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Console Wars: The Next Generation, Playstation 4

Playstation 4
Playstation 4 (Photo credit: Stiftelsen Elektronikkbransjen)

It’s November, which means the semester is almost over. We have another month to go, but Sony and Microsoft don’t care about your grades and have decided that it’s more important to release the next generation of gaming consoles before finals. For the next few weeks, I will be writing about each next-gen console, highlighting various features, launch games, and other games on the horizon, as well as an opinion as to if it’s worth buying at launch. This week, I will be discussing the Sony Playstation 4, which comes out this month on the 15th.

The Playstation 4, announced earlier this year, impressed thousands of gamers during Sony’s E3 presentation. The specs on the system are enough to understand why, especially when compared to the specs on the Playstation 3. For example, the Playstation 3 had 512 MB of RAM, while the Playstation 4 has 8 GB. The PS4 also has a new controller, which has greatly improves on the Dualshock 3’s design, including having better triggers, better analog sticks, and grips with a better ergonomic design. It also has a touchpad, which provides interesting gameplay options.

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The controller also features a “share” button, which is used to upload your gameplay footage onto the internet. The console saves the last 15 minutes of your gameplay, so if you do something cool, you can upload it without worrying if you recorded it or not. The PS4 also allows for easy online live streaming through Twitch. This is a really nice feature for those of us who can’t afford nice PCs with good capture cards.

The PS4 has a lot of cool features, but gaming systems truly only stand on the games they have. This is where the PS4 falls a little short. When the PS4 was announced, I was excited for titles such as Watch Dogs and inFamous: Second Son. Both of these titles were delayed into 2014.  Most of the other launch titles are available on the PS3 or Xbox 360 and are the usual, played out annual titles. Games like Call of Duty: Ghosts and Assassin’s Creed IV will all be out before the PS4 launches. The only two games I noticed that aren’t already available are Killzone Shadow Fall, which is great if you’re one of those weird people that plays Killzone, and Knack, which is an action platformer which looks interesting, but not enough to justify buying the system at launch.

There are several downloadable titles available that are only for PS4, but none of them justify buying the PS4 at launch. Looking ahead a few months, there are some really cool indie games coming to the Playstation Network, such as The Witness, a game made by Jonathan Blow, creator of the amazing game Braid,  N++, sequel to the incredibly difficult platformers N and N+, and Transistor, an isometric action RPG from the creators of Bastion. There are also prospects of great exclusives, such as inFamous: Second Son. If the launch titles, especially Call of Duty: Ghosts, are an indicator of the future, PS4 games will run at higher resolutions than the Xbox One.

While the PS4 looks like a huge improvement over the PS3, there aren’t very many launch games that justify the $400 purchase. I generally don’t agree with early adopting unless there are at least two games that could justify the purchase. Unless I’m missing something, there aren’t any games that make me want to buy this system right now. I think it has promise and will be better down the road, but I would not recommend buying a PS4 at launch.

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