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I've been a loyal Sony PS gamer since the PS2 launched back in 2000. I have to admit, all these years later, I was questioning whether to go in on the PS4 at all. Now much older, and with a...
easy to set up, elegant form factor, fast, intriguing camera, controller feels great, excellent indie dev support
menu system could use a little work, always-on light on controller drains battery fast, lack of launch-day titles, no backwards compatibility
I've been a loyal Sony PS gamer since the PS2 launched back in 2000. I have to admit, all these years later, I was questioning whether to go in on the PS4 at all. Now much older, and with a family, I started to question the logic (and expense) of buying yet another game console.
Boy, I'm glad I did!
For starters, the console was super-easy to set up. In fact, I didn't even need to use the included power cable - it uses the exact same cable that the PS3 did. Since I was taking the PS3 out at the same time, I could just use the same HDMI cable as well. Though the bundle I bought didn't come with the camera, I also purchased it separately, along with a second controller. One nice feature of the setup was it connected my Sony login to my FaceBook ID. I was immediately impressed with the camera integration, as it used facial recognition (along with the glowing light now part of the updated controller) to identify the user logging in.
The look of the console is cool. Surprisingly light and slim, with a light strip running along the top of the console that glows for different states. Orange for standby, blue for on, etc.
Menus were nothing special; I would describe them as mostly utilitarian, though they could definitely be made more intuitive. There were many apps available for install, from Netflix to NBA Gametime. The PS4, in fact, has quickly become my go-to device for using Netflix. The connection seems more robust than the other Netflix-running devices (including my TiVo and blu-ray player), the resolution is terrific, and it's simple to control with the PS4 controller.
Game-wise, unfortunately there's not a ton of truly compelling titles out there at launch. The two physical titles I decided to purchase to start were Assassin's Creed IV and Lego Marvel Super Heroes. One for me, and one for my kids ACIV is absolutely tremendous; graphically rich, with tons and tons of things to do and explore (in addition to a stellar campaign). LMSH is also a great buy, with plenty of things to do and see. As with the other Lego games, there's lots for both kids and adults to enjoy. And since I sprang for a PS+ subscription, I was able to grab Resogun for free. It's a great indie shooter, very reminiscent of old-school games like Defender. And you can't beat the price.
I should mention that a PS+ subscription is required to play games online. I was initially reticent about making the purchase ($49.99 for 12 months), but when you factor in all of the free games you are entitled to as a member, it pretty much pays for itself in short order. And since I'm also a PSVita user, the benefits of subscription extend there as well.
So with all the positives, there are a few negatives I want to mention. Although the new controllers feel and play fantastic, they now have an always-on glowing light on the front. Ostensibly this is a cue that the camera uses for motion recognition, but for non-camera games it seems a waste. The light tends to make controllers run down rather quickly; whereas I'd usually recharge my old PS3 controllers maybe once a week or so, I find I'm recharging the PS4 controllers once every couple of days. An option to turn off the light would be great. One of the nice aspects of the early-model PS3's was the ability to play PS2 games as well. Sadly, there is no PS3 backwards compatibility native to the system. Their upcoming streaming service PS Now will supposedly offer legacy titles, but unfortunately that's as close as we'll get. And as mentioned previously, the current selection of available games leaves a lot to be desired. However, with a very exciting slate of games in the coming year (including Watch Dogs, and the PS4 exclusives The Order 1886 and Infamous: Second Son), things couldn't look better for the immediate future.