Features// PS4 - The Second Opinion

Posted 29 Nov 2013 17:43 by
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What do you look for in a console? Perhaps it's not too dissimilar to the question, "What you do look for in a man/woman?" All-round fun? Interesting conversation? Good looks (inner and outer)? Up for plenty of hands-on action?

There are others, but they don't fit my stupid analogy, so I'll conveniently ignore them. How one ranks these above attributes is, of course, to each individual's taste. Personally I'm utterly shallow, ranking "hands-on action" and "good looks" way above the rest, but many might be leaning toward a bit of private "all-round entertainer", hiding the ugly little acquisition away from the world.

So where does PS4 place in each of these attributes?

All-round fun
Quite a lot has been said about the PS4 taking a step away from being some sort of "entertainment hub", while Microsoft is pushing this as Xbox One's killer feature. I believe those commentators are idiots, allowing PS4's muted stance on media features, plus the lack of CD playback, and Xbox One's pass-through preachings to distract them from what's happening in the world.

Sony is very much still fighting for the prize stop in the living room. The fact is, we're at a fork in the road, with Microsoft vocally supporting the dominant technology - broadcast TV. Sony, on the other hand, appears to be quietly cutting away from those ties and embracing a world of binge-watching and on-demand consumption from that ?Cloud" thing (what we old folks call "the Internet").

The truth is, Xbox One will do all this too, though it's easily overlook it given Microsoft's crowing over Xbox One's TV pass-through. The point is, PS4 isn't stepping out of the - it's just shrugging off the old fat, and keeping lean and mean for this fight. So the up-shot is this; if you see your TV aerial, cable or satellite dish as the future, and you want one box to rule them all, then PS4 doesn't have the edge. However, if you're happy to "cut the cord" or indeed, never have a cord/dish/antenna (which it seems the "youngsters" are all about), then the PS4 is very much in fight.

Conversation
I'm yet to be convinced that talking to your media device is ever anything anybody really wants to do. Sure, it looks all neat and futuristic, but it's just not there yet. Even Google Now, arguable the best consumer voice control out there, is error prone, even...when...I...talk...like...this.

Don't even get me started on Siri. PS4 voice commands are, at launch, feeble. Seemingly, a bit of an after thought, really. However, if barking commands (waking the kids - or neighbours - in the process) is your bag, then there's promise in that improved voice control is just a software update away.

[b]Good looks/b]
Dear gods, the PS4 is one hottie - both outside (hardware) and in (graphical prowess). Its sleek, rhomboid angles, subtle detailing obscuring the necessary junk - disc slots, vents, USB ports and buttons - means it's too damn pretty to hide in the TV cabinet. It begs to be paraded, proudly the centre of your attention, with its sliver of light a-glow with promise of all possible futures, today.

It's "innards" offer a visual feast, too. The first round of software never comes near to demonstrating the real graphical capability of the hardware - compare PS3's early "Resistance" to the latter day "The Last Of Us". However, that shouldn't hold you back from adopting early. [url=][i]Killzone Shadow Fall[/?i]s[/url] blistering detail - needles of light slicing through rolling mist, the dance of complex shadows, or waves of beating rain - the level of graphical detail that this tight little box can offer, in full 1080p at 60 frames per second, demonstrates both how far ahead this generation is from the last, and holds huge promise for future games as the developers get to grips with the hardware.

Hands-on action
It plays good looking games. What's more to say? A lot, really. I was never unhappy with the old Dual Shock - I don't have huge, fat hands, which seems to help. However, the new controller is a huge leap ahead. After hours playing Killzone, I wasn't suffering from the RSI-like pains I got after lesser sessions on GTAV. It fits more comfortably when using both shoulder and trigger, and the indented sticks are far less prone to "slippage". The master stroke for me, however, is the controller's support of standard wired headphone/mic.

No more does one have to go voiceless in the multiplayer breach because the bloody wireless headset isn't charged. If you're after action of a the more energetic nature, the camera is a clear improvement over the last gen, especially in low-light. It's no Xbox One Kinect, but for me that's no loss - I'm more a "receiver" than a "giver" when it comes to gaming action.

Putting the Move light into the controller is a smart step away from that stupid looking bobble-headed wand, and the built-in Playroom will undoubtedly provide kids with hours of fun. As for the PS4's repertoire, right now it's a bit scarce. That's a bit of a deal breaker for me, if I'm honest. That said, the other team isn't looking too great on that front, so gamers looking for some diversity should probably sit it out for a few months.

Go, Team PS4?
There is, of course, one key issue I left out; staying power. Nobody wants find that today's hot new plaything has blown its wad on day one, only to be is a tomorrow's regret. Given how closely the PS4 runs against the Xbox One on features & capability, developer support is more critical than ever.

Sony appears to have made strides in getting developers on board, and as a gamer that's not insignificant. Both systems have limited out-of-the-gate offerings, but they both provide alternative entertainment while you wait for their really good - exclusive & shared - stuff to arrive early next year.

In terms of tech specs & release titles, it's impossible to decide. For me, given I couldn't give a toss about stuffing TV through my console or have it watch jump around like a tit (and paying extra for the privilege), I'd rather have the prettier, yet slightly gruntier, PS4.
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