While the PS4 lacks the multiple OS’s of the competing Xbox One, it’s still consistently evident that the processing power is much improved over the PS3! In fact, if you use a PS4 and then try to go back to a PS3, the PS3 feels extremely clunky and sluggish by comparison. You’ll wonder how you ever put up with so many lengthy firmware/update installs, PlayStation Store loads and slowed animations throughout the PS3’s later years in particular!
The PS4 meanwhile is absolutely seamless. When you want to go to the PlayStation Store, it literally brings you there in a second, with the same Store layout and navigation style as what was already on PS3. Updates, mandatory game installations, and both digital game and DLC downloads are all very quick and require very little supervision, as do movie downloads. You indicate that you want something, you pay for it (if necessary), and then, you should have it automatically downloaded and installed in a very short amount of time. Even multiple gigabytes of data, particularly with the mandatory game installations, were often provided for the console in less than five minutes!
Of course, there are a few variables here. There were a few instances where we were either booted from the PlayStation Store, or couldn’t access it at all, simply because traffic on the PlayStation Network was too high for Sony’s servers. This is understandable when you consider the high onslaught of consumers using their new launch PS4’s for various media carryovers and online purchases, but it does occasionally lengthen your downloads and prevent your access to both online game servers and the PlayStation Store in particular. Still, it’s something that should be ironed out with time.
The day-one 1.50 update also caused a few stability issues, as acknowledged by Sony, and some third-party companies like EA. After applying the update, there were times where the normally seamless PlayStation Button menu (which takes you back to the hub menu when tapped, even while a game is running, or asks if you want to deactivate the game or the console itself if you hold it down), got confused and didn’t load properly, hampering our ability to navigate menus and move between applications. A couple of total crashes occurred as well, forcing us to unplug our PS4 for a hard reboot, then sit through a small recovery prompt before the console would start up again. Like we were saying however, a subsequent update should hopefully fix this later.
It seems like a small thing, but regardless, the ability to access the PlayStation Store, check on notifications and messages, and perform other system-specific functions without exiting a game, something you can’t do on PS3, is really quite handy! You can suspend gameplay and purchase DLC on the fly, or a similar game altogether, from the PlayStation Store, send and receive friend requests, and toggle system settings, all without having to quit out of whatever you’re playing. Over the next few years especially, this should be a very attractive feature to avid gamers!
With the PS4 being a very gamer-centric console, one will inevitably wonder if the games are as gorgeous and as feature-packed as Sony claims. Well, we’re happy to report that the PS4’s ability to play, render and process games, both retail games and dedicated PlayStation Store games, is rather unprecedented! Barring a few times where we were denied online multiplayer access and/or booted from online servers due to heavy PlayStation Network traffic, there wasn’t a moment where we weren’t thoroughly in awe with what the PS4 can do as a gaming device!
It goes without saying, but the graphics of many of the PS4’s launch titles are just breathtaking, and a noticeable step up from what the PS3 most often generates! Dedicated PS4 games like Knack and Killzone: Shadow Fall are particularly gorgeous on the PS4, of course, and even upscaled games originally meant for current-gen consoles, like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Call of Duty: Ghosts, see noticeable improvements to environmental effects, character models and more! The visuals of each game take a considerable hit in resolution when you’re watching them in livestreams on the sharing channel, even on a 1080p HD television, and more on that later, but that’s a minor nitpick.
Even many PlayStation Store games explode with light, colour and no shortage of style! The two free games offered with a PlayStation Plus membership, Contrast and Resogun, both provide some truly impressive and flashy visuals for a reduced price! Some PlayStation Store titles like DC Universe Online and Sound Shapes only see so much of an upgrade on PS4, as they were originally designed for PS3, but again, you’ll still see the graphical difference when you play them on PS4, even if it‘s smaller.
As previews indicated, resolution integrity is top-notch on PS4 as well! 1080p HD is truly 1080p HD, and only in some third-party multiplatform titles was some upscaling required, though even that will be sorted out in imminently-releasing PS4 updates. Make no mistake. PS4 games are visual powerhouses in the realm of console gaming, and, while we couldn’t playtest every PS4 launch title at this time, every game we did test ran silky-smooth at all times!