I’ve now had my PlayStation 4 for one weekend (it came out on Friday two days ago). For anyone considering it, here’s a concise review of both the system and the games I’ve played so far.
Wot I Like:
Games look and play excellently. I’ve yet to witness any slowdown in games yet, even in something like Assassin’s Creed IV if I ascend a high building and look across an entire city. Most games run at 1080p and are either a solid 60fps or a solid 30fps.
The controller is the best I’ve ever laid hands on. Button placement is great, it fits my hands perfectly, the triggers are better than both the DualShock 3’s (by far) and the Xbox 360 controller’s (marginally), the rumble is meaty, and the motion sensing is accurate. You can use the latter to point at the on-screen keyboard, which surprisingly is faster than D-pad selection. I would have mourned the loss of the Start and Select buttons, but Start is now Options and is functionally identical, and any game that used Select as “open map” (the only reason I used select for) I’ve tried so far has simply moved that to pushing on the touchpad. The touchpad is also responsive, if barely used in anything I’ve played yet.
Out of the box, it’s the most “complete” system I’ve used to date. Without spending any extra money after the base system, you can access three pretty good free-to-play games, as well as 14 days’ worth of both Resogun and Contrast. If you get a camera you can also play Playroom.
Update/install times are far quicker than PlayStation 3. You only need to wait around a minute for a game to install enough of itself that you can begin playing it, and then it will complete the rest in the background while you play the game. I have yet to experience a point where I have to wait for further installation while playing a game.
The launch lineup is strong. See below for individual game mini-reviews. And there are a bunch of great games set for the near future, including inFamous Second Son and Watch Dogs.
The console design is nice. It’s simple enough to not be tacky, but quirky enough that it’s not just another box.
Wot I Don’t Like:
The lack of backward compatibility. For full PlayStation playing, my TV now has a PlayStation 2, 3 and 4 all plugged in at once, along with a plethora of different controllers for each one. And of course, my PS4 library is much smaller than others at present.
Install sizes. While much faster (see above), games now eat up the entire game size. I’m assuming this is to alleviate what would be gigantic loading times, given the extra detail of the games, but at 8 games installed, its 500GB harddrive is nearly half full already!
Everything about the USB slots. There’s two of them. The controller takes up one, Skylanders portal takes up another… and that’s your lot. They’re also recessed into the console’s recessed design, which isn’t a problem yet but a lot of USB devices have thicker, greedier designs which would not fit in the recess.
The price of games. This isn’t too big a problem, PlayStation Plus is ace and there’s always simply waiting for them to come down in price. But £54.99 for a standard boxed game is about a tenner too much for most games. And the non-deal prices on PSN are even worse.
The home UI feels like a step down from PS3’s XMB. It’s usable, but it’s just not laid out quite as well. And the voice controls feel very incomplete – I’m sure they were an afterthought after the big deal made about Xbox One’s voice controls.
Killzone: Shadow Fall
It’s alright. Fantastic graphics, but I’m not big on FPSes, especially “realistic” ones (I prefer arcade Unreal Tournament-ish FPSes personally), so it’s a little dull. Let’s go with 7/10.
Skylanders: Swap Force
Sexy, excellent game. It’s colourful and appealing. The figurine adverts are back in full force, but it’s solid, great fun in two-player, and my 7 or so Skylanders figurines from the previous games work in it as well, so there’s little need to buy further ones.
Just as good as Super Stardust HD before it. Cracking music, responsive controls, addictive, and shiny as all hell.
Flatmate Dan played this one, I watched. But it looked like an artsy game with very little in the gameplay department, so meh.
Need for Speed Rivals
Best NfS I’ve played, and the first racing game I genuinely am enjoying since Burnout Paradise. Again, looks nice, although perhaps not quite as gorgeous as I might have wanted, but it feels ace.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
The best game I’ve tried so far, am a good several hours into it. It’s got the looks, the gameplay, it’s immersive and addictive, it’s bloody brilliant and highly recommended, even if you’re not getting a PS4 or Xbox One just yet.
DC Universe Online
It’s alright for being completely free! Worth a look even if you delete it an hour later.
I also have Knack and have downloaded the other two F2P games, War Thunder and Warframe, but haven’t touched em yet so can’t comment.
Conclusion: I’m thoroughly enjoying my time with PS4 so far, and have no regrets buying it day one. Would I recommend it? If you’re into the same stuff as me, yes. It’s not a 100% must-have device right now, and I can’t tell you if it’s better or worse than Xbox One. It appeals to me more, but it’s really down to your personal taste.