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PS4 "The Last of Us" Bundle Review!
on 1 August 2014
The PS4 is a very well priced and well designed piece of hardware, this particular one comes bundled with "The Last of US Remastered" game and the price is very compelling, effectively the game has been priced at £19, given the standard PS4 is £350. We decided to get a second PS4 with the last of us bundle as my girlfriend wants to start gaming on a more regular basis. As someone that did play The Last of Us on the PS3 i was interested to see the difference.
Firstly about the console, it looks and feels quality and has a good weighty feel to it for something so small. Size wise I would say it's on a par with the PS3 slim. The two tone look really suits it with the blue light in between as an indicator as to the status of the console. Port wise at the back you have Power, Gigabit Ethernet, optical audio, HDMI out and an AUX proprietary port for the PlayStation Camera. At the front is the slot loading bluray drive on/off and eject buttons (which are touch sensitive) and 2x USB 3.0 ports which are ideal for charging your controller from and if you so wish a 3rd party headset. At this point i will note that Sony have made the PS4 so that you can upgrade the hard drive without voiding warranty... the specs if you want to know are that it be greater than 160GB and no thicker than 9.5mm. Although it doesn't mention the spin speed the one that comes in the console runs at 5400RPM to reduce heat so i would advise you stick to that for good measure.
The controller is a vast improvement compared to the Duelshock 3 (PS3 controller), it now actually feels like a proper controller and the textured back of it feels very nice to hold. The trigger buttons now feel like proper triggers and have been positioned in such a way so your fingers rest on them perfectly. L1 and R1 buttons have been redesigned too and feel better. The thumb-sticks are perhaps the biggest improvement along with the trigger buttons and i can confirm that your fingers won't be slipping off due to the shape. Compared to the Xbox One controller i have to say i prefer the thumb-sticks on the duelshock 4 as they seem slightly bigger and hence you can rest a larger part of your thumbs on them, that is a personal preference however! There is a built-in mini speaker as well as a touch pad which game developers can use however they see fit, in a game by game basis. Select and Start buttons have been replaces with "share" and "options" buttons. The share button allows you to either capture past game-play footage (up to 15 minutes, a screenshot or even live stream footage to either twitch or ustream). The Options button kind of doubles as a start button. There is the inclusion of an in ear mono headset which simply plugs into the controller and i have to say it does feel cheap and basic but at least everyone will be catered for and won't have an excuse about not being able to talk to other players. If anything it will tide you over till you get something better after a few days/weeks and indeed would be good as backup so you can't really complain (at least they included one in the box). If you do want a proper headset then I fully recommend the "Sony PlayStation Wireless Stereo Headset 2.0", it's good value and sound quality is awesome! You also get a HDMI cable and mini usb to usb 3.0 cable to charge the controller in the box. The battery is built in so no need for disposable batteries! (smiley face) although it is worth noting that if you want to play and charge the controller at the same time you WILL need to buy a longer cable. Either that or buy a second controller.
Setup is very quick and easy and i was up and running within 5-10 minutes from when I first plugged it in. Given I was creating a new account for my girlfriend rather than redeeming an old one the process was slightly different and took slightly longer. Please note that there is a mandatory update when you first connect to the internet which did take a while but after that i was already at the dynamic menu and oh what an improvement it truly is compared to PS3! The menu system is easy to navigate, intuitive and fast to operate. Everything is where you yourself would think it is and there are no loading screens between menus. You can tell that Sony really wanted to push the social side of this console as everything from friends latest trophies, notifications, news and video uploads are available right from the off. Everything is also laid out in order of what you were doing last with the very last thing being the nearest to where you start. Above all this there is a kind of "cross media bar" where all the system info and settings can be found, again all very easy to get to and it's fast so those days of waiting around with the ps3 are long gone. Similarly the PlayStation store has been redesigned so it's even easier to navigate and also fast to operate, (ps3 owners will know how painfully slow accessing the store was on ps3, well that's a thing of the past).
To play online you will require PlayStation plus membership but because of all the included stuff that it brings you will never complain about what it offers. Everything from free games each month, updates that happen in the background, cloud saves and discounted games and DLCs are offered to PS+ members and i would argue you actually get your money back over the course of the year. For example later this year (2014) there will be a special PS+ edition of "Driveclub" and it will be free to all PS+ members, well that's a £40 game right there that they are including, and you get to keep the game once that month has gone! Indeed you can keep playing those games for as long as you want, so long as you remain a PS+ subscriber.
As i said earlier updates happen in the background while you are gaming and also when the system is in sleep mode, the controller can also be charged through the console while it sleeps too. Now there are mandatory game installations just like the ps3 but this time around they are much larger although i do need to point out that installation is extremely quick, within a few minutes per game as opposed to the 30 minutes+ (on average) it takes on Xbox One. As for noise wise, the console runs very quiet most of the time although the main fan can become quite loud at certain points particularly when a game loads or when the console has been running for a good few hours. As for games, there are a whole host of games I have tried over the past few months including Call of Duty, Watchdogs, Killzone, Wolfenstein and Sniper Elite. All were fantastic in their own right and would recommend you check each of those games out.
As I write this review my girlfriend is currently playing The Last of Us and she's loving it so far, having already played the PS3 edition and an hour of the remastered edition myself, all I will say is it has the same story but the graphics have taken an upturn in quality and everything looks sharper although it's not a massive jump, however the differences are noticeable, the increased framerate for example does have a big impact. The game itself is stunning and has a great mix of the single player storyline which is sensational and traditional multiplayer. The remastered edition comes bundled with all available DLC already at no extra cost, both for multiplayer and the single player story which makes it even better value. It's certainly a game that you'll want to play if you've never played it before and would be a great place to start gaming on the PS4.
PROS: The Console looks beautiful and the User Interface is clean and crisp to look at * Controller is VASTLY improved * At long last we have cross game party chat * Background updates * quick install times * games i have played so far are fantastic including the free games they offer * you can get back to the main menu at any point mid game and it holds the game in suspension rather than quitting so you can instantly rejoin (double pressing the PS button takes you straight back to the game) * recharge controller while the console sleeps * for what you get i would argue the console is very good value * includes The Last of US Remastered Edition at a reduced price so what's not to like!
CONS: Party chat isn't as clear and crisp as it is on Xbox One (I can say that as I also own an Xbox One) * included headset feels cheap to look at and use * PlayStation network needs to be made more stable especially as we are now mandated to pay for it if we want to play online * Sony need to reduce the amount of "maintenance" sessions it does and shorten their length or at the very least do them during the early hours of the morning rather than prime time during the day or evening.
VERDICT: I have both of the next generation consoles and have to say that i'm very impressed with both of them although the speed and ease of use of the PS4 along with it's potential gaming ability really is impressive. The controller is a big plus this time around and feels like they actually listened to what gamers want. Will the inclusion of a touch-pad and speaker set the world alight? Probably not but it does open up possibilities for developers to get creative. I'm glad Sony didn't go down the Voice control path that Microsoft did, using a controller will always be faster and more reliable and i'm glad they put extra effort into the basics of the system rather than getting cocky, voice control technology simply isn't at a good enough standard to become mainstream... maybe in a few years!
They've priced this Limited Edition bundle about right and you feel like you're getting a quality package and from one gamer to another i can fully recommend this to you. I hope you enjoy many happy years of gaming with this, it's a great time to be a gamer.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and Enjoy the Last of Us!!!!