Sony PlayStation 4 gaming console review
The PlayStation 4 is finally here and the good news is the device delivers across the board for gamers looking to take their enjoyment to the next level.
It’s been seven years since the PlayStation 3 hit the market so you can understand the excitement around the release of its successor.
It has a sleek new look and a raft of improvements under the hood that gives developers more headroom than ever before to create next generation games that are a noticeable improvement over the PlayStation 3.
The first thing you’ll notice about the PS4 is the new look of the console. It has angular edges and has a two-layer appearance with the space between the layers housing the slot-loading disc drive.
Even the on/off and eject buttons are subtly hidden along the central line that dissects the horizontal layers.
The PS4 is powered by an x86-64 AMD eight core Jaguar processor and a Radeon-based graphics engine. Also on board is 8GB RAM and a 500GB hard disk drive.
These specs add up to a gaming experience that will satisfy even hard-core gamers.
Games are smoother and more lifelike with so much more texture and detail in environments and characters. Playing the PS4 on a large screen full high definition TV certainly showcases these features.
The physics engines behind the games also take advantage of the faster and more powerful processor for a level of realism that hasn’t been seen on the PlayStation platform before.
There are also two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI and AUX port and you can connect to the internet either wirelessly with 802.11n (sorry, no 802.11ac) or with a cable into the Ethernet port.
And like the PS3, Sony allows users to stand the PS4 on its side with a stand (available at added cost) or flat on its base.
The Sony marketing around the PlayStation 4 – “This is for the Players” is spot on. This is a product aimed to serve the gamer first.
Sure there are other features to access content, stay in touch with friends and interact within the PlayStation Network but enhancing experience for gamers was Sony’s top priority.
And it’s mission accomplished thanks to a number of new features.
Background updates allows players to get on with their games while updates are downloaded and installed at the same time.
And when you download a game from the PlayStation Store you don’t have to wait for the download to finish before you can dive right in.
One appeal about playing games is being able to tell your friends about your achievements. With the PS4 you can share your triumphs on Facebook, Twitter, Twitch and UStream.
Extending your gameplay is also possible with the PlayStation App for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices.
The app allows players to connect with your PlayStation 4 system and manage things like downloads so when you get home to play you’re good to go.
You’ll also be able to interact with your friends and to see your notifications and invitations.
And you can even control the PlayStation 4 with your app when you’re synced on the same network.
Of course you can browse the PlayStation Store from your mobile device using the apps to purchase games to push to your PS4 as well as keeping up with the latest games news and releases.
One of our favourite features is Remote Play. If the TV connected to your PS4 is being used to watch another program or a movie you can still enjoy your game.
If you also own a PlayStation Vita there’s no need to despair.
Remote Play makes it possible to play your PlayStation 4 games over wi-fi from the console on the PS Vita so you can still stay in touch with your favourite titles from anywhere on your home network.
The PlayStation 4 interface has really been streamlined and now has quite a minimal look.
The dynamic menu is easy to navigate from the top down with access to the PlayStation Store, the current game you’re playing and content like music and movies.
Players can see what they’re friends are playing and they can even broadcast their PS4 game for a live view of the action.
The usual stops for messages, friends lists, settings and your profile are still there but they now take over the full screen when you select them.
The PS4 is not as multimedia friendly as the Xbox One so don’t expect to stream your TV signal through it or even play music off a USB or disc. Third party apps like catch up TV and other content titles are also missing – for now.
That’s not to say these features can’t or won’t be added in future – they’re just not there for launch.
Overall the experience has been vastly improved and is a step-up from the PlayStation 3.
DUALSHOCK 4 CONTROLLER
The wireless PS4 controller has also had a make over to offer players even more precision along with an added motion sensor, a built-in speakers and a new touch pad.
It feels great in your hands and has all of the controls, analog sticks, triggers and buttons exactly where you’d expect to find them so there is a zero learning curve if you’re coming from the PlayStation 3.
One new feature is the light bar on the back of the controller to allow it to be tracked by the console when there are multiplayers in a single game to identify who’s who.
Another new addition is the touch pad that sits on the front top edge of the controller and allows touch interaction to the gaming experience.
Another new button on the controller is the Share button and, as you’d expect, it creates a shortcut to sharing one of your great gaming moments on the spot.
The PlayStation 4 console comes with one controller and, unlike the Xbox One, there is no device included with a built-in camera to give the console added senses.
But the PlayStation Camera is available at extra cost and it can track the dual shock controllers, hear whatever your saying through the four built-in microphones.
The device also makes it possible to chat to a friend while playing a game from a little window on the screen.
Other accessories include a digital stereo headset, a vertical stand, TV clip to hold the PlayStation Camera on your flatscreen TV and the charging station for your controllers.
A platform is only as good as the games it can play and the good news is there are a number of exciting PlayStation exclusives along with the latest blockbusters.
Killzone: Shadow Fall is the standout in terms of exclusive PlayStation titles and continues the story that began with the release of the PlayStation 3.
Another exclusive is Knack – an action adventure game – that allows players to control a character with amazing powers and abilities.
Then of course there’s the new blockbusters like Call of Duty: Ghosts, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Battlefield 4 and Lego Marvel Super Heroes.
Down the track other PlayStation exclusive titles will include Infamous: Second Son, Driveclub, War Thunder and Resogun.
One word of warning for PlayStation 3 owners who have a library of games – the older titles won’t work on the PS4.
Best to keep the older PS3 console which will still be supported well into the future by Sony and the many game developers.
The PlayStation 4 is going to be a huge hit – we understand if you haven’t pre-ordered the console you’re facing a long wait – possibly until early 2014 – before you can get your hands on one.
The PS4 console delivers on all counts for PlayStation gamers with superior hardware and a list of games that will grow over time.
While it lacks some of the multimedia features of the Xbox One, the PlayStation 4 can still hold its own as a family entertainment device.
The PlayStation 4 is probably not going to convert Xbox players to the Sony side but devotees of the PlayStation ecosystem will rejoice with this eagerly awaited update.