Since June 2016, I finally bought a PlayStation 4. You might be wondering, what took so long for you to write a review? There are many reasons why I didn’t hop on the PlayStation 4 bandwagon until later on.
Back in 2013, Sony announced the PlayStation 4, which is the successor of the PlayStation 3. Unlike previous consoles, the PlayStation 4 used hardware found in PCs. In other words, it’s basically a game console that is using PC hardware, mainly low-end PC gaming computers.
You might be wondering, why did I held off on getting a PlayStation 4 until 2016? There are several reasons why. The first reason is that I own a PlayStation Vita. While the graphics on the Vita is not as powerful as the PlayStation 4, there were Vita versions of the games. This is true especially Gust, which released Vita versions of their games. As a result, I bought the Vita version instead, which reduced the need to dish out $399 to buy a PlayStation 4. Not to mention, the Vita version is slightly cheaper than the PlayStation 4 version. Given that I was in college back then, a PlayStation Vita allows me to play console-level games anywhere.
Another reason I didn’t buy a PlayStation 4 until 2016 is the lack of good Japanese-made games. This time, Sony catered to the western audience with the PlayStation 4. This is why it did better in the west than in the east until recently. Moreover, Japanese video game companies were still making games for the PlayStation 3. Not to mention, Japanese people tend to play more on portable video games consoles like the Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation Vita instead of home consoles.
So, what convinced me to finally buy a PlayStation 4 back in 2016? Well, the games I want to play such as Idolmaster Platinum Stars finally came out. Not to mention, Japanese video game developers are finally transitioning to the PlayStation 4, especially since the PlayStation 3 went end of life. I made the right choice since there are some good games that released exclusively on the PlayStation 4 such as the Little Witch Academia game, Four Goddesses Online, and Idolmaster Stella Stage.
So how is the PlayStation 4? It’s pretty good, but there are disappointing aspects as well. Let’s focus on the good first. Compared to the PlayStation 3, the graphics are a huge improvement. While more apparent in western games, Japanese games look better with better lighting, shadows and graphical fidelity with less reliance in cel-shading. With a PlayStation 4 Pro, the graphics are even better in some cases. You can also play games in 4k, although not as good as a very high-end gaming computer. Still, it’s an improvement.
As for the controller, it’s mostly similar to the PlayStation 3’s controller with some additions. The select and start button is replaced with a share and option button. Also, there is a place where you can connect a headset. Lastly, there is a light bar, which is used in some games. Sadly, you cannot turn it off to save battery life, which is disappointing. Unlike the PlayStation 3’s controller, you can use the PlayStation 4’s on any computer without third-party drivers.
Another aspect that Sony focused on is the Sharing feature. When you earn a trophy, it will take a snapshot of the game when you earned it. With the share button, you can stream and record gameplay or take snapshots and share them on social media. While the recording quality isn’t as great compared to using a capture card like an Elgato Game Capture, Sony added the option to disable HDCP protection so you can record through HDMI. Lastly, you can put your game on standby. This means you don’t have to save and start the game again when you turn off the console.
Now, let’s focus on the disappointing aspects. Compared to the PlayStation 3, the media options are gimped. Sure, you can still use your PlayStation 4 as a Blu-ray or DVD player. However, you can’t play audio CDs, which is sad. Also, you have to subscribe to PlayStation Plus in order to play online. For me, this is not a problem since I play mostly single player games.
Moreover, PlayStation 4 does not have any backwards compatibility whatsoever, meaning that you can’t play older games on it. There is a service where you can play older games through game streaming, but it not worth the subscription fee. You are better off buying a PlayStation 3 and buy the games used.
At the end of the day, the PlayStation 4 is somewhat underwhelming. It’s not surprising given that the PlayStation 4 is now a low-end gaming PC with an easy to use interface. These days, PC gaming have become good enough that you can simply buy a midrange, but powerful GPU like a nVidia GeForce GTX 1060 for almost the same price as a PlayStation 4 Slim and install it in your computer. If your desktop computer can handle it, you can play games at higher quality than what the PlayStation 4 or the PlayStation 4 Pro can ever do. You can also use a PlayStation 4 controller for most games. Not to mention, more Japanese games are coming on the PC as well, reducing the need to buy a PlayStation 4. Some good examples are the Tales of games, Atelier Mysterious Trilogy, Neptune franchise, Senran Kagura, and more.
At the end of the day, I still think the PlayStation 4 still have a place. First off, it doesn’t suffer the porting bugs that PC versions experience. Moreover, you don’t have to maintain a PlayStation 4 as much compared to a PC. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about cleaning temporary files, scanning for malware, installing driver updates and such. Lastly, the prices of PlayStation 4s are not affected by Crypto mining unlike video cards and computer memory, which have sky rocked in price.
Not to mention, not all games released on the PlayStation 4 will receive a PC port. For the vast majority of games such as popular Japanese role-playing games, it’s probably not worth getting a PlayStation 4. If you want to play games that only receive a console release like Idolmaster, Project Diva or Persona 5, by all means, buy a PlayStation 4.
Even so, I still think the Nintendo Switch is the better console since it has something that a PlayStation 4 and PCs can’t do. You can play games on the TV and on the go seamlessly.
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