Well the time has come for my review of the Playstation 4. Honestly I meant to have this thing out a long time ago but I got tied up during the holidays and honestly forgot about it. So, now I am back from all the holiday madness and I’m ready to rock.

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As I said in my Xbox One review, Sony fuckin rocked E3 while Microsoft was busy taking a metaphorical shit on its dedicated fan base. In the following months Sony was given most hype they have had for a console since the PS2 and we all waited in anticipation to see whether or not they would deliver on all of their promises. Now that its out in the hands of consumers,  I believe I can finally give my opinion on it. Read on for my review.

ps4-console-jpgThe System:

The hardware for this generation is very surprising on both consoles. Microsoft decided to make a giant $500 VCR-like box and Sony decided their $400 PS4 was going to be the smallest console they have released since the original grey Playstation (of course we are not counting all of the tiny re-release versions). Not only does Sony have the smallest  and cheapest console between the 2 but they also have the highest specs in their hardware as well thanks to the upgrade to 8gb of DDR5 ram normally used in graphics cards compared to the much slower 8gb of DDR3 in Xbox One. On top of that the hard drive is still removable so that once all of these huge 16-30gb games start showing up you will be able to upgrade it with no hassle. Now if all that wasn’t enough it seems to me after spending some time with both consoles that Sony’s machine actually puts off less heat even though it has higher spec hardware and a smaller design. You can definitely see Sony’s extensive background in hardware engineering behind this beast and that makes it the clear winner in the hardware front even with out the TV capabilities. After all this machine is for video games and games is what it does best.

I give this cheap, small, sleek new System a 5 out of 5

 

playstation4ui5_13111534_616The User Interface:

Being a graphic designer myself I have a great appreciation for a good looking UI but I have an even greater appreciation for one that is easy to use and good looking. With that being said you might cringe when I tell you that the “XMB” interface from the old PS3 has made the jump. But I wouldn’t freak out yet because they have made significant improvements this time around. Gone is the long archaic row of icons from the PS3. Now we have big beautiful artwork representing all of the content you have been using recently so that every time you sign in you are greeted with all the things that you do most often on the console. However if you miss the clear simplicity of the old icons you are in luck. Simply press up you are now greeted by a new sleeker version of the old XMB mainly used for flipping through settings and friends lists and basically anything that isn’t directly tied to consuming content. Everything is fast and easy to find. Social features are another big improvement now that you can link your Facebook account and see what games your friends are playing and even stream or watch game play from Twitch. Granted you may have to turn some settings off so that you aren’t constantly spamming your friends but the social aspect is a fun addition considering how popular online multiplayer has become these days. On top of all these improvements are fixes to old problems like the slow ass PSN network which is now incredibly fast and the ability to have patches and games download and install automatically without you even being on the console. But with all these improvements there is still very little customization on the new UI and the home screen with all of your recently accessed content is still a little overbearing when you have to scroll ALL the way to the end of it to get your game library. I still can’t pick a clear winner in the category but I will say that PS4 had the most room to improve on its old UI and it delivered.

Overall I would give the new and improved UI a 4 out of 5

 

PlayStation-4-CameraThe Camera:

There isn’t much to say about the PS4 camera other than it is mostly trying to copy the Kinect. The greatest thing about it is that it isn’t mandatory,  however if you do get one there are some neat little things they give you to play around and it shows that there might be some untapped potential to this thing. The camera is surprisingly clear compared to the grainy old PS3 camera and it runs at a decent FPS. The Playroom game that comes with the PS4 is the major area where this thing shines and it is a good representation of what kinds of things you will be doing with it. For instance, it sees the lights on the top of your controller and a menu projects out of your controller and into the augmented 3D space you see on the television. Then you can fling little robots out on to your floor and kick the shit out of them. When your done playing you can suck them back up with the controller Ghostbusters style. The camera also has some very limited voice control but it clearly has not been fully developed because there is only a small handful of commands that do very basic tasks like powering on and off and signing in. It is pretty much just a novelty item at this point but I definitely expect we will be using it quite a bit in the future.

I give the limited but innovative camera a 3 out of 5

 

playstation-4-dualshock-4-top-view1The Controller:

This is where the PS4 really innovates. The new DualShock 4 does everything right. It has motion sensors for all your motion gaming needs. It has a multi-touch pad that clicks in like an extra button which has been cleverly used to navigate things like maps in some games and in others you can swipe different directions to send commands to your AI companions. There is also a speaker on the bottom for random gameplay scenarios like phones or walkie talkies. There are also new improved sticks and triggers so that your fingers aren’t slipping off the back of the controller anymore and your fingers rest more naturally on the thumb sticks. They also added a better dpad, colored lights on top to identify players, and even a super convenient audio port on the bottom that you can use not only for chatting but for routing all of the consoles audio through the controller to any pair of head phones you have lying around the house. Also they removed the start and select buttons and replaced them with Share and Options buttons for sharing content on the PSN with your friends and getting to in game menus. I can not brag on this controller enough. Sony knocked it out of the park on this one and it will most definitely win some awards.

With this definitely being the best controller Sony has ever made, I gladly give it a 5 out of 5

 

PlayStation_Store_PS4The Games:

Sony has really pushed the indie games movement lately and in return it seems like they are giving the better value so far. Once you get your PS4 you will have a code for a free month of PS+ which will get you free games for every month that you are a member. So right from the start you get 2 games free plus whatever game you happened to purchase. Then once you dig into the PSN you realize that there are several free to play games already available. You can honestly just get a PS4 with no games and simply hook it up, put in the coupon code, and now you already have access to 2 PS+ game and 4 free to play games. I think this is going to be a major thing moving forward when it comes to buying decisions between the 2 consoles. However I will say that this console is lacking a truly awesome next gen exclusive like Dead Rising or Killer Instinct. Instead we get another entry in the lackluster Killzone franchise and a charming but overly simple platformer with Knack and the rest is kind of just mildly enjoyable. Honestly the best games are on Microsoft’s side but there are less of them and you don’t get shit for free except one playable character in Killer Instinct. So I guess you could say PS4 has the better value and Microsoft has the better lineup.

Since Microsoft has the better lineup but Sony has the most free games this one is a tie. I give this launch line up a 4 out of 5

 

Overall I am going to have to give it Sony so far for leading the pack this gen. They have come a long way since the dark days of the PS3. Things can always change down the road but as long as they stay so consumer minded then you can expect to see Sony make a big comeback this time around.

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Playstation 4 Review

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