Has Greatness Arrived? My Early PS4 Impressions
As Sony PlayStation would say, “Greatness Awaits“, or more accurately has arrived. So how did my first several hours with the PS4 console and a handful of games fair? First off, setup was a breeze, but I can’t speak to the folks that decided to download update 1.5 from the PSN. I’m a doomsday prepper of sorts. As soon as the mandatory day one update became available for download, I grabbed it and threw it on a USB drive. I’d say twenty minutes maximum stood between me and booting up my first game (Killzone: Shadow Fall), signing into PSN, and livestreaming via Twitch. There’s so much more to talk about, so I’m going to try to stay organized.
The new User Interface
The minimalist design on the new PS4 user interface makes navigating relatively easy. Compared to the PS3 XMB, PS4’s UI is superior in aesthetic and ease of navigation, even though there’s a much larger amount of content within. With one meaningful exception. I was used to accessing my PSN account information directly from the XMB. Now you’ll find your account information nested within the system settings under the PSN sub directory. A small annoyance, but so far that’s the only real negative I’ve experienced. Generally the PS4 menus are 2-300% faster than it’s predecessor. Which is a welcome change. The PlayStation Store is also considerably more speedy. I accessed it straight away to get Resogun and Contrast downloading. I was also able to pop out of a game of Killzone to add a buddy to my PSN friends list, and directly back into it without re-loading anything.
This was incredibly easy. Being an active Twitch user made broadcasting from PS4 a breeze. A touch of the share button and a sign into Twitch was all that was needed. From there I was live. You have the option of adding audio and a camera to the stream, as well as opting whether or not to show comments and viewers during the livestream. I honestly didn’t take the time to figure out how to answer comments during the stream, so I just plugged in the packaged PS4 headset and verbally answered the many questions that came filtering in. Based on the feedback of my viewers; the audio was clear and crisp and the video was amazing with little to no lag.
After four hours with Killzone: Shadow Fall my first impressions are simple. From a visual standpoint, Shadow Fall has created the standard of what next-gen should look like. Twitch viewers weren’t able to tell which parts were cinematics and which were gameplay at some points. The combat mechanics are pretty standard, but some nice additions to your arsenal switch things up a bit. Resogun also held a next-gen aesthetic flair. Not in the form of photorealism, but the sheer number of particles and collision effects taking place simultaneously were literally mind-boggling. And Need for Speed: Rivals has proven entertaining enough for a racing game.
I’d spent time with the DualShock 4 in the past, and I’ve had one around the house for about three weeks now. It’s a great controller. Sony managed to keep the things that made the DS3 intact while adding meaningful real-estate that’s a bit more conducive to larger handed players. The absence of the start button threw me for a loop the first time I saw the peripheral, but now that I think about it more, there’s no real need for it. What functions did you typically alter when you paused a game with the start button anyway? Normally I gravitated towards game options in the pause menu, and an “options” button has now replaced start, so it seems like a more logical fit in the long run. The Share button was equally useful. As I’d mentioned earlier, Twitch streaming from the PS4 was painless, and snapping a quick screenshot was as easy as holding the button for a couple of seconds.
I’m not in the business of reviewing a console at launch. I think it’s a bit unfair to do so. As we’ve seen in our past console generation, things change rather quickly. The PS4 may very well be a completely different device a year from now, so passing judgement in week one or even year one is isn’t considered fair in my book. However, I’m happy to provide game reviews asap. I should easily finish the single player portion of Shadow Fall and put in enough time online to get a solid perspective on the title by days end. Watch out for a slew of PS4 reviews in the pipeline and additional impressions on the console itself.
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