over 4 ft (there is one third party cable from Dream Gear but the micro-USB nub is too long to fit in properly.)
Another is the ability to save songs and movies on your hard Drive. Though the system lets you take screenshots and video of your games, you can only watch them on the PS4 or uploaded to Facebook or to the video service. Any movies you buy on the PSN can only be streamed on the PS4 not downloaded (and from some reason not all videos are available.) Finally, the Music Unlimited service is your only choice for music and you must subscribe to that (over and beyond the PlayStation Plus). The music is streamed, not downloaded. You cannot load songs through a USB drive or PSP/Vita and there is no media connectivity with your PC. This has been brought up to Sony and they said something along the lines of “we’ll consider it.” This concerns me because when the WWE 2k series comes to PS4, I would like to have custom entrance music.
Overall, the PS4 is a good machine. Most of the video game press seem to be giving the PS4 the advantage early in the game. While some blips can and have popped up (unable to watch YouTube in the web browser), most can be solved with a system update. Hopefully this year we will see games that will wow us and truly usher in the next generation of gaming.