Review: Sony PlayStation4 has upgraded power and social sharing

 
 
Sony has released its newest flagship video game console, the PlayStation 4 (PS4).
Sony has released its newest flagship video game console, the PlayStation 4 (PS4).
SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT

More information

Included in the purchase:

• PlayStation 4 Console

• One DualShock 4 wireless controller

• USB controller charger cable

• Power cord

• HDMI cable

• Mono headset

Early buyers receive:

• $10 PlayStation Store Credit

• One month of PlayStation Plus

• 30 trial for Music Unlimited

Launch titles:

• Angry Birds Star Wars

• Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag

• Battlefield 4

• Call of Duty Ghosts

• Contrast

• DC Universe Online

• FIFA 14

• Flower

• Injustice: Gods Amonst Us Ultimate Edition

• Just Dance 2014

• Killzone: Shadow Fall

• Knack

• Lego Marvel Super Heroes

• Madden NFL 25

• NBA 2K14

• Pinball Arcade

• Resogun

• Skylanders SWAP Force

• Sound Shapes

• Super Motherload

• Tiny Brains

• Warframe


lcastillo@MiamiHerald.com

Seven years since the release of the PlayStation 3, Sony has released its newest flagship video game console, the PlayStation 4. Considering the PS4 faces more competition now than its predecessor, how will Sony’s new console compete for consumer’s living room space?

UPGRADED HARDWARE

Boasting 10 times higher performance than the PS3, the PS4’s hardware was redesigned to bring better-performing and better-looking games. Titles for the PS4 are developed for native 1080p HD gaming. Sony has mentioned support for 4k HD video and images in the future.

PS4 only supports video output through HDMI. Owners of older television sets will not be able to connect a PS4 as the console no longer supports component or composite out.

The console’s new controller, the DualShock 4, features the biggest redesign since the original PlayStation controller. Besides a new grip design and changes to the button layout, new additions to the controller include a touchpad, lightbar, built-in speaker and headphone jack.

PS4 comes with a standard 500 GB hard drive that, like the PS3, can be upgraded to provide more space without voiding the unit’s warranty.

One downside to the hardware change is the lack of backward compatibility with PS3 and older titles. Sony has promised a solution through a cloud-based service but has yet to expand on the details of service.

NEW INTERFACE

From the moment you turn on the console, you’ll be presented with the PS4 new interface: the PlayStation Dynamic Menu. The new interface is fast and responsive and caused no trouble to navigate and learn.

PS4 is a console designed to take full advantage to social media outlets and online functionality, but a constant connection isn’t required. Some features, like Blu-ray playback and remote play, will require a downloadable patch to activate.

Players who log in are quickly greeted by the “What’s new” section. While this is not new, it was greatly optimized from the previous version on PS3. Players see all the most recent updates from players on their friend’s lists

Many familiar video-streaming apps (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon instant video) are also available on release of the PS4. Sony will also be launching updated versions of its Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited services.

Some features once available on PS3 will not be brought over to PS4. Support for MP3s and CDs has been dropped as well as support for home media streaming servers. Sony announced it would explore possibilities with the removed features with the development team.

ONE-BUTTON SHARE

One of the most significant changes to the PS4’s hardware isn’t even in the console, but on its controller. The DualShock 4 controller features a new button, the share button, replacing the traditional start and select buttons.

PS4 constantly records the players’ most recent gameplay (video, photos or live streams) and pressing the share button instantly shares their gameplay across other PS4 owners and Facebook, Twitter, Ustream and Twitch. PlayStation network users now have the option to use their real names instead of their PSN ids, but are still allowed to use their PSN ids if they wish to protect their privacy.

Sony’s commitment to sharing experiences was one of the design aspirations behind the new interface and many developers also shared that commitment. “That button is really important to us,” said Jen Andersen, DC Universe online senior creative director, “because we already have a culture that is trying to promote and use social media.”

GAMES

PS4 is launching with 20-plus game titles from first-party, third-party and indie companies.

Independent game developers, or indie games, took center stage at Sony’s last conference and many of those developers praised the ease of development on the new console.

The PS4 is also supported by its strong first-party titles such as Killzone: Shadow Fall, Knack and Resogun Third-party support comes from popular titles including Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, Call of Duty Ghosts and NBA 2K14.

PlayStation Plus, the premium membership service started on PS3, is now necessary to play online multiplayer games. Video streaming services and some games, like DC Universe Online, do not require the membership.

Fans of established franchises might wait to purchase a PS4 because titles that have been announced, like inFAMOUS Second Son, have been delayed to arrive till early next year.

SECOND SCREEN

PS4 features an updated version of the remote play function first featured on PS3. Unlike the PS3 version, remote play on PS4 allows for PlayStation Vita owners to play games without the need of a television set. Remote play requires a WiFi connection and broadband Internet to work. Players will find that the PS Vitas connected to the console via remote play also function like controllers.

Launching alongside the PS4 is the PlayStation App for iOS and Android. The app will allow the use of smartphones and tablets to interact with games supporting the app as well as make purchases on the PlayStation store.

VERDICT

Each generation of the PlayStation helps tie the latest technological standard of its time with the best video game console experience Sony brings. PS4 brings powerful technology, social interaction and console gaming together into one solid experience. Some question the removal of functions that were originally in the PS3 but Sony has made clear that it will take feedback from the audience.

As with any video game console at launch, the PS4’s value can’t be determined until game developers expand its library of games through the next couple of years. Fans of PlayStation exclusives might shy away from an early purchase because many of the PS4’s definitive titles are still months away.

Players picking up a PlayStation for the first time will find an ample amount of games and content to meet their needs. The expanded functions of the PS4 help create and enhance the gaming experience for new players as well as seasoned gamers.

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