Despite the issues new consoles have on day one, the Playstation 4 (PS4) set-up seemed to go quite comfortably – 45 minutes from un-boxing it, the PS4 had done its required updates with no hassle and was ready to go. The interface is somewhat visually similar to the Playstation 3’s as both use a horizontal bar with an icon to represent a menu, although where the PS3 would display a vertical list of options when selecting an option, the PS4 has less icons and displays them in a new menu depending on the options. The PS4 also features apps for things such as Amazon/Lovefilm, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sports and BBC News (UK specific), which need to be downloaded from the Playstation Store. The actual store itself is the exact same as the PS3’s in terms of navigation, although does not list any previous-generation titles since the PS4 is not capable of playing them. Overall the menu system and navigation is relatively easy to get used to and shouldn’t cause too many problems.
The controller is unusual when compared to its predecessor, but it is no less awkward despite the huge touch sensitive pad in the centre. The shoulder buttons are more comfortable and the trigger like L2 and R2 are especially good for First Person Shooters. The Start and Select buttons have been replaced by a Share and Options button which can be confusing at the start, but is easy to get used to. The Options button is a combination of both Start and Select from previous generations, which does make it more convenient, and the Share button allows you to either record your current session or take a screen shot, which can then be posted onto your profile. The controller also has a built in speaker, similar to a Wii Remote, which can allow for a more immersed experience when playing, such as receiving objectives through it or an audio based collectible will play through it. One feature that is really impressive is the ability to plug in your headset into your controller and have the audio output go through that instead of your TV, especially useful if you’re concerned about disrupting people. The headset for the PS4 (which is included with the console) also allows for party and cross game chat, which is definitely a welcome addition to the console.
The two main exclusive launch titles for the PS4 are Knack and Killzone: Shadow Fall, and as a member of PS Plus you also have access to two other free games, Resogun and Contrast. In addition to this, there are some Free-to-Play games already on the Playstation Store: Warframe, DC Universe Online and War Thunder, meaning you can already get several games at launch.
Killzone: Shadow Fall is a First Person Shooter and is the fourth main instalment in the Killzone series, and can be enjoyed even without knowing the full back story. The online multiplayer is fun and somewhat different compared to other mainstream FPSs, using a class based system, where each class has unique abilities and weapons to help them perform certain roles. However, what makes this different is how weapons and abilities are upgraded. Rather than a simple “Kill x with y weapon” to upgrade, Killzone sets certain challenges and these can change your play style if you wish to upgrade the weapon. The challenges for abilities are more generic, but these encourage more co-operative play or more sensible play rather than reckless. We also play-tested the port of Battlefield 4 for PS4, but due to various connection issues with EA servers, were not able to access key areas of the game, which severely ruined the experience.
Despite the large amount of games available however, one of the major issues with the PS4 is the lack of big name launch titles to accompany it. Most of the bigger titles announced with it at E3 won’t be released until later this year, which is definitely going to put people off getting one so early in its life, especially if they own a previous generation console with a larger game catalogue. Despite this, the Playstation 4 has a lot of potential as a newer console and looks to have some exciting games coming out for it in the near future.
Got a PS4? What do you think to the console? Prefer the Xbox One? Let us know in the comments section below