I said I wouldn't do it, but it was too easy to click a button and pre-order the PS4. I also said I'd hold off on a second controller and upgrading the hard drive and I did not follow my advice...
Excellent graphics, interface and speed
I said I wouldn't do it, but it was too easy to click a button and pre-order the PS4. I also said I'd hold off on a second controller and upgrading the hard drive and I did not follow my advice there. Now, after I said I would not buy the camera, I have been searching like crazy to find one at face value, but they have been out of stock everywhere for some time...
The point of my "pre-ramble" is that for a well made piece of machinery, it is hard not to fall in love with it and want to invest more regardless of intent. Coming from the PS3, I have found this to be a real breath of fresh air. I will base much of my review with comparisons between PS3/PS4 and will not go into much of the basics for the uninitiated.
Set up is fast and a breeze. You are up and running within a few minutes and your system upgrade begins downloading before you can even wonder about it. That's one of the first noticeable improvements. Downloads are automatic and in the background. When you power the console down, you can go on standby or full shutdown. Standby will check and download any updates and will also allow you to charge controllers via the USB cable. If updates do download, they will not install until you power on the system next. Again, it will install int he background, but be aware everything is not completed in standby. The only negative here is in the rare case where you have 10 things downloading at once, it seems to download most all of them at once, splitting up your precious bandwidth. I have not seen where I can prioritize or pause downloads. Even if it exists, the point is it is not obvious. I only ran into this when I upgraded my HD and had to reinstall a bunch of apps, games and updates. For normal usage, this is no big deal. In the PS3 world, updating is purgatory, with a small reprieve with PS+. So, this is a welcome change.
Speed - thing thing is speedy. In some cases loading disc games takes a little time, but certainly less than what I experienced in most PS3 games. The real speediness is how the new menu system and PSN transitions and brings up information. It is not always in a blink, but a huge improvement over the previous generation. Opening and navigating the store is intuitively fast. Gone are the days of hitting the PS button on the PS3 and watching the icons of the menu bar arduously appear like you are on dial up internet. You get an added speed boost if you upgrade the HD to SSD or hybrid. I also found that the exclusive I bought in Killzone, was designed with a light front end meaning the game loaded up in no time to start off. Getting into the game is super fast. Loading up levels takes a bit longer, but never concerned me.
Games and graphics - Just beautiful to start. While the full realization of what this generation brings is still to come, I have been taken back by my time in Killzone and Battlefield 4. I am always blown away and immersed by the Battlefield series and this one even more so with all of the environmental effects and details. I'll leave it there as the future has more to bring. Just know that we are off to a good start.
PS+ I have been a member since the early days in PS3. I cannot say enough to the value you get these days and have been so pleased to see the free games being provided on the PS4. The most important thing I have to say about PS+ is that the free stuff they give out is never crap. If you go on Amazon and download the free mobile app of the day, many times it is crap (though some are gems). PS+ seems to have a high standard. Not to mention you also get the added benefit of cloud storage of your saves.
Apps and media - Blu ray/DVD is working well for me. I am already missing DLNA but I understand this will be added in at some point. Sony has a good line up of media app content like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, and the apps are well made and fast. I cannot wait for DLNA support, but I still have my PS3 racked and will make do.
Controller - By far the best version of Dualshock they have created. The weight and feel is just right and the quality seems to be up a few notches. The touchpad i want to say is gimmicky, but it works. I used it through Killzone and I think it provided some nice controls functionality. I look forward to what they do in the future with it. I have not shared anything with the share button, but I have hit it to see how it works. Again intuitive, fast and simple.
Hard drive. Okay, as I said I wasn't going to upgrade it, but I did the math on what 500GB really gets me if I download games. I then asked myself if I wanted to re-download 500GB of stuff someday in the future or upgrade now and reinstall just a few things. I wanted to wait for a cost effective 2TB speedy drive, but my logical arguments got the best of me. I will have to force myself to hold the line with my 1TB hybrid drive. I care not to reinstall that much content if I fill it up!
Durability expectation - I can speak to this lasting 10 years when it has only been out for months. However, the reason I have stuck with Sony is that I have had an original PSOne, day 1 consoles for PS2, PS3 (and PS4 now), and put them through their paces for many years without a problem. So, until I experience otherwise, my confidence is high with this product.
Menu - other thoughts - The new menu system works well. There is s slight learning curve to understand the menu across the top. While very similar to the PS3 XMB, there is a parallel level below which is the recent games/apps and then another level below giving you a feed of achievements and news. I found myself bounding back and forth having to remember where I was going for what. However, down that small curve and I am really digging it.
Closing - Looking around at the costs of PCs, quality tablets, and other consoles, this is a great value. As time goes on, it will be cheaper, as everything else, but the value is absolutely there for the PS4 today. If you want it, get it.
I already have a small backlog of stuff I am trying to play on the PS4. The sad part is, I have an enormous backlog on the PS3. I am trying to still get to some of the great content the old system still has to offer and I have to cry just a little bit when pick up the Dualshock3 only to stare at a greater system on standby. Happy gaming.
Features - 4 stars
Value - 5 stars
Design - 5 stars
Video quality - 5 stars
Remote - n/a no remote included, but if you consider PS Vita integration as remote, then 5 stars
Audio quality - 5 stars