It’s that wonderful time that happens but twice a decade, the launch of the next-generation consoles. The first batches have been released to the baying hordes and we’ve got our first Playstation 4 here at Game-Debate.
Together with some shiny unboxing pics, we’ve got first impressions of the featureset as we show you what to expect from Sony’s brand spanking new console as we show you whats in your PS4 box…
First things first, the packaging. The Playstation 4 is a noticeably smaller console than the Xbox One, and this is reflected in the boxes. A slimline factor means a box that’s easily as small as that of Sony’s Playstation 3 Super Slim console. In comparison to Xbox One’s hulking great box the PS4 is undoubtedly a more "barebones" experience, clearly designed to cut to the chase (and save a few pennies).
Opening the box up reveals the Playstation 4 console, as well as the new Dualshock 4 and an assortment of health and safety manuals to remind you not to plug your new console in while having a shower.
Tucked under the PS4 controller is an assortment of cables including;
* PS4 HDMI Cable - Standard HDMI cable straight from the console to your TV
* PS4 Micro USB Charging Cable - Nothing proprietary here, a straightup USB to Micro-USB charging cable from the Playstation 4 to the Dualshock 4. Pretty short in length ~6 feet.
* PS4 power cable, which is a standard kettle lead powering the console, and the answer is yes if you are wondering, "is the PS4 power cable the same as the Playstation 3".
* PS4 single-eared headset that plugs straight into the bottom of the controller in a similar manner to the Xbox 360’s headset.
And that’s your lot inside the box, over here in Europe we weren’t treated to any of the freebies seen in North America, such as Playstation Network vouchers or a free trial of Playstation Plus, just the vanilla console.
How to Set up the PS4
Such is the similarity in the setup between Playstation 4 and 3, I simply uplugged the power, HDMI and ethernet cables from my Playstation 3 Super Slim, removed it and slotted it into the Playstation 4. In terms of footprint the console is quite a bit smaller than the launch Playstation 3’s; we would say that the PS4 is probably on a par with the PS3 Slim editions in terms of size. And you certainly notice very quickly just how square-shaped the PS4 is in design, sitting snugly in your entertainment center, but stretching back further than you would expect.
The Playstation 4 console itself is certainly a stylish beast, and an upgrade from any model of the Playstation 3 aesthetically. The sloping contours and two-tone effect ensure it looks great from every angle, and its small form-factor means it should fit anywhere with ease.
Playstation 4 Controller - Dualshock 4
The DualShock 4 as a controller is an absolute joy to hold; an evolution of the Playstation 3 controller in every way. the PS4 Dualshock 4 controller is ergonomically far more comfortable to hold, and within minutes of picking it up I’d forgotten it was even in my hands, and that right there is a sure sign of a great controller. The Dualshock 4 analog sticks are far more precise with an easier fit with your thumbs, in comparison to the Dualshock 3, which in the past, had significant dead zones that made genres such as FPS trickier when played compared to its Microsoft counterpart controller.
The face buttons remain much the same, Sony has always been a manufacturer that, like Nintendo, places a huge emphasis on responsiveness. The dualshock 4 D-Pad and X, Square, Triangle and Circle are great and feel solid, just what we’ve come to expect from the Japanese manufacturer. Those of you coming from the Xbox 360’s spongy d-pad will find it a great improvement, that’s crucial for those all-important fighting and platform games that require accurate and rapid inputs. On the PS4 Dualshock 4 controller the ill-fated pressure-sensitive buttons, that were found on the PS3 controller, have been completely scrapped; again many would say this was for the better.
Gone for the first time on a DualShock controller are the traditional Start + Select buttons, replaced now by Share and Options.
The PS4 Dualshock 4 Options button operates exactly as you’d expect the discarded "Start" button to, just now giving a more appropriate name, that feels like Sony is trying to keep up with the times. The Dualshock 4 Share button on the other hand immediately loads up a window that screenshots your current game or allows you to upload any of your previous fifteen minutes of gameplay straight to Facebook. None of the PS4's media sharing can be done directly through your PS4, it must be uploaded to a third-party social network.
The triggers are much improved, offering greater feedback than we’ve come to expect from the DualShock
3, it’s a great medium between the DS3 and the 360's superior triggers. They do exactly as you’d hope they would do and feel like a natural evolution of what to expect from a controller.
Finally a touch-pad has been added to the centre of the DS4 controller that is surprisingly responsive and easy to use despite its bland appearance. Not every game makes use of it yet but those that do it seems an effective method to add a number of extra inputs. For example in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag it opens up the map and allows you to pinch and zoom the map, speeding up your navigation process, while in Killzone: Shadow Fall it controls your bot; a swipe in each direction adding four extra controller inputs that are quick to use, that previously was unavailable to the player.
The less said about the included Playstation 4 headset probably the better. Its just been added to the box for completion's sake. The PS4 headsest feels cheap, uncomfortable and has poor sound quality, that really leaves you wanting, especially after what we've been used to from Microsoft over the years. If you're serious about online gaming you'll definitely be flinging this PS4 headset aside and replacing it with something that helps you enjoy your gaming experience a whole lot more immersively.
So there we have an initial unboxing of Sony's Playstation 4. Have you picked yours up yet?
And tell us your answer to the big question with a PS4 launch price of £350 in the UK, do you think you get your money's worth with the Sony Playstation 4 console package?
Let us know below!