Three for Three On PS4s for High-Def Digest Gaming

Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 10:30 AM PST by

One weekend of heavy PS4 use for High-Def Staff has been trouble free.

After more than three days of PS4 use by three members of High-Def Digest staff, and we have run into the following problems:

One HDMI cable already in use did not work, other cables on hand worked fine.

The first 24 hours saw PSN being overloaded, which hampered linking the PS4 to SEN accounts, but did not prevent updating or playing games.

The PS4's footprint took some unexpected accommodation.

An Amazon PSN purchase code had to be entered in two places.

Download queuing priority is not easy to set.

And there you have it, three launch PS4s under heavy use, and hardly an issue worth reporting. It's worth noting though, that as home theater enthusiasts, we have some experience handling electronics, which was a major factor when so many users were bricking their Wii Us last year. (Two are from Amazon and one is from Best Buy.)

Now for some surprises:

'Killzone: Shadow Fall' looks incredible. The first level, which cheats like crazy, looks startlingly good through effective use of high-rez textures and a combination of lighting and a lighting engine that stuns. Once the gameplay opens up proper, the tailored visuals suffer, but still looks very good. (Play the first level of 'Killzone' and then think about Naughty Dog's new PS4 'Uncharted.')

Remote play works way better than expected over a local network. (PS3 remote play experiences be damned.) 'Resogun,' 'Killzone: Shadow Fall,' 'Super Motherload,' 'Assassin's Creed IV,' and 'Knack' all run incredibly well through the Vita, though in a game like 'Killzone,' the Vita's sticks and shoulder buttons will make you miss the DualShock4. The standalone nature of the Vita makes remote play viable in a way that the Wii U hasn't managed.

The DualShock4. Really, the new sticks and shoulder buttons continue to surprise in positive ways, especially when putting the controller down and using an older one.

The sharing. Frankly, this feature is cumbersome, and the results are underwhelming to say the least. Sony needs to make some big changes to level up this much-touted feature.

Installs from disc work well from day one. Shockingly, games requiring 40GB installs are ready to play in seconds.

Third-party games. If you are afraid that the PS4 just means running PS3 games at higher resolutions, than be wary of third-party launch titles.

Next-gen spoiled. Some of the best games of 2014 are for the PS3 and 360, but it will be hard to go back for a number of reasons.

The PS4 is the most unstable console that I have ever seen. And by that, I am referring to the issue caused by the stylish three rubber feet approach. With the new console lacking four proper feet, I had to rethink my plan to place the PS4 in a spot formerly occupied by the 360.

I miss some of the PS3's idiosyncrasies. It's great that the ability to install the game while playing gets you in the game quickly, but it's annoying to either start playing or to let the game finish installing only to load the game and then by notified of an update. Since the game starts installing when you insert the disc, it really should check for an update then. Likewise, I ran into an issue as I was downloading about six games, but wanted to download the little Netflix app. With the games all downloading simultaneously, the Netflix app was at the back of the line, and I couldn't find an option to give it top priority or to pause other downloads, which is a simple process on the PS3. (I had to cancel Warframe and all of it's download progress.)

The two buttons on the console are display only. While I frequently will use the eject button on the PS3, the PS4's buttons are more stylish than functional for me. (A common complaint for the PS3 years back.) It's normal for the console to run a game in the background, so eject from the UI is my preferred way to go.

'Resogun' is a blast. I had to force myself to stop playing both 'Resogun' and 'Super Motherload,' which makes me wish that both games could be saved in place. 'Killzone' is pretty and really makes use of the controller, but the game gameplay bogs down in typical 'Killzone' fashion. Meanwhile, after taking a few years off from 'Assassin's Creed,' the latest game feels like I never left. My attempt to Remote Play 'Knack' while having people over to watch football was not a massive success with 'Knack' being even more unforgiving than I had previously thought.

Finally, in case it isn't clear within various points. The PS4 experience has been great so far, and though the new UI is not exactly the most transparent (the ever present 'Library' list of programs feels very iPhone-ish, which is a huge difference from the PS3's subdivisions and install files,) it seems to work in the slick manner that was intended, and when more games support the 'suspend' function, the multitasking unknown on the PS3 will be the norm.

Author: Brian Hoss

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Tags: Sony, PLaystation (all tags)