PlayStation 4 enthousiasm

Finally, after a lot of going back and forward, and a few rounds of interrogating my friend Sean, I bought a black PlayStation 4. I was seriously thinking of buying an Xbox One because of the great IP they have; Gears of War, Halo, Quantum Break and Sunset Overdrive. But, in my opinion, the best gaming platform is the one where most of your friends are. I’ve had the PS4 for a few days now and I want to share some thoughts after my initial wave of enthousiasm.

The box

The box itself, the PlayStation 4 is really nice to look at. It’s lighter than the PS3 (Slim) and just looks way smaller. The footprint of the box is similar, though. When turning on the PS4 the only indication it’s actually on is the strip of light on top. Other than that, the PS4 barely makes any noise. When compared, the PS3 sounds like a vacuum cleaner.

There’s no real button to turn the PS4 on. It’s all integrated into the front. Even the USB ports are flush with the plastic which gives it a stealthy look.

Setup

I excepted the PS4 to update itself endlessly on first powering up the device. I expect updates because the PS3 had a way of updating itself every time I tried using it, and downloads used to take hours, not minutes. But with the PS4 it’s different. The OS update went smooth and fast and after a few minutes I was logged into PlayStation Network and I could start downloading my games.

Speed

Switching between games, the PlayStation Store, the messaging system and notifications is really god damn fast. The PlayStation Store used to take almost a minute to load on my old PS3. On the PS4 it seems like every app is constantly running in the background. It’s almost as fast as alt-tabbing between applications on a desktop computer. Even switching between two games is effortless. I found myself switching between games a few times and the load times are almost zero. There’s a nice animation when switching between a game and the PS4 dashboard which never lags or stutters. It just feels well engineered.

One thing that’s still slow is downloading games from PSN. The average game on PS4 is now around 18 GB and, even on 200 Mbit/s down, it’s taking a good few hours before the entire game is ‘installed’, which means it’s done downloading all content. As a solution of sorts, Sony built it so that you start playing a game before everything is downloaded by getting the first few GB’s of data and then download the remainder in the background. This saved my first night with the PS4 from becoming a staring-at-progress-bars kind of night.

Controller

I would like to make a public apology for whining about the controller’s triggers before I got my hands on one. I expected the triggers to be just as horrible as it was with the PS3. But the triggers on this one are actually pretty fucking great. Dare I say even better than the triggers on the Xbox 360 controller.

The controller is big and chunky, which I personally like, but also quite light. I still don’t know what the light bar does. Battery life is horrible at just 5 or 6 hours. During long sessions (has the weekend arrived yet?) I might just plug the controller in using a long(er) USB cable. But I think Sony can do better on the battery life.

Games

Driveclub wasn’t available at my favorite shop so I bought it on PSN, just like Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare. In all, I bought 0 retail copies of my games and I plan on keeping it like that. I’m used to downloading my games because I’m an avid user of Steam and Origin on PC. I can’t imagine ever popping in a disc, it’s so 90’s.

Driveclub

I primarily bought a PS4 so I can play Driveclub. It’s a jaw dropping, beautiful, racing game. I had to get used to the physics quite a bit coming from Gran Turismo 6 because the cars in Driveclub feel heavy. Everything else I wanted to say about Driveclub is in Sean’s review. Sean did a much better job of describing the experience that is Driveclub than I ever can. Go read that instead.

Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare

Like Gears of War, but with plants. The multiplayer of PvZ is the most fun I’ve had with a shooter in a very long time. It’s so much fun defending your garden, shooting hordes of zombies and collecting stickers along the way. The amount of stickers you collect racks up quite fast. Using stickers you can add more plants to your line of defense. You also level up your characters by playing more. You can get new weapons and abilities for each class.

Anyway, there’s a lot to do in PvZ and I’m planning on playing this game forever.

Share play

Share Play connects my controller over the internet to a PS4 far, far away. I tried Share Play with Little Big Planet 3 and the first few moments result in serious lag. In fact, the frame rate never really caught up. But it’s a nice feature nonetheless as it allows people to help out friends with a tough level or to demo something before buying a game.