With the release of Sony’s PS4 system in Japan on 22 February I decided to pick up a console for myself. Since moving to Japan I’ve moved to Sony’s platform for almost all of my gaming (The Xbox 360 is all but non-existent here and the Xbox One hasn’t even officially been given a release date yet.) and as I’ve never really bought a console at launch I thought I might as well give it a shot and see what all the fuss is about.
So after managing to place a pre-order with Amazon and a few months wait the day arrived when I could finally unwrap my shiny new console and see if the gamer in me would come away impressed. So without further ado here are my initial thoughts that I scribbled in an email to some friends a day after using the PlayStation 4.
- It’s far snappier and quicker in terms of UI than the PS3 was. The PS3 store especially has a tendency to be as slow as a poorly done flash site running on someone’s 3G connection.
- The way games begin pre-loading onto the HDD while letting you play the first few missions / levels is really well implemented. Although it didn’t work as well for me since I was downloading so many games I’d bought months ago that by the time I finished the first playable portion the rest of the game still hadn’t loaded.
- Speaking of games, should you guys ever get a PS4 do not buy your games via the South African store (as my main account is South African) or even retail. I’ve started to buy everything via the US store with prepaid cards which are pretty easy to pick up online. With Amazon US also offering game codes for sale it means that the better pricing of the US store is far more attractive than the South African prices.
- That said, I’m still buying my PS+ subscription for my South African account since that’s the main account I play on. PS+ is still a steal at ~R450 for the number of games you get. Obviously for me it’s great since I already have a PS3 and PS Vita which means I get free games on all three systems every month.
- I’ve still got to try the PS Vita remote play, but it sounds like the perfect way to relax with 30 minutes or an hour of gaming, especially for someone with a family and kids and no way to get in large chunks of gaming time.
- The PS4 is heavy! (But in a way that makes it feel like something that is properly built and not made cheaply.)
- The price will definitely come down sooner rather than later. Especially in light of the fact that Microsoft just dropped the price of their console in the UK. I am glad though that even the launch price is far better than the PS3’s.
- The controller is fantastic. Definitely my favourite controller of all those I’ve used over the years. Fits nicely in your hand and all the buttons just seem great in terms of their tactile feedback.
- Being able to use any headset by plugging it in your controller is fantastic! I played some Battlefield 4 using my TV’s speakers and then switched to a pair of Tritton headphones via my controller and the sound quality was miles better!
- The whole sharing functionality of the PS4 is nicely integrated, and it’s great to share funny moments or cool things as you play.
- The voice recognition on the camera is pretty cool and works more often than not. It’s not as all-encompassing as the Kinect functionality, but it’s great to use to take screenshots, browse your games etc.
- The fact that it will now download most updates and games while it’s in standby mode means that you don’t have to wait for hours when you load a game up as it slowly downloads patch after patch after…
So there you have it. All in all I’m rather pleased with how well the PS4 has turned out. Sony seems to have taken all the criticism of the PS3 and addressed the main issues. While the PS4 hasn’t solved everything, it is certainly a step in the right direction.
As I get in more time with the actual games I’ll try to do a few write-ups here and give feedback on how well developers are taking to the platform.