So far in our celebration of the PS4’s six-month anniversary, we’ve covered its games library and PlayStation Plus, and now, in our final two articles, we’ll be discussing exactly what makes the console tick. Four months ago, back when the PlayStation 4 was just two months old, we looked at everything we liked and disliked about the console, so we thought it would be fun to revisit those articles, to see just how much the system has evolved since launch.
In many ways, PlayStation Plus really is the foundation of the PS4; and not least because it is now required to play online. It’s definitely true that the PlayStation Network seems a lot more stable than it did on PS3 (for example, the PS Store is miles better than its clunky PS3 equivalent). However, charging for online multiplayer unfortunately doesn’t appear to have reduced the amount of PSN maintenance we have to bear, which often occurs at ridiculous times (like during Bank Holidays).
When it comes down to it though, PS+ is really all about the games, and on that front it’s certainly delivered; from the awesome Resogun and the unforgiving Don’t Starve, to the terrifying Outlast and the hilarious Stick it to the Man, and there’s plenty more to come in the months (and years!) ahead.
Thanks to Cross-Buy, PS3 and Vita gamers can start building their PS4 games library before they even own the console. Since our article four months ago, several new Cross-Buy games have been released on PS4, including the beautiful Child of Light (available on PS4 and PS3), the inventive Fez (PS4, PS3, PS Vita), and the addictive SteamWorld Dig (PS4, PS Vita). In addition, several upcoming games are as good as confirmed as supporting Cross-Buy, including shoot ‘em up/platformer hybrid Velocity 2X and top-down stealth title Volume.
It’s no secret that Sony patched a lot of PS3 features in retroactively (such as trophies and in-game XMB support), so certain services consequently never worked quite as slickly as they perhaps should. However, on the PS4, many big features have been present from the very beginning, including Remote Play, which means that the vast majority of PS4 games can be played on the PS Vita from day one. Playing titles like the recently released PS4 MMO Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn on Vita is genuinely awesome, as it offers a brand new way to experience your favourite games.
The Share button
If you ever want proof of how much gaming has changed in the last 5-10 years, you’ll find no better example than in the PS4’s Share button. Not only have games become more social with the advent of online multiplayer on consoles, but now we can even share singleplayer experiences with the world, by uploading screenshots and gameplay videos, and even broadcasting live as we play. It’s a feature that continues to thrive on PS4, especially since the 1.7 update.
Four months ago, we also included the Share button in our list of things on PS4 that needed improvement, but thanks to the recent patch, that would be extremely unfair. With SHAREfactory, we now have a video editing suite capable of producing professional-looking movies, and the ability to save screenshots and gameplay footage onto USB drives means we can now upload them to our website of choice. It’s still not quite perfect, but it’s definitely getting there.
The Power of PS4
As we stated above, a lot can change in a console generation. Since 2006, dozens of developers have sadly closed their doors, online passes have largely become a thing of the past (thank goodness for that!), and the PlayStation 4 now has the highest quality multiplatform ports around; who on earth saw that one coming?
It’s difficult to broach this topic without sounding like a clueless fanboy, but the fact is that every single multiplatform game to release in the last six months is either superior on PS4, or possesses visual parity between the two biggest current-generation consoles. Although it would obviously be foolish for PlayStation gamers to get complacent, we’d wager that this graphical gap isn’t a trend that looks likely to disappear any time soon.