I’ve had the luxury of a Playstation 4 for a few months now. I’ve been looking ahead to what’s coming up for the console late 2014 and early 2015, and wanted to share my experiences and impressions thus far.
First up, what happened to a whole bunch of games? I actually bought a PS4 pretty early in its release (something I didn’t do with the PS3, because I already owned a 360 and didn’t feel the need – since then Sony has usurped Microsoft in my personal, internal console war mainly because of the interface, games and built-in Bluray player). The incentive game with Arkham Knight, a game I am hugely looking forward to but was then very disappointed at its delay (from September 2014 to June 2015). I’m over it now, and glad Rocksteady are taking the extra time to make it awesome but the fact was the main driver I had for getting a PS4 had suddenly vanished.
Okay, regroup, reassess. What else was there?
I picked up Thief with the console and have yet to get much further than the opening few chapters. Not that Thief is a bad game, it’s actually pretty cool, it’s just not Arkham Knight, God of War III, Uncharted now is it? Certainly, even with my least played game, I was impressed with the abilities of the machine even if I suspected I wasn’t quite getting the apex of next-gen capability.
I quickly added Killzone: Shadowfall and Infamous: Second Son to my games library. I have both KZII and III, so was looking forward to Shadowfall, without being excited to the level of Arkham Knight. Honestly, I think KZII is my favourite game in the franchise and while Shadowfall looks great and kicks celebrated ass, it isn’t what I would describe as a flagship title and it surprised me when Sony went with this as their tentpole for the console. In the absence of a better candidate, I suppose they didn’t really have much choice. Again, just want to reiterate, Shadowfall is a good game but I wouldn’t buy a console on the back of it, and, let’s face it, that’s the only real factor that counts with games consoles of any stripe.
The Infamous franchise was never one I totally got into, so it took some deliberation before I decided to pick up Second Son. I wasn’t disappointed but the gameplay is a little samey and the story wafer thin – I was reminded of why I had avoided the franchise previously. Definitely cool, and using superpowers to trash bad guys around a sprawling, psuedo sandbox city is a lot of fun but, as with most things, it gets old. I felt I was kind of pushed in Second Son on account of the dearth of games available that would appeal to me (Arkham, God of War, Uncharted, remember…).
Watch Dogs turned things around. After an initially luke warm start, I really got into this game. In fact, it’s the only game I have played to completion and come back to since purchasing my PS4. Running around Chicago, shooting bad guys, foiling crimes and all whilst hacking into ‘the system’ to bring down a corrupt corporation and ultimately find closure for a family tragedy was awesome. Of all my PS4 games, this is the I would come back to again and again. It has its flaws, but for me is the best game on the console right now. Sure, I realise there are a lot of great indy games out there by some fantastic developers but I want the full next-gen experience, that’s why I bought the console in the first place – for me, that doesn’t include the indies, I’m afraid.
The last two additions to my collection include both Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag and Lego: The Hobbit. Both are great in their own right, though the former feels like a fix up of a PS3 game and the latter doesn’t really benefit much from a next-gen format. That said, they are both a lot of fun and I actually think Black Flag is my favourite Assassin’s Creed game, even if it is more to do with being a pirate than an assassin… Neither, though, are imperative enough to buy a console.
It’s telling that Sony have gone with two next-gen fix ups to lead the line until something more substantial comes along. I’m talking Tomb Raider and The Last of Us here. I already have both of these games on PS3 and can safely say they are worth owning a console for. Both are superb games but I’m not sure I can justify purchasing an upscaled version for my PS4. When I look at what else is available, though, I’m struggling for something to get excited about.
The reason the PS3 became such a desirable purchase for me was on account of its exclusive games like Uncharted (the series), Heavy Rain, God of War (again, entire franchise from III) – I’ve yet to see this kind of draw in the PS4′s games catalogue. I love the console and the next-gen graphics, sound etc truly are stunning but the game offering doesn’t quite match up, as of yet.
My first few months could be summarised thusly: fun, but not quite what I was promised.
I am looking forward to what’s to come with Shadows of Mordor and The Witcher III on my pre-order list. There’s a new CoD game too (though I think this is going to end up looking rough compared to The Division) and mid-next year we’ve got Arkham Knight at long, long last.
Let’s not forget about The Order 1886, either, though initial impressions look great but, from all accounts I read, don’t play too well. I hope the developers can fix that. Uncharted IV seems a long way off and Rise of the Tomb Raider is exclusive to the Xbox One for the first who knows how many months (balls). Other highlights do include Bloodborne (though I’m sure this will be infuriating as a beast, given it’s comparisons to Dark Souls) and The Evil Within (if I dare to buy then play it as it looks pant-wettingly/nightmare-inducingly scary…).
I want to get excited about the future for PS4 but Sony need to get more exclusive games on their slate (and some proper world shaking games, not just the indies) to justify the faith customers have shown in them by turning out to buy their console over Microsoft’s.
So far, I give the PS4 (or rather it’s slate of games and ‘offering’) a B-. Solid start but improvement needed.