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A Weekend with the PS4 - Destructoid

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I used to write blogs trying to write blogs. They're gone now, hidden from the world. I'd rather write with a bit more feeling. It's going to result in much less information being delivered with a lot more rambling, but isn't that better?

I also do the FNF thing. Talk to me if you want to be a part of that.
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Trev
5:08 PM on 12.16.2013

On Friday (the thirteenth, no less) I got a call from Gamestop. They had PS4's. I made a run over on my lunch break and picked it up, along with Killzone. Of course, as Supreme Leader of the PS FNF, I know all of you want to know what I think of the PS4…

Or you don't care, because the first week of release has come and gone.

I wrote a blog anyway.

The Unboxing

Echoing the thoughts of several before me, I was surprised at just how small the PS4 was when I opened the box. The cardboard is really pretty large for what it comes in, but I guess that's the grandiose nature of the next gen coming through. I guess I can appreciate, despite the size of the box, that there wasn't a whole lot of waste in there. I always feel a little pang of guilt when things come in five plastic wrappers and a handful of giant, coated twist ties.

The Setup
Connecting a modern console has never been easier. Well, okay, it's exactly as easy as it was with the PS3. One HDMI, no fooling around trying to push your head through a wall to see if the RCA colors match. The PS4's angled design and the little… support… things act as guides and make it easy to plug things in without looking.

That, of course, is just a lead up to the horror that followed. I went through the initial setup, created my user, updated the firmware. Then, nothing. No video output. No signal. I knew it wasn't a hardware problem because it was just working and the lights were operating properly. Updating the console had switched it to 1080p default and my aging TV, though HD, is 720p/1080i. Restarting the console in safe mode didn't even bring up the menu because my TV wasn't being told to change resolutions. I had to turn the television off and on again before it came up and I was able to reset the resolution on the PS4.

Ultimately everything was fine, but it was still pretty stressful. The update shouldn't reset resolutions like that. I handled it in a matter of minutes because I'm smart, but it would suck for someone who isn't to run into the same problem. Admittedly, part of the problem was me connecting it to a TV that wasn't worthy of the consoles next-geniness, but it's still 99% a problem caused by the update.

The Accessories

I was immediately surprised at how good the controller felt. I've always liked Sony's controllers and I don't think it needed to be changed, but they found a way to improve on perfection. It's a bit wider and the handles are less tapered. While rock solid for a hold, I don't like the lip on the thumbsticks. It's weird to say it accomplishes the goal while I don't like it, but there it is. I also think the new shoulder buttons are going to be less friendly to holding it with four fingers on the top, something I do frequently as a long-time Armored Core player.

There have been complaints about the included headset feeling cheap, but I disagree. It's certainly light weight, but the mic quality is good, the plug and cord joints feel strong, and the cord is longer than my arms. One of the things I disliked about the connected headset on the 360 was that it wasn't and I tugged on it all the time as a result. I still want a separated headset, but I expected far worse from how people were talking. Friday Night Fights usually calls for several trips to the kitchen for a snack or drink. Carrying around a controller so I don't have to stop chatting to get one is a pain in the ass.

The Interface

The setup process was easy, issues aside, and I was left at… well, that. There aren't many parts of this interface I like. In fact, I'd say this section exists just for me to say it's shitty. It's nice to look at, but it's like using the wizard to setup the wireless connection on a laptop, but for everything. To get to the friends list on the PS3, I just had to hold right until it stopped, scroll up or down, and hit triangle to open an action menu on the one I wanted.. On the PS4, I have to hit up to get to the not-XMB, select friends, hit X to actually view the friends list, choose if I want to view online friends or all friends, and then I have to choose a friend, view their profile, hit the button to send a message, just to type "INV".

The main menu, beginning with the "What's New" section, isn't much better. Following some social stuff that's modestly interesting, the last run application is always moved to the front, which means nothing is ever where you left it. It's not much of a problem right now, when I only have a handful of games. However, I checked my download list on the PSN store website and there are 742 items. Yes, some are Vita and PSP. There's probably no shortage of online passes and DLC packs, but even a third of these would extend off the side of my TV, through my kitchen and probably out of my apartment building all together. A string of games that reaches off into the sunset, that's also being rearranged every time I use it is not what i'd call a good system. Why aren't the games in a section like the video stuff?

Oh, and that video stuff… The video services section that appears in the line with the games. It forces me to navigate around things I don't want to download just to get to Netflix. I am never going to install any of these services, stop putting them in front of my eyes, Playstation. I'm only going to find them more annoying as time goes on.

What I want is What's New, Games, Video… Or just the XMB again. If I could get the XMB on my Vita and PS4, I'd be goddamned thrilled.

If anyone knows how to change this stuff, tell me. Maybe I just haven't found the way yet.

The Game...s

Resogun looks so good it's not impressive anymore, which is really impressive. Please, let me try to explain that. When you have a game with normal impressive graphics, you take notice of the gun being extra shiny or the waves looking nice. You ignore all the well done stuff for the exceptional. Everything in Resogun has a million sparks inside and animated shiny bits. It's also got ships with different abilities, a big variety of enemies, multiple objectives and is challenging enough that I didn't just stroll through it.

I've spent most of my time on Realmoneyfr-- Warframe. I got free three-day boosters for XP and credits, and I'm determined to squeeze as much out of them as I can because the whole game is built around wringing money out of players. If you're the type to bitch about GTA Online, don't even download this shit. The gameplay is… pretty okay. Honestly, if it wasn't free I would probably not be playing it. That said, I think it's built in such a way that the majority of your gear can be viable late game due to the modding system and I like that you have to wait real time to craft items. Video games are so immediate, it's kind of interesting to have some anticipation that doesn't involve endless grinding. Also the interface is terrible, especially the mission select.

I also picked up Killzone: Shadow Fall, which I put in but haven't played. It's Warframe until about midnight tonight. Killzone, however, does give me a chance to talk about the update system. It sort of starts updating things without telling you (maybe I just missed the "downloading now" notification), and I don't want to play them unupdated. To view updates, you have to go up to notifications and view them there, which took me a while to figure out because the running app indicator is the same as the updating indicator. I don't know if the update actually installed either. I'm likely going to get into this on Tuesday once I'm back to the pathetic gain rate in Warframe.

I've also heard good things about Need for Speed, but I'm holding off for a bit. I'm going to at least finish the Killzone campaign before I buy another game.
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