The console itself is extremely sleek and smooth. Upon first inspection, it looks like the sloped design will provide an eye sore in your entertainment unit but this isn’t the case. It fits extremely snug and conforms to your PS3 or other electronic devices. The exterior texture comprises of matte on the bottom and gloss on the top. The gloss will be susceptible to fingerprints, but it’s sexy nonetheless.
Weighing in at just less than 3KG and standing at 53mm high, 275mm wide and 305mm deep, the PS4 is much smaller and slimmer than the Xbox One and even the original PS3. Two USB 3.0 ports are located at the front of the system with a dedicated auxiliary port on the rear for the Playstation Camera. Other ports on the rear include the power cable, Ethernet, HDMI and Optical.
Wow, The Dualshock 4. How do I even describe it? After investing some solid time into my PS4, I have recently gone back to my PS3 to compare and my hands hated me for it. I never considered the DualShock 3 a bad controller, it’s still quite comfortable however, the DualShock 4 simply blows it out of the water.
Before even gripping the controller, you will notice that the handles are just a fraction longer and set at a different angle. This creates a much larger area for your hands to grip and provides less strain on your wrist and forearm. Once you grip the controller, you’ll notice that your hands instantly fit right onto the coated, grippy texture on the under half of the controller. Your index fingers will slip right onto the L1 and R1 buttons and they provide a much nicer feel when pressed. When sliding your fingers back further, you will notice the much improved L2 and R2 buttons. The trigger on the DualShock 3 were one of the biggest criticisms. Sony made sure when designing this controller that your fingers wouldn’t slip off and let me tell you, you won’t be disappointed. The concave designs of the analog sticks are incredible. They are now wider apart which leads to a much more comfortable gaming sessions. The thing I noticed most about the analog sticks is that they offer more control due to their tension and greater range of rotation.
Replacing the traditional Start and Select buttons are the Share and Options buttons. The Share button instantly allows you to capture a screenshot, video or broadcast gameplay. The PS4 is always recording your last 15 minutes of gameplay so you can instantly press this button and choose what you’d like to upload to either Twitter or Facebook. The D-Pad and face buttons feel much more solid than on the DualShock 3. They always feel a lot more responsive. In the middle of the controller is the brand new Touchpad. It is multi-touch and provides full interactivity. It is used for managing inventories or scrolling through maps, depending on the game. Below your Touchpad is a speaker which plays things such as the audio logs found in Killzone: Shadow Fall.
The PS4 allows up to 4 controllers to connect to the console at any one time. The light bar a top of the controller indicates which player is which. Blue is player one, red is player two, green is player three and pink is player four. The light bar also interacts differently on a game by game basis. For instance, In Tomb Raider it reacts based on when you die or fire your gun.
Overall, the DualShock 4 is a remarkable upgrade. It gives you a greater amount of comfort and provides a wealth of new features. Above all, it still feels like a DualShock controller which is what I wanted most. It truly feels better in every way and I can’t wait to see how games of the future uses these features.
The PS4 UI has been created from the ground up to keep a strong focus on gaming. With a huge amount of power from the internals, it has an incredibly quick response time. Sony have opted for a brand new User Interface rather than the Cross Media Bar. The first thing you will notice is the “What’s New” section which shows you what your friends are playing and what they’ve achieved. Your games will be listed in the order that you played them in. Above this are Trophies, Profile, PSN Store, Settings etc. The processing power behind the console is simply superb, whilst you are happily gaming or viewing, it can multitask in order to download patches or upload your saves into the cloud. Upon boot up, you are taken through a quick series of set ups for your date, time and location. From there you can integrate your Facebook account to PSN and select your appropriate privacy settings. As a whole the PS4 really blows the PS3 away in terms of capability.
All consoles come equipped with a 500GB hard drive. This is a fair amount for the downlodable and retail launch games. Keep in mind though that 100gb also goes to system software. Your 400GB will quickly diminish as every game needs to be installed to the hard drive. You might want to look into upgrading at some point, which is apparently fairly easy to do.
The Playstation Camera is a new and improved version of the Playstation Eye and it’s better in every way. The first thing you will notice is just how small it is. Unfortunately the size obviously comes at a cost. This little device is nowhere near as smart as Kinect and it’s obvious from the let go. A much more detail process is required to set up facial recognition and it won’t instantly recognise you when you walk in the room. Voice commands are much the same and a pretty accurate for most of the time. The biggest problem with the Playstation Camera is that not a whole lot supports it. At the moment you have the Playroom which is fun for 10-15 minutes but likely to be something that you’ll never use again. We’re interested to see how developers integrate the use of it with the controller bar and the Move controllers.
The first thing i’m going to note is that Playstation+ is now required to play online. Thankfully you’ll also get a host of free games so it isn’t much of an issue. Unfortunately, the PS4 hasn’t launched with a great deal of titles. It has 2 exclusives in Knack and Killzone: Shadow Fall. Thankfully, PS+ Subscribers will get Resogun, Contrast and Don’t Starve for free. All of the other games released weren’t next-gen specific or even console specific. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing games in this bunch. However I definitely think that Sony could’ve better rewarded gamers who had waited nearly a year since the original announcement. It’s promising to know that Sony have stated that all of their First Party developers are all working on PS4 projects. For specific PS4 reviews, please check out the reviews section!
Each game that is release on the PS4 automatically qualifies for Remote Play. The exception to this is games that require an external peripheral such as the Playstation Camera. Remote plays allows you to connect a Playstation Vita and play the game in your hands. The trouble is that the Vita doesn’t boast as many buttons as the Dual Shock 4. R1/L1 and L3/R3/ are mapped to the back touch pad and front touch screen. After connecting the two systems for the first time, the process is extremely fast.
The game transfers beautifully from the console to the portable device. It is an extremely smooth experience and there is almost no drop in graphical fidelity. The picture is sharp and vivid on the beautiful Vita OLED.
Upon launch, Playstation also launched a companion app for IOS and Android. Connecting your app to the console will allow your phone to become a second screen for things such as typing. When not located near the system you can also login to see your personal PSN account where you can view messages, check what your friends are playing and enter the online store to purchase products. The best thing about this is that you can purchase something on your mobile and have it downloaded and installed before you even get home.
The seamless interactions of both these new functions are extremely responsive. The fact that you can access your system from virtually anywhere is a true next-gen experience. Unfortunately, due to our shoddy net here in Australia, you’re much better off playing your Vita within a local network.