If you’re looking for the specification or technical sheet, then I’d check the official site. If you want to know what it’s like, then read on.
The Design and Features…
While I have not owned every videogames console ever made, I have played on every last one the planet has seen, of course some more than others. So to get straight to the point, the Playstation 4 is the most powerful gaming console I have played to date.
It’s not just the most powerful because it’s the latest and greatest, but also because it was so spectacularly well designed. I remember the first time I booted up the Playstation 3, after being so used to the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. The Playstation almost had me going back to the manual. Once I had spent some time with the menus and settings, I was impressed by how much it could do, and how much settings I could customise. I did not purchase the PS3 anywhere near its launch, so by the time I had acquired mine, Sony had added most of the aspects that were in desperate need when compared to the competition. The trophies for example, a clear shortfall on the PS3’s release. Xbox had taught the gaming industry that we want rewards of sort, the days of accumulating a high score and getting to enter your initials on the Leaderboard were long gone, much like the Arcade we gamers flocked to, to challenge the next’s High Score. Even after the updates to the PS3, personally, I always felt more comfortable and informed whilst on Xbox Live. The Playstation Network was always just a little more confusing and I would need to really search for the information I was looking for – simple things like seeing your Friends’ friend-list for example, I only found out how to do this from my PS Vita.
The Playstation 4 then. The moment I booted up, it was as easy to navigate through the UI as I could have hope. The UI is neat, modern-looking, inviting and a pleasure to jog through. Once online, information just progresses as you wish. Living is such “social” times, the Playstation 4 offers so much information, and you can go deeper into it as you wish. You can thoroughly see what your Friends have been up to, the trophies they have unlocked and even who they have befriended. No console has ever been this social. It doesn’t stop with what your Friends are up to either – there’s Playstation news and then a host of information about the games you play. Much like the Store, there’s all the information about the games – stuff like overview, trailers and screenshots and even all that is available to purchase for that title. A plethora of information that you can fly through thanks to the exquisitely fast UI.
The social theme continues beyond your Friends List too, there’s live connection to the Playstation stream, the IGN application and the great Twitch TV. The Share button should also become a runaway hit – at a click of a button you can share game-footage or screenshots with Facebook or Twitter thanks to Playstation Share. The Playstation 4 is a console for our times – while the Playstation 3 became a great machine, the Playstation 4, out the box, is a stunning machine – a social mogul in and around the gaming experience. Before I get carried away though, I do need to reiterate what has been said – it most definitely is not finished. The most important needs I would want are media capabilities and the apps that we have become accustomed to, like YouTube.
In the games department, we are not quite sprinting yet. For me, I am sold on Killzone Shadow Fall’s multiplayer. While the Call of Duty and Battlefield games launch with people begging for fixes, Shadow Fall works, from the word go, like a dream. As a matter of fact I was surprised to read the latest patch notes from Guerilla, I wouldn’t have even known what needed tweaking or fixing. Then my daughter is sold on Knack. So in my household the games library, or lack thereof, is not a problem. But yes, I think February and March 2014 needs to hurry along.
Playing the games themselves shows just how well the PlayStation 4 specs and AMD-based architecture works. With some of the more impressive games for the previous-gen, and I am by no means the most technically minded, but even I could see there was usually a bit to point your finger at. Whether it was frame rate or texture issues, there was hardly ever a game that was technically perfect. With the line-up I have played, my overwhelming feeling is that we have yet to see what the PS4 can really do, but it’s so refreshing playing with solid frame-rates, no shimmering pixels, no slow-loading textures – the games play beautifully and solidly. It not just the Playstation 4’s gaming prowess that has me besotted, but the design of the functionality around gaming too. Little, spectacular features like leaving the game at the touch of a button, returning to your dash and then going back to the game – it is as simply done as this sentence reads. Then the ability to par myself up against friends’ achievements in the same title, I don’t need to close anything, and go in menus and sub-menus – it’s all right there, in front of you.
The Vita’s New Best Friend…
I used the Playstation 3 in conjunction with the Vita only to download games and then transfer them to the Vita. They worked together, but didn’t do much. The Playstation 4 and Vita are best friends. You can pair the two over your Wi-Fi, and let me tell you, the PS4 has just put the Vita on the map. You can either use the Vita as a second screen, although I have not played anything that does so, or you can connect the Vita to the PS4, and your Vita becomes the PS4, basically. You don’t get an “app like” screen to communicate with the PS4; the Vita’s screen takes the PS4’s home screen and all its functionality. What is so great about this, well if you don’t want to take over the TV, and then play your PS4 game on the Vita. The Remote Play is just about flawless, I say just about, because I did experience a bit of frame-rate issues, but nothing that would put me off.
To the point, while the Playstation 3 controller was almost sinful really, the Playstation 4’s controller is the polar opposite – outstanding really. It is not just an evolution on its predecessor, it is a revolution. I remember that first pic that sprang onto the internet of Marc Cerny introducing the controller, that beaming look of pride on his face. I feel like writing to him after spending a few weeks with it, just to say “yeah man, you should be proud.”
Firstly, the controller’s thumb-sticks are a little wider off-set, making it immensely more comfortable. The thumb-sticks are concave too now, with a bit of an out-dent for more grip. No controller I have used has been so precise to touch, and the latency, or lack thereof is outstanding. Triggers were added and even curve up at the end for added grip. My only disapproval of the controller is that they are not rumbling triggers, and if you have used the One’s controller you will know, this is another ground-breaking feature – an opportunity missed by the PS4. The controller also features a touch-pad for touch-screen like abilities, and the controller has ‘options’ and ‘share’ buttons now as opposed to ‘select’ and ‘start’.
I believe developers will be able to code that blue light on the back of the controller to be able to be turned off, and for now I find it a little annoying. I game in the dark, and while it’s nice to see exactly where I left it, I do have to ensure the controller is not facing my screen, particularly when I am using the projector which hates light on the screen.
In the end I would say the Playstation 4 controller is infinitely more comfortable and precise that the previous Sony controller. The added weight and plastic and rubbery materials used even makes the controller feel like a higher quality product. I remember thinking I would maybe need to pay R600 to replace a PS3 controller, and thinking it was the end of the world. It just did not feel like something I would pay R600 for. I would happily pay R800 for the Playstation 4 controller, happily. The ‘rumbling-triggers’ is definitely an opportunity missed, but I suspect we’ve seen the end of the notorious controller fanboy-wars we heard with the previous-gen.
Like I said earlier, Killzone Shadow Fall has made my previous-gen Battlefield and Ghosts copies obsolete. In my home the launch line-up is fine, but we will soon enough be in need of some kids games.
As a console, the Playstation 4 is as impressive as I have seen and experienced. Using the console, flipping through the features, diving in and out of games and keeping up with your friends has never been such a silky-smooth experience on a console. Even when you need to click ‘yes’ once too many times to do something, those clicks ‘forward or backwards’ are done at such a speed.
The User Interface and Operating System were sublimely designed, and matched by its precise performance – a console like none before. I can’t wait to see where it goes though, because while it’s already such a pleasing experience, I think we haven’t seen anything yet.
What I Love
- Solid gaming performance
- Remote play with Vita
- Stunning UI and its performance
- Much, much better controller
- R 6 300.00 price-tag seems like a bargain now
Not So Much
- PS Plus not that impressive yet
- No rumbling triggers on remote
- Seriously, can I switch off the blazing blue controller light already
- Launch line-up not enticing enough to make it a ‘must have now’ for some