Depending on how you look at it, I was one of the organised or very lucky ones to get Sony’s next-gen console, the PlayStation 4, on the first day of release. I told everyone I knew that for the whole weekend I’d be busy trying out the three games that came with the system. I’ll go into a little bit about these as well later. I’d also like to draw your attention a blog post from October where I attended Play Expo and got my first look at the console, controller and one game.
I’m not making any secret of the fact I have always been a PlayStation gamer. I wasn’t keen on the Xbox and while the 360 was better, there was never a big reason for me to switch. I’m pretty good at being objective but make of that what you will.
Sharp, angular and very stylish is the easiest way to describe the PS4 console. I’ve read plenty of comments about how people don’t like it but it’s a definite improvement from the PS3 and it is plenty heavy – despite not being much bigger than a slim line PS3. My package came with two controllers and the camera, which offers little for me and my current selection of games but some interesting things to explore and try. This will hopefully be explored more in the future and while the camera most likely isn’t as advanced as the Microsoft counterpart, it is very responsive.
While you can connect to the internet wirelessly, unless you have a PlayStation Plus account (which is the paid version of the PlayStation Network) a lot of the online functionality and online multiplayer aspects of the games are not available. While not overly expensive, and with some handy features, it’s worth considering. Cloud storage will be one of the most used aspects, I predict, given the size of the hard drive, which sounds impressive, until you realise how big the game files are on the PS4. As an average guess, you might get 10 saved on there, and cloud storage will be needed if you don’t want to delete anything.
Better than that, though, is the fact you don’t have to wait for a game to download or install completely before you play it. Installing what you need as you need it makes the system much more efficient. Just something to keep in mind!
Killzone: Shadow Fall
This was the game included in the box with the console. I haven’t played the Killzone games other than the main console titles – the handheld console games eluded me – and each one was pretty good. The gameplay was good and each time, Killzone offered stunning visuals with a less than brilliant story. For Killzone: Shadow Fall, the pattern is largely the same. As expected with the next-gen console, the graphics are incredible (but if they weren’t, I’d be very disappointed) and the gameplay is still very good. The PS4 controller is well used and the touchpad has a use, although somewhat basic for what I would have liked. All you do with it is swipe up, down, left or right to determine the actions of your drone. It’s a start, but nowhere near what I’d hope it would be capable of.
Overall, it’s a great game that continues the legacy of Killzone well. The story and characters could be better but I’ve been blown away with how good it looks and how well it plays that I can get past it. The multiplayer was fun as well, which is useful in an FPS title.
Need for Speed: Rivals
So, generally I like my racing games more in the format of a bunch of cars on a circuit for X amount of laps and trying not to blow myself up. Boring? Probably – but that comes with being a motorsport fan. When they release an F1 title for this console, I’ll be first in line for it. Need for Speed: Rivals is a pretty fun game which is stunning to look at (and that’s just the cars) and very easy to play. Two very quick intros at the start give you the basics of playing as a racer and a cop. You can switch between the two at any point and with a number of challenges, modes and things to unlock there’s plenty to keep you busy.
I crash a lot on this game. I’d rather pick a slower car with better handling, although it doesn’t help much, to give myself the best chance. The crashes can be spectacular though. What does get me is that while it’s fun to play offline on your own, the open world concept that lets you race against anyone (AI or player) at any time. This is the default setting.
I have to admit, FPS titles such as Battlefield or Call of Dutynever really appealed to me – there was nothing wrong with them, I just prefer fantasy/sci-fi stuff if given the choice, and there are some great sci-fi shooters which I usually end up playing more. Once again, this game looked stunning. I was literally on the edge of my seat throughout as I tried to work out what was happening and where and who and what weapon I should use and who was shooting me and where my team was. If you are familiar with the genre, and probably previous titles of this series, you might be fine. Otherwise, it can be a little overwhelming at first.
Saying that, I couldn’t stop playing for hours, no matter how hungry I got. If it can keep me like that, and I’m not the biggest FPS fan, then it’s probably a good shout. I prefer the genre of Killzone: Shadow Fall, but Battlefield 4 plays just as well and I’m more invested to the story and team right now. However, the touchpad use is even more limited on this title, which is a shame.
This probably goes without saying but I’m generally impressed so far. Having to pay for PlayStation Plus is a bit annoying but something that will probably come good over time. This console is definitely geared to gamers so far and the only thing I’m worried about is hard drive space. We’ll see how that pans out in the future but it’s been a very good weekend and no issues whatsoever so far!