All conquering PS4??


This is coming from now owning both supposedly ‘next-gen’ systems, and feeling rather underwhelmed by what the PS4 has offered me thus far.  I haven’t played many games on it but do find myself going back to the XB more often than not – and the underwhelming allure of the PS4’s exclusive titles doesn’t help matters.

the order 1886

The latest thing is that the heavily hyped and long awaited The Order 1886 has turned out to be a very disappointing game, despite a lengthy development cycle.  Again another game in Sony’s supposedly killer line-up that fails to live up to it’s potential.  It joins a growing list of games that have failed to completely wow critics or many gamers and warrant that expensive purchase of a new machine.  Yet despite games like Infamous: Second Son, Kill Zone Shadow Fall and Drive Club not delivering – the PS4 continues to fly off the shelves.

driveclub_weather_0

I’m confused.  Since when did tech-specs and NOT games make a machine the biggest and most popular?  Certainly wasn’t the case last generation when the PS3 failed to initially grab people despite technically being superior to the Xbox 360.  It has baffled me this time how brand loyalty or simply good marketing and well, a bit of brainwashing seems to have won over quality entertainment.  I remember owning both the Sega Dreamcast and the Nintendo Gamecube and liking both, with some amazing games on them – but they did not sell, and so quickly they were discontinued by their manufacturers.  This of course isn’t the case for Microsoft’s Xbox One which has done admirably well sales wise despite the PS4’s dominance – but it still means that marketing and brand win over actual quality of games.  Third-party isn’t so bad for Sony’s machine as it usually wins out against the XB for resolution and frame-rate (but not always…) and such has grabbed a lot of media attention and made it look like the console to go for – but now owning both, I find the games on the XB, especially the exclusives like Sunset Overdrive, Titanfall etc. a huge amount of fun.  Microsoft have done a great deal to rectify a difficult start for their new console and I for one applaud their wealth of updates, new features, their excellent games with gold feature and some top notch indie titles.  Yes Sony’s machine has all of these things but often feel limp and lacking compared to how Xbox does things – who just make it all look a lot more attractive.

dualshock4

That then brings me to the consoles themselves.  It’s clear that the touch pad and speaker on the PS4 controller is a gimmick and will get very little use in games, and well, when the speaker does come on, it just doesn’t seem right.  Kind of cool, but a bit annoying.  Also let’s talk about the recording of gameplay features on both consoles.  XB’s Upload Studio is excellent, very easy to use and you can send gameplay to your friends at a click of a button.  Not so on the PS4, with the Share Factory very cumbersome and complicated (but possibly more robust in features) and you can send screenshots to friends – but not gameplay, unless you post it to Facebook or YouTube.  Huh??  Why??

I’ve also mentioned before that the PS4 doesn’t let you attach an external HDD via USB to enlarge your storage capacity (at least as far as storing games on it is concerned – you can back up other media like screenshots or game saves) but the XB allows you to store games on an external HDD – avoiding any awkward tinkering inside the console itself.

So yes it puzzles me just why the PS4 remains so universally loved.  The exclusive games are seriously lacking and the features of the console itself clearly pale in comparison to it’s immediate rival – but hey, its a pretty looking machine, and everyone is talking about it … so that’s all that matters, right?  Sigh.

All next-gen’d out


ps41

I say all, that is if you don’t count the Wii-U.  The other day I finally picked up a PlayStation 4.  Yes I got a PS4 to go with my Xbox One.  All kitted out for this apparent ‘next-gen’ of gaming platforms, and yes feel pretty good about it.  I hesitated for a long time over the PS4, not because I didn’t think it was a good console.  It’s very much a good console, but at the time I chose the XB1, it was the games, primarily the exclusives and well, familiarity and comfort with the brand that made my decision.  A year on, and well, it’s nice to have something new, isn’t it?

I was very much sold by the new ‘glacier white’ edition Sony had released in wake of Destiny, and thought it was a good a time as any to buy.  The games I feel are still not quite there for me, with exclusives like Uncharted 4 and The Order 1886 still scheduled for next year, and it lacks that killer-app compared to XB1 (Sunset Overdrive, to some extent also Halo: The Master Chief Collection) but I did pick the console up with Drive Club.  I also traded some games to get my hands on Assassin’s Creed Unity, one of the best looking multi-platform titles currently available, and that alone shows off my purchase pretty well.

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– direct capture using the ‘share button’ –

What do I think of the machine as far as how it works?  Slick and familiar are the words that come to mind.  The operating system isn’t as colourful or flashy as XB1, and goes for a somewhat clean and smooth version of PS3’s cross media bar which was never that appealing.  Sony haven’t tried anything radically new here but it functions well enough.  I haven’t got to grips with the ‘share’ button or the Share Factory feature, which is PS4’s version of XB1’s Upload and Record That features, and at first glance they look more clunky (but got to love the screen shot capture feature).  I am also quite disappointed that PS4 does not support external HDD’s for improving the storage space (you can use an external HDD but it only allows back ups and the storage of media, not for playing your downloaded games off …unlike XB1), which could be an issue, and I for one would rather not open up my PS4 to install an internal HDD.  It is very fast at installing games off the Blu-ray though…big difference compared to XB1.

Only the future and playing more games will really prove this machine’s value in comparison to the XB1, and I’ve still yet to see the value in the touch-pad or speaker on the controller (which does feel very nice I might add).  Early days but I’ll report more as I find it.

Glacier White PS4