First impressions are very important in life. I’m not the type to discount someone or something after spending only a couple of hours with them or it. If I was however, I would have given up on the PS4 long ago.
As mentioned previously I had picked up the Xbox One at the midnight launch in my local city, gotten a taxi ride home in case some clever criminals had thought that a group of over tired and over excited nerds with £500 worth of products would have been easy targets. I got home at about 12:15 and started setting up my Xbone, fully intending to get everything downloaded and updated ready to play the next morning. I assumed the servers would be slow as everyone would have to perform the mandatory update in order to get the machine to work. I plugged everything in using the impeccably designed cables that fit with the design of the console perfectly. Yes I know I’ll never look at them and saying that a well designed power brick is like saying that your vomit looked pretty thanks to those sparkly cocktails you drank but it’s a detail that many haven’t talked about.
I then set about the set up process and it took about 10 minutes. All these people across the world logging on and downloading all at once and I didn’t experience one problem. I redeemed all of my day one bonuses and games and started playing the next morning.
Fast forward a week and the PS4 had been released. I picked my console up in the morning and headed home to repeat my ritual of making sure everything is perfect before sinking into my hole of coma-like game playing. I took the cable out and they were just cables. I’ve seen videos that show the bolts used in the machine have Playstation symbols on them which shows an attention to detail. I just wish that had carried over to the cables. I then tried to log into my PSN account due to my trophy addiction I didn’t want the possibility that my trophies would be assigned to another account and that I’d have to start again another day. I tried over and over again for about 30 minutes. Sometimes getting through to adjusting my profile settings for sharing and then crashing, sometimes I was not even getting that far. I thought that I’d try downloading the apps I’d be using but was faced with an error message.
So I gave up. I started playing my Xbox One again. The day I’d put aside to play on my brand spanking new Playstation 4 was being taken up by me playing the rival console. I even played some games of Killer Instinct online to make sure it wasn’t my internet and the flawless lag free games I was playing showed it was not.
I tried again a couple of hours later and I was able to log into my account but already I was getting annoyed. I tried to download my free games through Playstation plus and was rejected again in the same way the apps did previously. I did at least get to boot up Lego Marvel Superheroes. My first ever Lego game and proof that I’m a sucker for all things Marvel at the moment apart from the comic books. It looks amazing and is fun so far. I’ll be able to discuss it in greater length another day.
Later in the night I was able to download apps and games but my first day had been tainted already. For all the talk of power from the Sony side leading into the release, it was the 500,000 servers that Microsoft had invested in so far that was making the biggest impression on me during the launches. Since that first day I’ve been using the system and it works well. The visuals are very impressive and Resogun looks and plays fantastically.
My opinion of the PS4 will change after time I’m sure as launch day jitters should not make an impact on my experience. Unfortunately it’s just added to my experience of online issues with the Playstation brand that the Xbox just doesn’t have. Once they become less common I’ll be able to rid myself of this bias to all things Xboxy and green and find the plinky plonky music on the PS4 home screen less annoying.
There are problems with both user interfaces though. The most bizarre thing about the Xbox One is that in their effort to make thing look different than the 360 they have lost all of the things that made it easy to use. I realise that it is their way of making us use the Kinect to move around the console, but it should (and does) be a choice. I think the kinect works incredibly well and I’ve been using it most of the time to get around. On the other hand the Kinect has provided the really NEXT GEN moments for during these first weeks. Pulling off my first really impressive combo in killer Instinct to win a match and being able to should “Xbox record that” to store the moment felt like I was in some amazing future of gaming where all the scary Orwellian features worked in your favour so you stopped being worried about them long enough for them to take what they need and destroy you……
The PS4 however works well. Nothing really annoys me about it. It just feels kind of bland. I haven’t tried the twitch feature yet as I don’t think anyone wants to watch me play and I’m not very good at any of the games yet. Maybe I’ll try to live stream myself having a bad ass game of FLOWER. That’ll get the views and affection I’m seeking.
The biggest achievement of the PS4 so far is that it works. That is a big step up from the PS3 but I realise that I prefer my aims to be higher. Maybe my bias is so strong that the PS4 could make my dinner every night and I’d just stare back blankly at it and add salt to everything even if it was perfect, just to piss it off.
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