Wishing Mini Game Reviews a Very Happy PlayStation Day
The first thing I would like to do is to thank all the people who helped us at Mini Game Reviews get a PlayStation 4 – thanks everyone, you’re amazing! This is what you helped us buy (see Picture below).
An especially big shout out to: Game Plymouth (Sundial), Simon Fraser, Anna Henriksson, Martin & Lisa of Reclaim You Game , Kristian Schøler & Josephine Benckendoff, Pat & Graham Hatch, & Nikoline Benckendorff (Sorry if I have missed anyone off the list, just drop me a message & I will correct it)
Is it really that small?
The first thing you’ll notice when you get your PS4 is the size of the box. It’s so small. I know everyone says this, but it really is that small. Did I mention it was small? As you can see on the Picture below, the console comes in a nicely laid out box with everything well packaged and nicely bagged up.
If you already own a PlayStation 3, setting up the PlayStation 4 is a simple task of just swapping out the old and putting in the new. All the cables that work for the PS3 work for the PS4, making it no sweat at all (and supplying you with a handy set of extra cables). Connect the Console to the Internet and follow the on screen instructions and it will proceed to download and install the update, and in about 20 minutes (depending on your internet connection speed) you are good to go.
How long do I have to wait before playing a game?
One of the major differences between this new generation of console and the older generation is the need to install the game before you can play it. This means that the first time you put the game-disc into the BluRay drive, it will proceed to install the game automatically. This process seems to take just over a minute, with both KillZone : Shadow Fall and Need For Speed: Rivals both taking around 70 seconds of installation-time each before you are ready to play. If you accidentally (or intentionally, if, like me, you’re just that kind of person) “Start” the game before the installation has completed, a progress bar will appear on-screen and the game will start as soon as the installation is complete.
In conclusion, it’s pretty damned hard to mess this step up, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens when the drive is eventually filled up. I’ll update you all on that scenario when I get enough games to make it happen.
NOTE: One thing I did notice was that if the game has a patch (which it automatically downloads) it does not seem to automatically proceed to install said patch. The installation has to happen manually, or by restarting the game, which can cause some strange errors when you try to join a Multi-Player game.
Back with the PS3/Xbox360, the patch installation was completely Automatic, which seems a lot easier than this “new” method, but this new method does let you get stuck in and gaming while it downloads patches in the background, and all you have to do is quickly quit the game and the patch installs when you start it again and you are flying.
[sarcasm] Is the controller the same as the amazing DualShock 3? [/sarcasm]
I can not begin to express how much of an improvement the DualShock 4 (DS4) is over the DualShock 3 (DS3), this controller is simply amazing. It is weighted perfectly, and fits into your hands like it was meant to be there, unlike the DS3 which, for a while, was the main reason I didn’t use my PS3 for gaming. I actually hated it so much that I went out and bought an adapter for my Xbox controller and put the DS3 on my desk so I could see the button layout whilst I was gaming. So yes, the DS4 is a HUGE step forward. The touch pad is a good idea, and whilst it doesn’t seem to be of much use in the games I’ve played so far, this will be up to the game developers to explore. One of the features that might “jump out at you” is the addition of a speaker on the controller (it’s loud by default; and will probably scare the crap out of your first time something comes out of it), the addition of a speaker is a nice touch and does bring the experiences closer to you when playing certain games.
I only have one issue with the DS4 so far, and this is probably going to sound very odd, but the light on the front of the controller… what is it for? When in-game videos are playing, I have a tendency to bring the controller up to my face (don’t ask me why, I have no explanation) but every time I do it with the DS4 I get blinded by the light*. Needless to say, this habit won’t last much longer. A small complaint, but still, why the useless, blindingly bright light?
*No, not the Manfred Man song.
Does it Drown out my Downtown Abbey?
In a word, no. The previous generation of game consoles are noisy, and we have all gotten very used to this. The PS4, however, is different. It’s quiet, oh so quiet, there is almost no noise at all from the console. The most noise that comes from it is when you start installing games, or when the console has to read the disc to play the games.
The PS4 console was on for most of the weekend and rarely had any downtime at all, and during this time there was next to no heat emission.
So I can watch Downtown Abbey?
Nope. This is something that is rumoured to be changing in the future, but one of the things this console is currently missing is any real Media capabilities. You can’t connect it to an external streaming service (DNLA etc), you can’t even play Audio CD’s, and considering this technology has been around since the 80’s, and you can do it on the PS3, I’m not impressed.
What you can do is watch BBC iPlayer and 5 on Demand, but since neither of those channels show Downtown Abbey, the answer is still no.
As it stands, the PS4 is a GAMES Console, and it doesn’t really do Media at the moment. This might surprise you – you might be like me in that I really did think that the PS4 would be able to do more than it’s currently capable of.
It’s good to Share
One other feature that exists on the PS4 is the ability to share your experiences, share a screen shot or a video. Even though this feature does work, it feels half finished. For example, I can stream a video to Twitch or uStream, but I can only share a video to Facebook, not YouTube, and on top of that I can only share to My personal Facebook page, and not a group. So at the moment all videos are shared on my profile and not on the Mini Game Reviews Facebook page.
The share function, whilst limited, works very well with a simple tap of the share button on the controller (you can change the settings for this button to suit your needs). On standard settings, by tapping it, the PS4 will take a screen shot and also start taking a 15m video.
We might expand on this further in due time, help some of you get the most out of the share feature.
The games do look a lot better on the PS4 than the PS3 or Xbox 360, and so far both Assassin’s Creed IV : Black Flag (Thanks UbiSoft) and Need For Speed : Rivals (Thanks EA) both run at 1080p with no frame drops at all, making them amazingly smooth and a wonderful experience to play, and I love the redesign of the new DS4 controller, it is an absolute joy to use.
Despite the many positive aspects, the PS4 currently has a high price tag, when you add in all the peripherals.
In conclusion, you may not necessarily need the PS4 right now, as most games are still available for current-generation consoles, but eventually you will want to switch. The smoother graphics, better controller, lower noise and heat-level are fantastic improvements on the current generation & whilst the PS4 is currently lacking in features such as media (ever important in these days of sharing), it is still early days, and they are adding features all the time, but all in all I am very pleased with my investment in the future of gaming and next the generation of games.
This article was written by David “udoh” Hatch & Josephine Benckendorff.