The GamerVets are in the Next Gen! What does that mean? Well, collectively, we’ve all upgraded our consoles to either the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox One. Hockey Glory has already gave his impressions on the Xbox One so now it’s my turn.
I won’t bother going into the specifics in terms of hardware, performance, etc. We all know how powerful the machine is versus the other and I’ll leave those arguments to all the fan boys out there. Is it worth $400 of your hard earned money?
I preordered the PS4 back in June around when E3 2013 was being held. I generally like to wait a bit to let the kinks and bugs get sorted out (I am sure version 2 will be even better) but for the sake of GamerVets and the fact that I just couldn’t resist, I pulled the trigger. Honestly, I am pretty happy that I did as I am having a blast with it now. I can’t go back to PS3 or Xbox 360 anymore.
The unit itself is slick and compact. It fits great in my entertainment unit and actually runs pretty quiet except when the disc is spinning. Games require mandatory installs but due to the way the install is done, you can quickly get into games almost immediately as it backgrounds the installation while you can play the game. No more waiting for endless installs and updates like the PS3 used to do. Nothing worse than getting a brand new game and then waiting 30+ minutes before you can even play it. Keep in mind that the PS4 has only HDMI out. Component output is not available anymore so you must have an HDMI input on your television. It’s standard nowadays but I know of a few friends who still have their old HD TVs that only have component inputs and are SOL. This is the same for the Xbox One.
There are the expected buttons on the front of the unit, the eject and power button. They actually don’t feel like buttons at all, in that there’s not much responsive feedback when you press on them. You don’t even know if you press them unless something happens. Sometimes nothing does actually happen unless you hit the buttons a few times to ensure it works.
The new dual shock 4 (DS4) controller feels awesome. I personally never liked the DS3 especially compared to the Xbox 360 controller. I felt it was too small and didn’t have proper triggers. It took me a while to get used to using the R1 and L1 buttons as shoot and aim down sights when playing FPS. This time around the DS4 size is right and the buttons feel more natural. Sony has finally implemented actual triggers as well as a touch pad. The touch pad feels more like a novelty at the moment as it’s not utilized much so far other than bring up displays and some minor directional swiping. I assume more and more games will use it more though. My main gripe is that I’ve accidentally hit it a few times trying to click on the options button. Also why the hell is the “Select” button now called “Options“?
You can’t review the controller without talking about the light on the front. WTF is the rationale behind it being so big and bright? Yes you can see it reflected on the TV and no it doesn’t hamper you gameplay. Actually, I never even notice it when playing and I depending on the angle and how you hold the controller, it may not even show up. I suspect there will be a patch to give the user the option to turn it off/on. I wonder if the light makes the battery even drain faster.
An additional button called “Share” has been added to the controller. This allows gamers to share their videos to Facebook and images to Twitter. Basically it’s useless as you can’t access the videos any other way to edit them other than using some basic PS4 editor. There’s no option to export the video to a USB so you can manipulate the raw file, nor can you upload it to YouTube. There’s massive compression anyways so I doubt it’s practical to use if you want to upload at a minimum 720p. There’s also the ability to stream live games to Twitch TV which is pretty cool.
The User Inteface (UI) has been revamped from the XMB on the PS3. I hated the XMB and the new version is much cleaner and more intuitive. The menus options make more sense and it’s pretty easy to navigate. It’s very simple and barebones at the moment so there’s not a whole lot of things to do. It’s also very fast and you can multitask with ease. There’s some little annoyances like having too many prompts to do simple things. For example, if you want to invite someone to your party, you select Invite and then select the friend you want to invite. Rather than sending out the invite, you are taken to another screen where you then can add a message and have to also navigate to the Send button. Unnecessary extra steps in my opinion. This is common here. Another basic function which I still can’t believe is not included at launch is there’s no notification when a friend comes online. Such a simple thing that’s missing. You also cannot pause downloads or when you get a trophy, can’t hit a button to see more details. I assume things will be added but I am shock basic functionality wasn’t included from the get go. One good thing that Sony has finally implemented is Party Chat! Can’t believe it took this long but a welcome edition.
I will briefly mentioned the cheap ass headset that you can plug into the controller. Hey it works but it looks and feels like it’s worth about $1.99 at the bargain bin. I think they could have included something a bit better than this, even at the $400 price tag. Come on Sony! Even a few GamerVets have complained that it doesn’t even fit in their ears properly! I tell them that there ear holes are too small!
At least Sony doesn’t use a proprietary connector (talking about you Xbox!) and use a standard 3.5″ plug so you can use any headset you have. What is NOT included is you cannot use Bluetooth headsets…yet. There is supposedly a patch for this sometime in the near future but it’s laughable that you can’t even use your Official Sony gaming headsets.
- Fast and clean User Interface
- Small form factor
- Very fast to boot especially during Stand By Mode
- Even though full install is mandatory, the background install allows you to play new games almost immediately
- The new DS4 controller feels great
- Party chat FINALLY implemented
- Ability to multiask with ease
- Great use of standard 3.5 mm adapter for headset/chat so you can plug in any earpiece/mic you want rather than a proprietary connector
- Annoying 2 levels of confirming to do things like inviting friends to your party
- Extremely cheap ear piece that some people have complained doesn’t even fit in their ears properly.
- Clean but bare bones user interface that’s missing simple things like: no friend online notification, cannot pause downloads, can’t view trophy information when it pops up in game
- No support for old Bluetooth headsets (patch incoming but why not work on day one?)
- Controller doesn’t seem to hold it’s charge as long as the DS3 – maybe the bright light is a battery drain?
The Old Guy in Me
So far the PS4 has been rock solid. Normally I am not an early adopter as I like to wait for companies to iron out the kinks. Lucky for me, my console wasn’t a dud and has been running great. There needs to be some updates to the UI that really should have been added day one but there’s great potential here. Highly recommend.