I enjoy playing games no matter the platform: PC, console, handheld, mobile phone, board etc (I consider myself the competitive type) and when our Xbox 360 broke beyond repair, my roommates and I decided we need/deserve an upgrade. This time we chose Playstation4 - the feeling and price were just right, although I was a bit meh. So let's give it a try. It was time for a change.
The console itself it's lighter than you think from when you first see it. I love the overall design and the skewed look makes it feel part of a new generation. Too bad when you pick it up with a tight grip you feel and hear the plastic make small cracking sounds. It's gives you that perception of cheap materials, but only for a bit.
When you turn it on you barely hear it. It's like a kitten softly purring and when you play you don't even heart it especially when things heat up during gameplay. Also the power LED lights up smoothly without disturbing you and it makes easing transitions between loading times.
The main ports are located on the back so you can enjoy the full design of the console. Only the disc tray and two USB slots remain in front, subtle and shy. Nice touch with that. One thing you have to be really careful is that this machine is one mean "dust magnet". The materials used attract the dust like girls on an AXE commercial. And you have to very meticulous to clean it up (you probably can notice some from the photos: shame on me).
I'm not going to pour out the specs now. You have the official site for that, but from a graphically point of view I must say.... it's impressive. I got to play around in The Last of Us (Remastered edition) and it makes up for the money. I can't wait to see how some games will push the engine further and make those polygons go nuts.
Honestly I'm not impressed with the Software and its whole experience. I consider the UI to be less intuitive when navigating through sections. I had to go around 4 or 5 levels just to reach the demos. Here I'm in favor for Xbox's tile approach. Nonetheless the interface is very fast, responsive and fluid and the recovery time makes up for these lacks.
The overall look'n'feel brings up familiar faces you recognize from the previous generation so you can trust your intuition while navigating around. Yet, one thing bothers me: the interface doesn't invite you to discover more. It doesn't offer much incentive to go beyond just playing games.
To conclude, the UI does an OK job and that's pretty much it. Don't except over the top interaction. It's on a mission to get what you want and nothing more. Maybe it's OK, maybe I'm a bit pretentious, but I expected something else.
Playstation4's controller proves why this is "next-gen". At first impression you might say is not that different from the last generation, but once you pick it up you get to spot the ins and outs of the new controller.
At first touch it feels better, bigger and stronger than the previous. Despite this I still prefer the XBox controller when it comes to holding it - the grip feels just right. The PS4 gamepad does represent an improvement, but the device still tends to slip outside my hands. The best thing about the new design is the L2/L1 triggers buttons. Now you can use them at full potential when you play shooters - it takes advantage of your fingers.
A powerful visual element in the controller's design represents the newly introduced touchpad (It also acts as an extra button). It's very useful when you have to type in using the onscreen keyboard or navigate through the browser. In games it acts as a touch/swipe-event companion.
Another feature introduced is the Share button (and the Start buttton is now called Options). With Share you can capture your screen using video or images. Press short to open its panel, long press to take a screenshot or double-press to set the start point for your video clip.
The light bar from the front of device is pure awesome. You use it to identify if your controller is on, see what player you are (in Fifa14 the bar lights up red for the first player and blue for the second player). Nothing special here, but some games take advantage and use it to the max. For example, when you play a game you start with full health (the light bar is green), but when you reach a critical state it changes to red. How cool is that? Moreover, in Thief, when you play in the rain and lightning strikes, the light bar flickers in white color. Imagine playing in the dark with the controller's luminosity at max value. This is crazy. Pardon my enthusiasm, but I love little big details like these.
Yet another very nice feature is the fact that the controller has its own speaker. Why I'm so hyped about this? Well games can benefit and add an extra layer of immersion. For instance, when you play Last Of Us and you open the flashlight, the ticking sound comes from the controller, rather than from the main speakers. It's like you actually hold the flashlight. Kudos for that!
There's something in the distance, a glorious existence
Currently I'm not that excited for what the next-gen can currently offer in terms of games, but I'm very eager to get my hands on three main titles in the upcoming months:
I'm a Fifa fan since I can remember. I enjoyed playing inside the gym in '98, laughed when I discovered you can fake tackles in '99, amazed about the new player face models in 2003, playing with Adrian Mutu in 2004 and so on. I play Fifa with my brother, colleagues, friends and anyone who's up for a "quickie". So without any delays I can say that I'm very excited to experience Fifa15.
Batman: Arkham Knight
This is a must. I played all three previous games because of the story development and the combat system. So what, I like fighting bad guys as Batman while enjoying a fine tuned story and I'm excited like a little boy to see how Rocksteady's trilogy ends. Just please, don't let Joker be the main villain again!
The next-gen looks, acts and feels promising, yet I'm not that blown away. All remains is the curiosity and excitement for future premium content that will enlighten the living room. As a gamer I have one thing left to say: "Hurry up with those damn games already".