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PlayStation 4 Console Review

PlayStation 4 Console

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Release: 29/11/2013
Publisher: Sony
Developer: Sony
Genre: Articles, PS4 News
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PlayStation 4 Review – Introduction

The PlayStation 3’s launch was full of potential, but in the end fell short of instant love. Sony had underestimated the importance of social and online features and so had paled in comparison to Xbox 360 in that regard, and the cost and available games did nothing to help the situation. Sony hasn’t made the same mistake twice. The PlayStation 4 is the perfect console for today, with room to grow as the industry does.

Power Play

It’d be a lie to say that Sony have managed to create the most powerful gaming machine on the market. You could build a better PC relatively easily and without too much cost. But what they HAVE done is pinpoint that perfect place between tech and cost. For the price that you’re paying here, the PlayStation 4 will continue to impress for years to come. No doubt, we’ve not even scratched the surface of possibility with the launch titles.

Combined with a couple of games and PlayStation Plus, there can be no buyer's remorse here

The sheer power is obvious in the graphical abilities seen from trailers and screenshots, but that’s not what makes the PlayStation 4 such a fantastic console. Instead, Sony have done everything they could to create a console that is convenient, easy to navigate and even does much of the hard work for you.

From being automatically logged in to your account by your PlayStation Eye through to the increase in the speed of downloads (and the ability to download while in standby mode), everything is streamlined, everything is within easy access.

The multi-tier OS, which is much like the XMB in many ways, only spread across multiple layers, keeps much of what made Sony’s GUI so recognisable and classy while improving on it in almost every way. If there was anything you disliked about the XMB – and there probably was, considering its age and relatively small footprint – it has now probably been fixed.

There are a few issues that might bother some and not others. There are menu items that look and sound exactly like those from the PS3. The update screen is one of them. It feels a little out of place, a little old fashioned, and it’s not fun that it’s one of the first things you’re going to see. Similarly, some of the noises of identical to that of its predecessor (most obviously the eject button). Even as a token change, it probably would have been appreciated.

 

It also would have been nice to have a different menu for when you hit the PlayStation button in-game. Instead, it takes you to the main overlay. It blocks everything. The game stays open, the sound still plays, but you can’t see or interact with it in anyway. An Android-like notification centre would fix the problem, and I’d be surprised if it wasn’t one day implemented, but for now it’s a problem that you’ll come across a little too often when you start going through all the “You’ve got a PS4?!” messages.

But those are small problems in an otherwise unimprovable operating system. If you have to struggle or even think very much about it in anyway, you’re probably not playing a PS4.

A Good Body

Although I haven’t had the heart to test it, the PlayStation 4 seems pretty solid, and looks fantastic. Pictures have it looking something like an art deco sandwich, but it’s much more impressive up close and turned on. The light that goes across the top is especially nice, thanks mostly to its glow.

I had little problem setting it up, and the inclusion of a specialized slot for the camera was a stroke of genius. The network seems stronger than ever before (and it definitely reaches further than previous Sony devices), and it was only through day one mass logins that there was any problem at all. 

Learn to Accessorize

Here’s a quick piece of PS4 advice: buy a camera. The auto login thing feels stupidly futuristic, and the voice commands could grow into something far more powerful as time goes on. It’s a pretty neat camera as well, and the included Playroom gives a quick glimpse of just the beginning of what is possible. It doubles as a microphone as well, although Sony haven’t yet given an option to mute it. If you want to know how to mute the PlayStation camera, your only option is to join a party, which is now a thing.

Although I haven't had the heart to test it, the PlayStation 4 seems pretty solid, and looks fantastic

Parties are pretty cool actually, and work much the way they have done on the Xbox 360 for years. It’s as simple as starting one and inviting your friends. The included microphone is a little weak – it works, but there are comfier, better sounding alternatives – but it does mean everybody is on an even footing in terms of conversation. I’ve already noticed (in Call of Duty, of all places) that there’s much more strategy involved on the PlayStation 4 than there ever way on the PlayStation 3.

The Dualshock 4 is equally as impressive as everything else within the PlayStation 4. I’ve yet to see the bright lights on the back utilized in-game as anything other than a marker as to who is player one and who is player two, but its job ofinteracting with the camera is awesome. The controller is comfortable as well. Stupidly so, considering the layout of the buttons seems backwards (the Xbox 360 controller may still be better in some PC games for just this reason).

And it has vibration, something that we found out last gen shouldn’t ever be taken for granted. The twin motors work nicely, and hopefully more third party developers will take advantage of them in time.

PlayStation 4 Review – Conclusion

Some are saying that, in the PlayStation 4, Sony have built the console of the future. This isn’t true. They’ve built a console for now. It is the perfect machine for 2013. It does everything we’ve wanted to do for years, and then some. Someone wanting some amazing innovation will probably be disappointed, especially if they have a high-end PC, but then let them be disappointed. The PlayStation 4 is a fantastic machine, and I don’t see how anybody could claim otherwise.

I could write 10,000 words on why that is, but it’s easier to just say this: you will not be disappointed with this purchase. Combined with a couple of games and PlayStation Plus, there can be no buyer’s remorse here. From the design to the OS, the network and the accessories, Sony have hit this one out of the park.

 

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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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