The PlayStation 4 has been with consumers for two months now, so we thought this is the perfect time to take a look at what makes it such an awesome console. Sony has clearly demonstrated that it has learnt from all the mistakes of the PS3’s launch, and crafted a console that has truly resonated with gamers around the world.
In the last couple of years, PlayStation Plus has become the keystone of Sony’s business strategy, and as such it’s difficult to imagine the PlayStation brand without it. At E3 last year, the company controversially announced that PS+ is required to play online multiplayer on PS4, which is regrettable, but understandable considering how expensive it is to run an army of servers.
However, of course, the seemingly endless pile of games helps to ease our annoyance considerably. Already on PS4, subscribers have been treated to cylindrical shoot ‘em up Resogun, inventive platformer Contrast, and 2D action-adventure Don’t Starve, with great looking games such as Outlast, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth and Driveclub all confirmed for future updates.
Along with PlayStation Plus, Cross-Buy is definitely one of the most popular services Sony has ever initiated. It was a revolutionary concept upon the release of the PlayStation Vita, so we’re ecstatic that it seems to be sticking around on PlayStation 4 too.
Shortly before the release of the PS4, Sony announced that PSN hits Escape Plan, flOw, Flower and Sound Shapes were coming to the console, and would be free to anyone who already owns them on PS3 and/or Vita. Even third-party studios are getting in on the action; any previously purchased tables on Zen Pinball 2 can be downloaded on PS4 for free. Now, if only Sony would finally announce a PS4 version of Journey.
The PlayStation Vita is a great console in its own right – awesome games like Killzone: Mercenary and Tearaway have really reinvigorated the console in the last few months – but with the release of the PlayStation 4, the handheld became almost an essential purchase, and is the perfect companion to its big brother.
Having the option to play PS4 games on the Vita is quite frankly amazing, and for the most part is as smooth an experience as we could have hoped. Not only does it come in handy if someone else wants to use the TV, but it’s also great if you fancy taking down a few fools in Killzone: Shadow Fall when you’re nowhere near a PS4; all you need is a Wi-Fi connection.
The Share button
From the moment it was announced, Sony has been banging on about the PS4’s Share button, and once we got to try it for ourselves it was easy to see why. It’s clearly been designed to evolve over time, but the suite of options at launch is a great sign of things to come.
With a simple press of a button, you can share screenshots and gameplay videos on Facebook, and even stream your game session live on Twitch and Ustream; ‘Live from PlayStation’ (accessed from the Dynamic Menu) is an awesome hub of PS4 gaming goodness. Earlier this month it was announced that over 1.7 million gameplay broadcasts have been streamed on PS4; a figure that is now likely to be significantly higher.
The Power of PS4
The competition may not be able to notice the difference, but the fact is that an ever-growing list of multiplatform games (including Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts and now Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition) undeniably perform better on PlayStation 4 than its closest rival; whether it’s with a higher resolution or a smoother framerate. In other words, it’s exactly the opposite of what happened last generation.
The technical prowess of the first wave of games on PS4 – from both first- and third-party developers – has been extremely impressive, so we look forward to seeing exactly what is possible on Sony’s machine in the months and years to come.