The PS4: A Year in Review

The PS4: A Year in Review

The PS4 has just concluded its first full year on the market, and it has evolved quite a bit. When it first released, it was the console of Knack and maybe an upcoming infamous game or two. However, now, more and more titles are being announced for it, and more and more features are being added to the console through updates. Where has the PS4 been and where is it going. Let’s take a look at what happened in 2014 for the PS4.

Perhaps the biggest new addition to the PS4 in terms of new features was the addition of share play. Share play was supposed to allow players to stream gameplay to each other, allowing them to hand off a virtual controller to anyone in their party. On the whole, this feature works, but unfortunately several companies have taken advantage of the PS4’s ability to “censor” things from streaming. This ability was meant to prevent people from seeing spoilers that might ruin thir experience. However, some companies have used it to censor their whole game effectively rendering share play useless. This was one of the PS4’s biggest selling points and while it is perhaps one of the PS4’s coolest features right now, the censor workaround is also one of the PS4’s biggest disappointments.

The introduction of the PS4’s new 2.0 firmware update brought several new features to the console. Perhaps the most awaited feature was Youtube, but this came at a price; instability across the rest of the firmware. Users are still reporting bugs and crashes, though patch after patch has come out in a timely manner to fix these issues. Aside from Youtube, the PS4 streams several different media services, from Crunchyroll to the WWE Network, but it oddly enough doesn’t play CDs. So on the media side there are a lot of gives and takes.

The PS4 also has a lot of features that are just kind of ignored now that it’s a year old. The Playstation Camera really isn’t being used for much and PS Move games are very uncommon. PS Vita remote play is cool but it’s nothing the Wii U isn’t doing and is far more expensive to set up. Not to mention, PS Vita remote play uses your home network so it’s just a tiny bit laggy and the Vita flat out doesn’t have enough buttons for certain games.

On the upside, the PS4 has really made a name for itself among people who prioritize graphics first. It’s the fastest console on the market featuring games with the highest resolution and framerate overall. It will act as a 4K video player though it won’t play video games in 4k resolutions.

It’s also probably the best console in the area of social media. The way that the PS4 allows basically anyone to have their own twitch show, link games with Facebook posts, upload clips to Youtube on the fly, and more keeps gamers very connected. It has also revolutionized the way gaming tournaments are run as its built in streaming capabilities essentially make capture cards obsolete.

PS Plus is also a far better deal than Xbox Live Gold. Sure, you need the service to play online but, aside from that, Sony continues to shower its users with free games. Some of these games are indie hits like Resogun , Fez , and Towerfall , while others are big name titles from the PS3 era like The Walking Dead or inFAMOUS . PS Plus users have a huge library of digital PS3 and PS Vita games at this point and it’s only going to get bigger. Not to mention it also gives you access to auto patch installs during standby, cloud based saved, and tons of discounts on digital purchases.

Unfortunately, PS Now, Sony’s streaming service, is not as good of a value. It’s incredibly expensive to play a game for just a few hours and you can usually pay the same amount to get brand new copies of whatever game you like for the PS3 or PC.

The PS4: A Year in Review

Finally we have the games, which are probably the most important thing to any console owner. The PS4 made a big splash with Bungie’s Destiny , a multiplatform game with PlayStation exclusive content. A lot of the big console exclusives, like Killzone Shadow Fall and Driveclub are decent enough but not worth purchasing the console for.

A lot of remakes have been made like The Last of Us Remastered with even more are on the way such as the upcoming DmC: Definitive Edition. Sadly, most of these remakes don’t have any additional content and don’t give users who have purchased the original much reason to buy them at all.

It is worth noting, however, that fighting games and JRPGs have very much thrown their support in for the PS4. Persona 5 will be a PS4 and PS3 exclusive, and upcoming Tales games from Bandai Namco are also only slated for PlayStation release. Street Fighter V will also be console exclusive on the PS4 (though it is also coming out for the PC), and Guilty Gear Xrd will be only on the PS4 and PS3. In comparison, the Xbox One’s only fighting game offering is Killer Instinct, and it has no JRPG offerings at all.

The PS4 is also an indie game paradise. Many games which had previously only come out on the PC are now available for console play on the PS4. From Nidhogg to Octodad , from DayZ to Hotline Miami, from No Man’s Sky to The Vanishing of Ethan Carter , the PS4 is the console you want if you want to experience all the indiesphere has to offer.

So there it is. The PS4 has a lot of problems, but it’s still the console of choice for fighting gamers, RPG lovers, indie gamers, and anyone who is obsessed with graphics. Just don’t expect all of the PS4’s features like remote play, PS Now, or the PS Camera to be as spectacular as you may have originally thought.

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