|Release: November 15, 2013|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Matt Walker
A few months back, as I was playing GTA V, The Last of US, and the more recent Assassin’s Creed IV, I found myself wondering just what the next-gen was going to bring on the PS4 (and beyond). I had heard all the praise and expectations, but after several years of PR jargon, I learned to let those promises be just that–promises. Too often, those promises never come to fruition, and the product we get is sometimes not what we were promised. And as we drew closer to launch, there were a couple of speed bumps many didn’t see coming. Watch_Dogs delayed, Driveclub delayed, a few early reports of technical issues, and a few other issues suggested things might not be as smooth as we hoped.
However, Sony charged on, bobbing and weaving with the best of them. And now, here it is! We are now holding the next-generation in our greedy gaming hands. Has Sony succeeded? Has the company delivered on its promises? Is this all that we have been waiting for? Or has the proverbial ball been dropped before next-gen even gets the chance to start?
After several hours with the system, and going through its many different features, Sony has answered my questions–loudly.
After unpacking the sleek box the unit comes in, you will go through your own personal ritual of setting up the system for your television (my wife made fun of me for several minutes). Once you’ve powered on, the first thing you will notice is the light on top of the system glowing white and then turning into the PlayStation blue. From here, you will have to do the rather small day-one update. While day-one patches of any kind are a bother, they are necessary to ensure all the features are going to work on the system, and they’ve become so commonplace that gamers shouldn’t really gripe about it.
After you go through your setup phase on the system, you are greeted with the new PlayStation interface. We’ve seen several videos and demonstrations on how this would work, so while not a complete surprise, it was rather pleasant fully embracing the interface. I have two quick notes: One, this is a very fluid interface, well evolved past the current PS3 interface many have long complained about; two, you will have to take some time to get used to the way things are setup. There are two rows of content for you to scour through. The main row houses your downloaded games, music unlimited, videos unlimited, streaming services, an Internet browser, and the library (more on this in a moment). In the top row are some more familiar icons (user profile, chat, settings, and messages to name a few) with a few modifications in some of those for a better user experience, such as the messaging center now resembling text messages as opposed to its current state on the PS3.
One of the big things being promoted with this next-gen is sharing and social interaction. The “What’s New” icon displays some appealing information about not only the games you have played, but also the activities of your friends as well. You can also share videos and screenshots from here too. With the way gaming has been progressing, this is a wonderful edition that I am anxious to see grow.
Again, the main row of content you see right off the bat is already rather full, and will only get fuller as you download more games in the months to come. However, the Library icon is a small blessing in disguise. Here, everything you have is displayed similarly to the way the PlayStation Store displays all new releases, add-ons, videos, etc. For the collectors out there, this will become their main go-to icon down the road.
Now, one of the biggest issues has been the install sizes on the games, and rightfully so. Some might say the system’s standard 500GB is plenty of room, but after downloading games like Killzone: Shadow Fall (39GB), Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (21GB), Need for Speed Rivals (16GB), Madden NFL 25 (15 GB), your hard drive is going to be eaten alive in a short period of time. Even “smaller” games will still eat up some of that space. Contrast alone takes up around 2.5GB, while Resogun clocks in around 466MB. As it stands now, you are only looking at somewhere around 15 fully downloaded games before having to go in and do some serious data management.