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Customer Review

222 of 258 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Generally fun, but there's no need to rush out and get one., 28 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Sony PlayStation 4 500GB Console (Black) (Console)
After owning the console for a couple of months my impressions are generally positive, but it's yet to 'blow' me away with what I would consider a 'next gen' experience. The bottom line is that I'm sure great things are to come, but they're still a little while off.

My advice would be to hold out on buying this console, at least until some better games are released or the price has dropped - as at the moment you're really not missing out on much!

Compared to the juggernaut Xbox 360 (which I previously owned and loved), the PS4 is small, discrete and most pleasingly quiet! As seems to be the standard with modern consoles, it can be positioned horizontally or vertically. The only niggle about the design is the angled front and back of the machine, which may make it awkward for positioning in tight spaces.

Moving from the Xbox 360 gamepad to the PS4's was a bit of a challenge and took about a week or so to get accustomed to. I still think the Xbox 360 gamepad is superior, but the redesigned PS4 gamepad is a great step up from its previous iteration. What I love the most about the PS4 gamepad is the inclusion of the headphone port. It's just one of those small design details that makes a big difference. I often prefer playing games on headphones and therefore having to continually plug headphones in and out of a TV is a bit of a nuisance. There doesn't seem to be any degradation in the sound quality either when streaming from the gamepad.

However it's let down slightly by the battery life, you'll probably get around 6-8 hours on a standard charge (via standard mini usb cable). The touchpad is an interesting addition but is under utilised in applications and current games. To be honest I don't have much desire to use the 'Share' button, but I'm sure offers will enjoy this. The 'options' button is a bit awkwardly positioned, making it difficult to press quickly or accurately.

The operating system and homescreen are slick and fast, presented with a soothing blue wash of colour and ambient music (I like this, but it'll probably annoy people). However the organisation of the homescreen could do with some improvements, settings and options are often hidden away in less than intuitive places. The ability to seamlessly jump in and out of games via the Playstation button on the gamepad is convenient, but I'd prefer the ability to quickly jump from one game into another - this isn't possible as applications must be closed before starting another.

Having to install games, even after purchasing it on a disc is frustrating and something I believe the console experience should eliminate. Those who prefer to purchase their games on a disc seem to be at a disadvantage, as you must still insert the disc when playing a game, whereas those who download can simply browse titles and launch through the homescreen. No doubt this is to encourage a shift to digital distribution.

Playing DVD's and Blu Rays is hassle free as would be expected. At launch the console supports, Netflix, Love Film and iPlayer (amongst others). However it's still missing apps for 4oD and iTVPlayer.

In regards to the social features, you can can watch live video streams broadcast from other people's cameras (sold sep) or watch others play games live - not something I'm particularly interested to be honest.

The initial setup was a little frustrating, requiring a number of registration steps (pretty irritating inputting details on a gamepad) followed by gigabytes of system and game updates. Don't be fooled into thinking you'll be up and playing right away, it'll take you the best part of an hour (that's with a fast internet connection) to get things up and running. *Unlike the PS3, you'll have to subscribe to Playstation Plus in order to access the multiplayer elements of your games - a year's subscription will set you back around £40! I don't appreciate having to pay additional fees to play games I've already paid for - but the Playstation Plus does offer some nice discounts and 'free' access to games (which have been pretty good so far) - so this does soften the blow.*

Overall I was pretty underwhelmed by the offering of games at launch and this is why I've rated the console with three stars. Some people may disagree with this, but as an early adopter this has significantly tainted my experience of the console. I remember when I first got my PS2 or my Xbox 360 - there were those classic 'wow' moments where I first experience what the console could offer. However I've not really experienced that with the PS4.

I purchased the system with Battlefield 4 and later purchased COD: Ghosts, Assassin's Creed 4 and Killzone: Shadow Fall.

Overall the launch offering of games is nothing short but dire. BF4 and COD do not provide the graphical jump in performance that I was expecting from a next generation console, looking at best like slightly tarted up versions of the previous gen iterations. The single player on both of these games is very poor, predictable and offers nothing new to the stagnating FPS genre. COD has become nothing more than a shooting gallery and BF4 has some of the worst writing I've ever experienced in a single player game.

Multiplayer is slightly more fun, but doesn't live up to the hype generated, particularly by BF4 and the mammoth PR machine it deployed. They'll keep you amused, but those who've played these sorts of games for years will probably tire quickly, overall these games feel like uninspired franchise rehashes rushed out to meet the release of the consoles (no doubt the reasons behind the countless BF4 glitches and COD framerate issues).

Initially Killzone does provide some hope, it looks absolutely beautiful and if you want something to show off the capability of the console then have a look at this game. It comes close to achieving that 'wow' factor but just falls short. It has a strong opening but unfortunately is unable to maintain this throughout the game. I'd say the single player is slightly more interesting than the previously mentioned games, but the multiplayer offers nothing new.

Assassin's Creed 4 is perhaps the only game (out of the 4 mentioned) that has any depth to it. I'm still playing the single player and getting lots of fun out of it. This was my first AC experience, so I can't comment on what it's like compared to previous versions, but it has a lot to offer in terms of side missions and challenges. At times the game looks stunning, but overall I wouldn't say I was blown away by what I was seeing on screen. Some of the dialogue and audio can sound a bit dodgy as well.

The surprise performer here is actually a game called Resogun (free download on PSN) - it's a very addictive, but simple side scrolling shooter with some crazy and stunning particle effects. It is a LOT of fun and well worth checking out.

Yes, the PS4 holds lots of promise, recent announcements such as Playstation Now (allowing you to stream a back catalogue of classic games) suggest great things are to come - they're just not here yet! if you're sitting on the fence about whether to take the plunge, I'd say that there's no harm in waiting. The price is only going to fall and as of yet there are no games that really justify the move to this console. Don't be pulled in by the hype, although the PS4 is a lovely console, it just hasn't done anything interesting yet!

Compact, pleasing design and quiet
Controller - especially the provision of a headphone port
Being able to instantly jump in and out of games
What is coming in the future

Poor range of games at launch
Not convinced it offers a 'next gen' experience yet
Installing updates and games is a pain
Homescreen and settings could be better organised.

*EDIT* -10/02/14 - I confused PSN with Playstation Plus - this has been corrected.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Feb 2014 01:11:54 GMT
Y. Yaman says:
Fantastic review. Thanks.

Posted on 10 Feb 2014 14:00:14 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Feb 2014 14:06:35 GMT
Karl BEFAYT says:
Nice review, helpful for sceptic potential buyers. To be honest, since the PS3, there's no need to rush and buy a console, especially a PlayStation, and it's wiser to wait at the very least 1 year, so that they improve it (first models are always unstable) and give time for developers to do something worth the shot. The longer, the better, as the saying goes.

One thing to correct in your review, though, as it will mislead newcomers to the PlayStation world : " I still don't appreciate having to pay a yearly subscription to play games online " -> Totally wrong on that part, you do NOT have to pay a yearly (nor any other duration) subscription to be able to play online, and Sony can be proud of that, as their PSN (PlayStation Network) is totally free (even browsing the PS Store, thank God). You are talking about the PlayStation Plus subscription, which is totally optional. If you subscribed to it, you will have free games (1 new each month, usually the best graded: I got Dead or Alive 5, Hitman Absolution, Farcry 3, Battlefield 3, DmC; among others for PS3) to play with, discounts on many games as well as DLCs, avatars, themes and so forth. You will also be able to test a FULL game (hence, not a demo) for 1 day, and if you decide to buy it, you will keep your progress (saves, trophies, etc.) nd the data itself, of course.

Once again, the yearly subscription is for the PlayStation Plus service, and NOTHING else, and is totally optional. I might also add that there are frequent discounts on the PlayStation Store, independently of the PS Plus offers and discounts.

On a side note, digital content might be an advantage, provided the console doesn't freeze every now and then : " Those who prefer to purchase their games on a disc seem to be at a disadvantage, as you must still insert the disc when playing a game, whereas those who download can simply browse titles and launch through the homescreen. " -> Yup, that would be awesome to stay put in your couch, unfortunately, the PS3 freezes too frequently, and if you have the digital game, you're done, and I mean big time, because you need to shut down the console. But if you own the disc version of the game and the console freezes, you can eject the disc and the console will come back to its homescreen. At least, that is the case on PS3. Hopefully they fixed the memory issue with the PS4 to prevent it from freezing.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Feb 2014 14:24:31 GMT
Pross says:
Hey Karl - glad you liked it. I agree with the early adoption part, normally I'm a bit more patient - but my Xbox was on its last legs and I wanted an excuse to get rid of it.

Unfortunately on the PS4 there are a number of changes - (unlike the PS3) you do actually have to pay a subscription fee in order to play online, but I wasn't clear with the name of the service, you're correct to identify the difference between PSN and Playstation Plus (sorry that's my unfamiliarity with the brands) - I'll amend that. However to confirm, you are required a Playstation Plus subscription in order to access multiplayer aspects of games a quick google search will confirm that! I'm sure this will be frustrating to those upgrading from PS3 - I'm used to it with Xbox360 - but still don't agree with it!

However the Playstation Plus does seem to be much better for value than what I got with my previous Xbox Live subscription. I've already accessed a number of the exclusive offerings and discounts it provides and I'd argue the games offered so far are pretty good! I just hope that Playstation Now is included within this subscription, instead of adding another charge.

I've not owned a PS3 so can't comment on past problems. To be honest there are downsides with either content type, but I'm sure digital distribution will take up a larger adoption with this generation of console, especially with increasing internet speeds in homes across the country. However at the moment I think the pricing is all wrong - most digital downloads of games are either as expensive or between £5-15 more expensive than disc based versions of the same game (if you shop around). The problem with the digital distribution is that it locks distribution down into a single store and therefore eliminates price competition! Not good for the consumer.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2014 09:59:50 BDT
James says:
No, if you wish to play online on a PS4, PS plus subscription is required, priced at £5.49 a month (although can be purchased cheaper if you buy more months at a time). It is still free on PS3 however.

Posted on 8 Jun 2014 20:17:49 BDT
G.Russell says:
Very helpful and objective review. Thank you.

Posted on 9 Oct 2014 12:00:35 BDT
D. Krol says:
A great and balanced review buddy, I have to admit, i was disappointed with mine if I'm honest, it is better than the PS3 in a lot of ways but like yourself, I did expect a lot more from the console. I had a bit of a to and fro with a chap, who vigorously defended the PS4 like it was his best friend on my PS4 review, and i do know the console has its fair share of fans and anti fans. I do like mine but I just wish i had done a bit more research before trading up my PS3 with all of the extras i had with it (camera, phones, PSmove etc) It's just so unrealistically expensive to buy these types of upgrades for the PS4 at the moment and I expected the games to be much larger than thier PS3 counterparts, considering the price differences. Like the chap I've been having the heated debate with said, in time the games will get bigger and make more use of the PS4's capabilities, I hope he's right. I have so far played Metal gear solid 5 ground zeros, Infamous second son, Assasins creed black flag, Worms battlegrounds, Knack, Soul suspect and Putty squad and have been disappointed with nearly all of them. Like you said, it has yet to blow me away with the next gen experience. i have also heard that Thief, Watchdogs and quite a few other PS4 games are really disappointing too (shame, as i did like the looks of them from the trailers) can only hope that things do get better as time passes. Also, I wasn't overly impressed with all the restrictions placed on the console (not being able to play PS3 games, not being allowed to play music and movies from a USB stick, not being able to view certain internet sites unless you download a different IS or Media player - which Sony don't allow etc). We can only hopw there's bigger and better things in the pipeline for the PS4 mate, I'm sure there are but for now it seems we're stuck with mediocrity. Once again, a good balanced review, enjoyed the read :-)
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