First impressions are always important, and a new console release is no exception, especially one as big as the Playstation 4 Launch! Although rocky at first, the Playstation 4 first impression that I was given was one that makes me very excited that I purchased the console. Even with the limited launch titles, the Playstation 4 is going to give gamers a phenomenal experience that they will be glad to be a part of.
Rocky at first
Now, the first and worst impression I got from the console was that I could not connect my Playstation Network account to my Playstation 4, with the console citing that the "Sony Entertainment Network is currently undergoing maintenance" while their twitter said otherwise. This was, of course, after I had some issues installing the 1.50 update, which was easily recitified by installing with a USB Drive! After some tinkering, and switching from a wi-fi to ethernet connection, I was able to download my profile and get playing! I was unable to get the console to notice I had PS Plus, but then found that you have to go to Settings > PSN > Update Licenses to make sure that everything transfers over! After that, I started having fun!
The updated interface has been flipped and moved around, with the buttons being moved for settings and such, and others outright being replaced. There is no longer a button for games, as you can just press down to view your titles or library as well as browser, music unlimited and more. It's incredibly fast, and much faster than the UI that was on the Playstation 3. In the middle of game, you can press the Playstation button, and you will (like the PS3) have access to the Store, Browser, your Trophies, friends and more! Then, when you're done shooting some trash talk to a friend, you can hop right back into your game where you were.
The first surprise, and something that I hadn't noticed before, was when my controller started talking to me. After downloading the free (from PS Plus) copy of Resogun and firing it up, my controller actually started telling me things that were going on, such as "human died" when a human died in-game, or when enemies were inbound. This is an extremely cool feature that I hope developers get on board with!
Sharing, is really cool, and I don't just mean sharing your toys. The sharing of photos and video instantaneously from the Playstation 4 is really cool. When I was playing Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, I had a ship crash into me and with the quick press of the share button, I was able to share the screenshot of it with the caption of "oops!" to my Facebook and Twitter. You can also press the share button to take your last 15 minutes of gameplay, or from the start of your game (constantly saved to the HDD, but actually captured once you hit the share button), to share video that can be cropped before you share it. Overall, the sharing works as intended, and I'll be checking out twitch streaming later this week!
The controller is a whole new design, and one that has become very streamlined and fluid, making it perfect for gaming. The handles have been elongated, making for a more comfortable grip and the joysticks have been depressed, which makes long periods of gaming easier if you start to sweat! For those that didn't know as well, the controller's charging port has been changed to a micro-USB port, and a slot and plug hole have been added for wired communication!
Playstation Vita Remote Play
I only tested this part briefly, as I was on the same network with the Vita as I was with the PS4. After updating to the 3.00 update for the Playstation Vita, you can link a PS4 to the handheld console by entering the code given to you buy your PS4 in the Settings > PS Vita Connection Settings and input it into the new app on the Vita. It then allows you to do either Second Screen or Remote Play, meaning you can either use the TV and Vita at the same time (much like the WiiU) with the controller being overridden by the Vita, or you can stream everything to the Vita and use it exclusively (I will test this in various locations during the week for my review) over the network/internet! It was flawless over the same network, and it is worth noting your graphics will be dumbed down a bit, but otherwise still look great! This can be done with any game, and worked great with Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.
Overall, the first impression that the Playstation 4 gives is a lasting one that is fantastic, so long as you didn't have too many startup issues with the console. Mine may have taken a while to figure out, but every console release is not without its bugs. The software is quick and effective, doing a great job getting you places quickly and without load times, and the game selection (while limited) really works out great on the console. The combination of the Vita and PS4 is also a one-two punch that really opens you up on what you can do with the console. Obviously, there are no pre-orders to be found at most places at this point, but the PS4 is definitely worth a buy.
Note: Only a few hours were spent testing and playing with the console, but we will have a review up by the end of this week.
Update: We also released our Unboxing Video!