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27th Nov 2013

JOE gets hands on with the PlayStation 4, so here’s what you need to know

JOE has been getting to grips with the newest next generation console, and has our early verdict on what you need to know


JOE has been getting to grips with the newest next generation console, and has our early verdict on what you need to know

We’ve been lucky enough to get some hands on experience with the PlayStation 4 in the days leading up to the big day this Friday, and our first impressions are that this is a serious piece of kit with some fantastic games.

The hardware is nothing too dissimilar from what has come before, and while like its predecessor this first run of the console is essentially a big black box, it has some nice angles about it which make it more pleasant on the eye. The controller is the biggest shift, but it’s not in terms of using it. The analogue sticks are in the same position, and the light at the top of it is pretty cool.

Battery life seems to be good, but you will want to make sure to change the settings so that it doesn’t drain when the PS4 is in standby, which can be done in the settings tab. The home menu is pretty similar too, but you get a Facebook-style break down of your activities, and you can like and share things much more easily with your friends.

Set-up takes a while and there is, as was to be expected, an update needed pretty much straight away, so plug it in and then head off to make the dinner while it does its thing.

We played Call of Duty: Ghosts, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Knack, and the tremendously enjoyable Lego: Marvel Superheroes, as well as demo version of FIFA 14 and NBA Live 14.

ps 4 assassins creed

While all the games had noticeably improved graphics, this is just the first step. We can only imagine, if we cast our minds back to what the first PS3 games looked like and how stunning the last games in the cycle were, what this machine can do with what’s under the hood. The most notable difference is in the physics and the animations, certainly in what we can notice anyway.The sports games is where it’s most evident, and FIFA and NBA were borderline scary in how life like they were. If you’re an avid sports gamer, then next-gen consoles are really a must-have, there’s simply no comparison between the current-gen game and their more advanced counterparts.

One thing that might not be such a big hit with PlayStation gamers will be the need to purchase PlayStation Plus to get access to the online and multiplayer features of games on the new console. This was something Xbox users were already used to, but you might want to hang on to an extra €50 to make sure that you’re not left playing COD: Ghosts on your own if you were hoping to game with your mates.

You also get cloud storage for your game saves meaning you can switch consoles seamlessly (something this JOE learned the hard way, much to his chagrin, when his old PS3 bit the dust) and you get discounts off games in the PSN Store, so it’s not all bad news.

There are a few things that they could (and should) tweak for further updates. One of the things we loved about the PS3 was being able to use it as a media hub, streaming your TV shows from your computer or hard drive, and sadly, this doesn’t seem to be supported on this yet. Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida tweeted this response when asked about DLNA and media streaming, so hopefully they will actually make a move on this front.

So far, it also hasn’t recognised a hard drive with media on it for this JOE, which is another thing that we’d like to see fixed, but the guys at Sony recently confirmed what media apps we can expect at launch and coming down the pipeline for Ireland. Music Unlimited allows you to stream loads of tracks through Sony’s answer to Spotify, and it boasts an impressive library, IGN will bring you the latest in gaming news, as well as hints and tips on your favourite games, and VidZone will allow PS4 users to stream thousands of music videos directly – with no limit to how many personalized video playlists can be created. Netflix will be available from launch day and we presume that as development continues there will be a lot more to come.

There are a few features that the PlayStation camera might well come in handy for, and you can control the PS4 using your voice, just like the Xbox One, so there isn’t much to choose between the two there, but with the push for social gaming and sharing, the camera could well become a very important part of the experience down the line.

ps4 killzone

Overall, if you’re a dedicated gamer then we won’t need to convince you to buy one. More importantly, if like JOE you were on the fence for a while, a hands on will show you that there is enough that’s different here to make it worth the investment, in particular right before Christmas. There’s a huge list of launch titles that will make sure you have plenty to work through, and there’s plenty of potential with other great games coming down the line, such as Watch Dogs which will have exclusive content on the PS4.

Let’s face it, your Christmas won’t be complete without one.


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