Tuesday, November 19, 2013

While I didn’t get to spend time with the architect himself, I did get to spend time with the next best thing.

So, as everyone knows, on Friday, out came the PlayStation 4 in North America. And as I had said on Friday, I ended up getting it, as well has having a whole slew of games to play on it. Due to the lack of Twitch archival for PS4 streaming, I wasn’t able to get any video content uploaded to Zero Second Cooldown, so I’m opting to write this instead to just give some of my thoughts on the UI and games that I’ve dealt with so far.

First, the UI. Overall, I think it looks pretty good and it runs pretty well to boot. I feel the log in screen is a lot better than that of the PlayStation 3’s, and I feel that, at least at the moment with not too many games on it, it’s easy to navigate. The bottom row has a “What’s New” icon on the far left, which shows your friends’ activity if they choose to show how many friends they add or the trophies they get, and from there it goes to list all of the games you have on your system, whether they are physical copies that have saves/data on the system or downloadable games, and then all of the TV, music, video, and web browser parts are on the rightmost section of the row.

Hitting up when you’re on this bottom “row” of selectable parts (buttons? Tiles?) brings you up to another section that has the PlayStation Store, your notifications, friends, messages, your profile, trophies, system settings, and the power. Both sections are split up into two neat sections and I think they work really well, and at least at launch with not that many games, the bottom row isn’t’ too clogged, and the top row has all of the important things listed in an easy manner with easy to distinguish icon.

While I did quite like the XMB, I have to say, the PlayStation 4 UI is a lot more preferable to me at the moment. And the way I see it, my opinions on the PlayStation 4 UI could go one of two ways: it could get more clogged as the lifespan of the PS4 increases and I could hate it and it could be too annoying to navigate, or they could make sure it stays easy to navigate through something akin to the folders used on the 3DS, or have some other plan to help improve the UI and make browsing it easy as the lifespan of the PS4 marches on.

Alongside that, the Twitch.tv streaming, or what little I’ve done of it, has worked incredibly well. My only qualm is, of course, the fact that I can’t archive to Twitch, but hopefully that’s changed in the near future.

Of course, what would a console launch be without games to play? The games that I ended up getting were Knack, Killzone Shadow Fall, Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, Need for Speed: Rivals, Knack, Resogun, Sound Shapes, and Contrast. Out of all of these games, the only one I haven’t yet tried as of writing this piece is Contrast, though I look forward to trying it soon.

To put it simply, my two favorite games so far are not the big budget physical releases, but instead the digital releases of Sound Shapes and Resogun have been the games that I’ve been enjoying the most so far without a doubt. Both games are so simplistic in their gameplay, yet so satisfying at the same time, as well as being visually appealing and solid games in just about every department. Those are the two games I’ve probably spent the most time with over the weekend of the PS4 launch, and I do not regret that at all. These are the two games that I feel like every PS4 owner should own no matter what.

As for the physical releases I bought, to be honest, they feel like a bit of a mixed bag. It’s rather usual for console launches: asides from Nintendo Land there wasn’t much I liked with the Wii U launch, and Twilight Princess was really the only enjoyable part of the Wii launch for me. Sony’s first party titles of Knack and Killzone have felt good at best to me so far. I can definitely concede the obvious fact that these games are very solid technically, they just haven’t wow’d or amazed me in any real way. Solid games, but nothing overly special. With Knack you have a mascot platformer/brawler, while with Killzone you have a futuristic first person shooter. While I haven’t tried the multiplayer for Killzone yet, the single player campaign, at least what I’ve played of it, hasn’t impressed me other than graphically.

As for the third party releases of Assassin’s Creed and Need For Speed, it’s a bit of a mixed bag for me. So far, I haven’t been the biggest fan of Assassin’s Creed, though, like some of the other games, I haven’t gotten too far into the single player and hopefully the further I get into it, the more I’ll enjoy it. I find the setting interesting and the graphics to be great, but the gameplay has left much to be desired so far to me. I’ll keep going at it to see how I enjoy it, but it’s been one of my least favorite titles so far. What has surprised me though is how much I’ve enjoyed Need For Speed: Rivals so far. Maybe it’s just the want for a racing game after the delay of Driveclub, but Need For Speed has been an incredibly solid game. Great racing mechanics and an interesting way at handling what are essentially missions, as well as what I’ve heard about the online (which I have not had the chance to try yet) and the graphics and the world are great, it is probably my favorite retail title of the PlayStation 4 launch.

I think that the PlayStation 4 is, overall, a great console that will only get better. The graphics are good, the online is good (aside from the necessity of PS+ for online multiplayer, but at least Sony is making it up to subscribers in some ways), and it’s a console that I feel can and will only get better from here. If you aren’t exactly keen on the launch titles, I would definitely recommend holding back until March when inFAMOUS: Second Son comes out, but the PlayStation 4 is not a bad purchase in the meantime by any means. It’s a good console that lives by its motto: Greatness Awaits.


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