So my wonderful wife managed to get me a PS4 for Christmas! I also got a Vita earlier in the year, so I can give my assessment of the PS4 as I put it through it's courses yesterday and last night.
First, I want to point out that over the past few months, I have really been underwhelmed by the reviews and news about both of the new consoles, and I really was leaning towards "what's the big deal?" I am pleased to report that I am very impressed by the PS4 console. The hardware is top notch with excellent build quality. It's odd that it's much smaller than the original PS3 (it's only slightly bigger than the PS3 slim). The best thing about the hardware is it runs very cool. My original PS3 literally heats my 25ft square theatre room - not joking in the slightest - I have no idea how someone could use one of these in a dorm room and not bake themselves alive. As such, the PS4 is extremely quiet. Very happy with it overall in terms of the hardware itself.
Secondly, there aren't many good games for the PS4 right now (actually not many games at all). I got Need for Speed Rivals with it, and I love this game so far. I'm a big racing game fan. While this game was not developed by the Criterion (as Need for Speed Most Wanted was - they also developed my favorite game of all time, Burnout Paradise), it borrows heavily from the Most Wanted series and succeeds in replicating what made those two Criterion developed games so much fun. The game is interesting in that online multiplayer is seamless with the single player objectives. While I was doing some initial playing of single player stuff, there were online racers in the town who interacted with me including challenging to races. All very cool.
As I have the Vita, I was able to give the Remote Play features a good testing. This was the feature I was most looking forward to, and I'm happy to report that it works very, very well - at least in my home. With absolutely NO wired connections involved, I was able to use the PS4 menu with no issues (and unlike the PS3 Remote Play - virtually every menu and function is available to the remote device - only network settings and such are unavailable, for obvious reasons). I was also able to play through the 10 minute tutorial of Need for Speed on my Vita. It played flawlessly with none of the graphical oddities and input delay that were present in PSP/PS3 Remote Play sessions on my same network. I did lose connection twice, but I had hooked my PS4 up in a downstairs bedroom (that has always had wireless issues - I actually have an extender to provide wireless to this room, but the PS4/Vita were in an adhoc connection at the time) and I was using the Vita upstairs while we watched A Christmas Story. (The WiiU cannot transmit between these two rooms very well at all). After my family went to bed, I set the PS4 up in it's permanent spot in our theatre room and then used the Vita from the upstairs bedroom we sleep in. I played for about 2 hours using almost every possible function (various games, the Sony Music Unlimited app, VUDU, Netflix, adjusted settings, connected my phone and tablet via the PS mobile app, etc.). I spent most of the time last night playing NFS, and with the PS4 in a better position (but still about 50-60 feet away with plumbing in between), I did not have a single issue - the graphics appeared almost as good as on the PS4 itself, there was no obvious delay in the inputs, and the online play worked flawlessly. I even started my one month trial of Music Unlimited and queued up some Regina Spektor for my driving pleasure - that also played in the background flawlessly. I actually kept forgetting I was using the PS4 remotely and kept trying to use the touch screen to select items
. I also started up VUDU and went through to some intense action scenes in Dark Knight Rises in HDX (1080p). No buffering issues on the PS4, and the picture was better than watching it on the Flixter app (both VUDU and Flixter access your Ultraviolet files) on my phone or tablet natively. Netflix and Amazon Video were blocked from Remote Play - I'm guessing that was upon the insistence of those two companies. There is a Netflix app on the Vita, so no big deal that I'm missing Amazon video on my Vita. Overall, this implementation of a second screen allowing remote play capabilities shames the WiiU in every way. Now obviously, the PS4/Vita implementation is much more expensive than the WiiU (approx. $600 vs. $300), but you have the added benefit of being able to use the handheld screen as a separate gaming system that is truly portable as opposed to being tied to a bulky console. Also, the Cross Buy and Cross Play games from Sony allow one to purchase a game once and use it on the Vita, PS3, and PS4 and transfer saves seamlessly allowing you to start a game on the PS4, but continue it on the road on the PS Vita. You could then pick it up at a friends house on their PS3 by logging into your account on their box.
Few other details about the PS4. The games (just like with the Xbox One) have to be installed on the hard drive - it's annoying, but since that's been the case with computers since the mid-90s, it's not a big deal - but I'll be adding HDD space in a year or so, I'm sure. The process however is wonderful. I popped the disc in while the launch day update was downloading (Had some issue connecting to the PSN, but it was holiday congestion, I'm sure - at least it's not as bad as Nintendo's issues
), and it just started installing automatically with no input from me at all. You supposedly can play while it is installing, but it installed while I went to use the bathroom (and I wasn't gone long), so I can't attest to that. I'm not sure why, but it seems to download faster than my PS3 does. I really like the interface. Similar to the XMB of the PS3 and PSP (and most Sony TVs) but much more elegant.
Hopefully this game drought will end and there will be a great library for this machine with a lot of potential.
1. Xbox One has better games for now. (I'm especially sour about Titanfall being a true exclusive to Xbox - at least in it's current plans)
2. You have to buy the camera separately for Kinect-like functionality (and it's nowhere near as cool as the Kinect). However, I care not for this functionality. If I want to undulate with my games, I'll pick up my Wii U and play.
3. Lack of DLNA support (so no streaming of your local video or music library); lack of support of any outside media really (it doesn't even support MP3s!). This is a business move, and a stupid one. They are trying to force everyone to buy a subscription to their Sony Music Unlimited service. I will admit, I'm very tempted, as it is a nice service, I don't already have a subscription music service, and and it is nice to be able to play music of my choosing while playing a game. However, this is Apple-style tactics, and I refuse to give into them. They can add support for DLNA and common audio/video files in an update. (I don't see how they can avoid it, as Microsoft made it very clear that they plan on supporting DLNA and multiple audio files formats played locally on the Xbox One).
Well, Knightt, is that a good enough review?
I haven't tried the Remote Play through the internet. I'll give my PS4 a wired connection this weekend and tether my Vita to my phone's 4G to test it. I'm sure it will be ugly, but I was surprised by how well the pure wireless connection worked. Who knows? I might be able to play my PS4 games on the road!
*SQUEE* your science, I have a machine gun.