Earlier this year, Sony announced the PlayStation 4, a new gaming console the campaign referred to as “focused on gamers.” It showcased its power, its game library and the other features that come with it, all of which targeted hardcore gamers. After Sony seemingly blundered with its reveal of the PlayStation 3, they corrected their mistake. The PlayStation 4 may be targeted toward gamers, but the problems are slowly being fixed, so those waiting to harness the full power of the PS4 may have to wait.
The PlayStation 4 is a stylish console that can be stood on its side, especially with the blue light strip in the middle. It sports 2 USB ports on the front and an HDMI output, Ethernet and audio port on the back and no power brick, which is great for those with tight spaces. However, this could mean that the back heats slightly faster than the rest of the console, although this is not as much of an issue as previous consoles.
Another piece of hardware that was also given a great overhaul is the DualShock 4 controller. The controller no longer has the classic start and select buttons and instead has a touchpad that works well for most games. This also works as a clickable button. The controller has a built-in speaker and a traditional headset jack for audio. The DualShock took some cues from the Xbox 360 controllers like concave triggers and sticks, as well as a better D-Pad, although the sticks are still in the same position. In addition, the controller has a light bar that indicates whether it is charging, which it can do while the console is on standby, and the player number if the game doesn’t have a specific purpose for it; however, it is relatively hard to see it. The battery life is short at seven to eight hours with a built in battery that could not be removed.
The PS4 has its own camera called the PlayStation Camera, which is not included with the console at purchase. It has few voice commands and is only fairly good at using facial recognition to log into the PlayStation Network. With the limited amount of software out there, there would be little motivation to pay the additional $60 for it unless to use it for streaming purposes.
The PlayStation boasts its video streaming options. The PS4 automatically records the last quarter hour of gameplay and chat, which can be trimmed and shared via Facebook or Twitter. Live streaming also works well via Twitch and UStream, although YouTube support is missing. These features can be accessed using the PS4 XMB. Its user interface is convenient, although can be clunky if many games are downloaded, as they are visualized all on a bar that runs across the screen. Facebook integration allows for real names to be used if someone is one of a person’s possible 2000 friends. PlayStation Plus, it should be noted, is required for multiplayer gaming, but other services like streaming and media services are still free.
One feature that has been talked about is the Remote Play ability that allows for PS4 games to be played on Sony’s handheld, the Vita. This claims that anyone can take the Vita, connect to the PS4, and play on the Vita screen. However, this may not be the best, as buttons like the triggers are mapped to the Vita’s back pad and can be bad if not connected on the same WiFi network. However, on the same network, the Vita works just as well as the Wii U’s gamepad.
Finally, when the games are concerned, the launch lineup is aesthetically appealing and easy to play. The graphics are presented in 1080p quality, the best on consoles to date. As with any console launch, the lineup has its great games and its mediocre titles. From the pretty yet repetitive nature of “Knack” to the fast paced and intense looking “Resogun,” the PS4 has promising games in its future.
Overall, the PS4 is a game console that places emphasis on the core gamer that uses services like Twitch to stream games and interacting with others on their own PS4’s. The controller is better designed for games, the camera is gimmicky but optional, and the console is a sight in itself. With its lack of other features like local playback and saved videos, though, it might be off-putting for casual gamers. However, what it does, it does well, so it deserves a score of 81 out of 100 percent.
The PlayStation 4 is currently out with games like “Killzone: Shadow Fall” and “Resogun” at launch, and costs $399.