REVIEW: SONY PLAY STATION 4
The PlayStation 4 offers a wide variety of gaming experiences, and its PlayStation Plus service awards players with two free PS4 games each month.
This console lacks video chat and many multimedia apps.
The PS4 has everything you want in a console: great games, interesting features and long-term value.
As the new generation of gaming consoles competes to gain a foothold in your home, each manufacturer is constantly updating its consoles with new system updates, apps and – most importantly – games. The Sony PlayStation 4 is the best video game console, offering the most advanced features, an excellent variety of games and some innovative new tech.
The PS4 offers markedly better graphics and games than the previous-generation consoles and appeals to both gamers and media lovers. Although it is a capable media hub, the PS4 primarily focuses on high-quality video games, providing smoother, more immersive gameplay than any other console. The system comes with a 500GB hard drive, and if you need more storage space, Sony offers simple instructions for installing a new hard drive of your choice. The system is constantly improving with free and regular system updates, and if you subscribe to PlayStation Plus you’ll get access to even more value. Because of all this, the Sony PlayStation 4 earns our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
Without getting into too much detail, the Sony PlayStation 4 resembles a gaming PC in build and programming. The primary complaint many developers had against the PS3 was its unique hardware and programming language, and gamers suffered with inferior multiplatform games. Thanks to the PS4’s use of familiar hardware and standardized programming languages, developers don’t have to work as hard porting their games to the new console.
The PS4 uses a modified 8-core AMD x86 processor with a speed of 2.75GHz, making it the fastest of the new consoles. However, few gamers will notice a difference in the system performance between the three major consoles. The people who will notice this improvement are those developing games for the system, so gamers will have an ever-increasing list of great gameplay experiences to enjoy in the coming years.
The PlayStation 4 uses a modified AMD Radeon graphics processor to produce far better graphics than the PS3 can muster. The most notable improvement in the new console is the level of texture detail and the lighting effects. For example, in the free-to-play “Blacklight: Retribution,” some levels have bright light sources, and players who can get their backs to the bright lights will have an advantage against their opponents. Unfortunately, few games utilize the DualShock 4’s touchpad or the optional PlayStation Camera.
This video game console truly distinguishes itself in its high-speed RAM. With 8GB of memory available, PS4 games will install faster than previous consoles and load without any clipping or lag. Also, by double tapping the PlayStation button on the DualShock 4 controller, you can quickly switch between two programs.
One major problem with new-gen consoles is the small hard drives. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have 500GB hard drives. All PS4 games must be installed to the hard drive, so the most involved gamers will fill their hard drives up quickly. Fortunately, the PlayStation 4 allows you to change the hard drive by sliding off the top of the console and loosening a single screw. Sony’s website offers detailed requirements and instructions.
The PlayStation 4 sees many improvements from the PS3. First, the PS4 user interface organizes all apps and games in the main hub. The far left shows your friends’ recent activities as well as news about your games. Then, each game and app is organized from left to right in the order you last played it. You can view a dropdown menu on every game that will show you the percentage of trophies you’ve earned, your friends’ activity in the games and news. On the far right, the library shows all of your games, including titles you may have deleted from the hard drive. At this point, the PS4 does not allow you to organize the hub, although you can limit the number of games and apps that will appear on the home screen. We prefer having a way to organize games alphabetically or in custom folders.
A PlayStation Plus subscription is required to play games online or enjoy cross-game and party chat. For $50 (approx. PhP 4,700) a year, you get much more than just online play: a single Plus subscription applies to the PS4, PS3 and Vita, and Sony gives subscribers two free games per system each month. These games are yours to keep as long as you have an active Plus account. Also, you do not need a Plus subscription to enjoy free-to-play games, stream or share gameplay online, or access premium services like Netflix.
The console includes a headset to encourage communication during online play. The headset is a simple earbud and mic, but it is a great start for players jumping online. You can also use the headset when streaming gameplay through Twitch or Ustream. The headset uses a standard headphone jack, and you can route all audio to the controller.
The PS4 includes some excellent extra features to maximize the experience. You can use the PlayStation Vita as an alternate remote control or to play PS4 games through Wi-Fi. The DualShock 4 is a major improvement from any previous PlayStation controller, offering better grips and buttons and an all-new touchpad. Lastly, if you purchase the optional PlayStation Camera, you can utilize voice commands and broadcast your face while you stream the gameplay.
MULTIMEDIA & SOCIAL
The PlayStation 4 isn’t at the same level as the PS3 in media features. While it supports 4K video playback, it does not offer many entertainment apps. There are several video and music apps, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, WWE Network and YouTube. However, the system still lacks apps for HBOGo and other on-demand video services.
You can link your PlayStation Network account to your Facebook and Twitter to share trophies, activity and gameplay. There is also a mobile app that allows you to check emails and join party chats from anywhere. The biggest disappointment is the lack of a video chat service. Since the PlayStation Camera is such a popular peripheral, it would make sense that the PS4 would utilize some sort of cross-platform chat service like Skype or Google Hangouts.
HELP & SUPPORT
Sony takes care of its customers, and you will always have great support for your PlayStation 4. Although the home console only has a one-year warranty – a standard for consoles – you can contact Sony customer support representatives by phone and live chat. There is also a detailed FAQs section and an active user forum, where you can discuss your questions with other users. Finally, if you cannot access a system update from your console, you can download the updates online and apply them to the PS4 via USB.
The PlayStation 4 is the best video game console. Its PC-like components promise a reliable gaming experience with continued innovation, and if you fill up your hard drive, you can install a replacement with ease. Sony regularly issues system patches to improve the console. The PS4 offers huge improvements from the last generation of consoles, most notably high-quality versions of multiplatform games and improved technology, and the system sets a high bar for all other video game consoles on the market.