Crew View: The PlayStation 4 – Failure to launch?
You may have seen a merry band of miscreants, known as the DLC Crew, causing a ruckus in our podcast chatroom or Facebook page. Sporadically on Sunday we’ll be giving a crew member the chance to pipe up and voice their opinions. First up is forum big wig Snake.
It was the 19th of May 2013. I pre-ordered my PS4 and was all aboard the hype train. Remote play, 1080p HD gaming and its new social networking integration drawcards all started the train rolling into Station Snake Mountain. As the months rolled on E3 added even more hype to the train and with the clusterfuck that was the Microsoft Marketing campaign nothing could derail Sony. Most of the DLC Crew members were firmly in the PS4 camp with only 1 or 2 still aboard the USS MS Titanic.
November launch time rocked around, painfully slow after a six month wait, and even the two weeks between the US launch and ours seemed like six months in itself. The 29th simply could not come around fast enough.
The two weeks between launches the PlayStation 4 started to show the cracks in its armour which traditionally come with every console launch., consoles dead on arrival with hazy figures of the said consoles, be it 1% of units shipped or 1% of units sold. Yet none of this dampened my excitement. My console was already fully paid off. My three launch titles sorted. I even managed to get my local EB Games Manager to wait for me to finish work on the Thursday so I could pick it all up at midnight.
Thursday 28th November 2013, 4pm to midnight was the longest shift of work this year, but 12:30am saw me at EB with one sexy new PlayStation 4, Battlefield 4, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Killzone: Shadow Fall and the PS camera firmly in my hands and a whopping big smile on my face. Exhausted and suffering from a distinct lack of light in my man/gaming cave I decide to wait until morning to set it up (and hopefully to avoid a dead console by inserting the HDMI cable incorrectly).
Setting it up was too easy. All the fears of bent ports were laid to rest with only the issue coming from updating requiring a PC to USB download rather than a direct console update. After half an hour of setting it up, once again I needed to go to work, damn it. The next day saw the age old argument every partner uses, “you save it for Christmas, so you can see your son’s face when he gives it to you”. Crap. So back it went into the box, bitch-slaps were given by the DLC crew and the long wait until December 25th began.
Do I regret my decision? Yes and no. Yes, because in my limited playing time to that point I wasn’t spending it with my friends, but was able to finish off many PlayStation 3 games and significantly reduced my pile of shame. No, because in the extra month of waiting I had to endure I was seeing some of the problems with the major releases on the console.
My game of choice, Battlefield 4 was broken. Killzone: Shadow Fall was all nice and pretty but the multiplayer was reviewing averagely with no clan support. These problems were slowly getting addressed and I’m glad I waited. Having a young son and working nights means my gaming time is very limited and I would have been raging if those precious few gaming nights I have to myself were ruined by broken games and network failures.
So now that I have it in my hands, does it live up to the hype? The console itself sure does. Its sleek design looks brilliant as it sits right in front of my TV. The orange glow of the standby light fits in nicely with the ambience of my gaming room. I almost feel the room is now complete, with the exception of one missing poster to cover the last bit of naked wall space.
I’m in love with the new controller, the DualShock 4. It is everything the DualShock 2 wasn’t. It feels great in your hands, the bumper triggers are no longer awkward to use and the thumbsticks are now perfect [except for the plastic wearing away on the left nub – Ed]. The touchpad is an interesting addition and other than its use in KillZone: Shadow Fall I haven’t seen it really utilised. That said, it is used to great effect in Killzone. It feels natural to swipe and control your robotic OWL drone companion. I can’t wait to see what other uses it will be put to later down the track as more developers start to incorporate it into gameplay.
The interface itself is clean and easy to navigate. I love the added features like real name support and what’s happen recently in the feeds from your friends. The only thing missing from it are the themes. I love my PS3 themes. Being able to personalise the console is a big deal to me and I would have loved to see them carry it across. I also picked up the new PS Camera. It is sleek compared to the PS Eye (PS3 Camera). It no longer takes up a precious USB slot as it now connects to the rear of the unit.
Once the camera is running it adds face recognition to the PS4, so it will log you in once the power is on and you pick up a controller. Call me crazy but I’d love it if it could do it power on the PS4 once you picked up the controller, but I guess people complained about that with the Xbox One, so Sony ditched the idea. The limited voice control also works quite well. It’s not like the XBox One’s Kinect so it doesn’t control everything, but it works well enough for taking screenshots, exiting applications or games and powering the console down.
My only bad experience with the console so far is I can’t get my PlayStation Vita to connect to it via remote play. Keeps telling me my connection is too slow and I had a day or two so far where I couldn’t send messages from my PS4. This left me using the companion applications for the iPhone and iPad (they are available for Android too) to send them. The companion apps work beautifully in tandem with the console, becoming a second screen when linked.
My time with the games so far has been restricted to the single player campaigns as my Internet is playing up. Hopefully by the time you ‘e reading this and you will find me once again on the field of battle with the Crew (and by this I mean Battlefield 4 multiplayer, of course). In reality, my negative experiences have just come from my friends and what people are saying on the web. Most of this is concerned with online play and while it is unfortunate now, hopefully patches will be rolled out soon to fix the major problems of getting kicked or dropped from games or not being able to connect [and are no longer an issue as of the last week or so – Ed].
I think what let this launch down the most were the games. For a console all about the social gaming and sharing those experiences with a touch of a button, some titles are best played alone to avoid the rage some of the biggest launch titles are causing. While I haven’t experience it firsthand yet, I’m seeing the anger on forums across the net. We need to remember though, there are problems every launch. This time, it’s a little different, as most seem to lie with the games and not the console itself and it won’t be like this forever. Patches are rolling out, the games are getting fixed and the PlayStation 4 will reach its full potential. By the time the second and third shipments arrive on our shores I’m sure the console will be enjoyed to it fullest.
Written by Matt White; PSN – SnakeAUS Twitter – @Snakeaus Web – www.dlccrew.com