PS4 Features & Launch Titles
Sony holds a special place in the evolution of my gaming life, as it does for many a gamer. I received my PS One as a hand-me-down gift from an older cousin of mine. Included with the system were three games that would form fundamental structures in the personality trait I now call "gamer."
The first of these was Road Rash. A simple game with an equally simple premise: race around the countryside on a variety of motorcycles, knock other riders off of their bikes with vicious weaponry, and rock hard to the grunge heavy soundtrack. Graphically, the game was an instant face-melter to someone who had been tooling around on a GameCube for months. As for gameplay, while it may have been simple, I dug hard on the overtly violent nature of riding a hog, sporting a morningstar, and screaming "Rusty Cage" and "Outshined" at the top of my childhood vocal range. Good times.
Second on my illustrious PS One games list was Metal Gear Solid. I need not remind those who are familiar with this game how absolutely marvelous the first hours were, and how horrified we all were when we learned ten hours had passed without any food intake or waste management. The game was so damn intense, what with all the guard-sniping, neck-snapping, espionage-stealth-sneaking, Stinger-missile-shooting-robot-battling, more mature than my parents realize, play through the entire game twice in 48 hours, hardcore action that came on more discs than we had ever seen (not a sliver of hyperbole in that entire sentence). Meeting a character like Snake and seeing him come alive throughout the game was a revelatory experience for an anti-hero (Hellboy) comic reader like myself.
Lastly, the very beginning of my obsession with the RPG genre, Final Fantasy VII. I know this may not be the RPG, or even the Final Fantasy, that is at the top of every gamer's list, but it remains one of the greatest gaming experiences I have ever had. As my first exposure to the OCD stylings of traditional RPG play, I was obsessed with every thing that this game had to offer. The characters, the lore, the extremely large swath of equipment, the combat, the scale of the enemies, the gravitas of the excellent story, all of it screamed at me to come partake for months on end. I loved playing as Cloud and I loved secretly rooting for Sephiroth. Thank you SquareEnix for robbing me of a summer and introducing me to a lifelong passion.
Oddly enough, despite my affinity for Sony in the past, I rarely play my PS3, with the exception of the fantastic exclusives that come out of the Sony studios. This has a ton to do with my utter hatred of the DualShock 3. I will not get into it here, but that controller and my hands just do not get along. There are many third-party peripherals to choose from, but they always seem to be lacking in some way, shape, or form.
Alas, twilight looms on the horizon this generation and a brilliant rising sun sets poised and ready to thrust Sony on top of the next gen at the end of this year. Let's break the PS4 down, shall we?
Learning the lessons that current-gen taught them time and time again, Sony has moved away from the Cell architecture that runs the PS3. They have chosen to roll with a proprietary (kind of) AMD processing unit that developers are much more familiar with. This means we are going to see a massive jump in third-party and indie development, as well as shorter timelines between first-party releases from Sony studios.
As far as power is concerned, the PS4 has a tiny leg up over Xbox One on paper, but I think it is going to show in a major way upon release. PS4 has a single OS to run, and a dedicated chipset for all background tasks (downloads, updates, OS, etc.), while Xbox One has 3 OS' to run on a similar chipset with less virtual memory. Does this amount to a large discrepancy? No, but I think it will be noticeable.
As I mentioned before, I hate the DualShock 3. I hate it so much that I actively avoid my PS3 unless there is an exclusive to be played. That being said, when the first vids of hands-on time with the DualShock 4 hit the net, true excitement over the PS4 really set in.
Sony has taken every flaw that I have found in the DualShock 3 and thrown it out the proverbial window. The DualShock 4 now has both length and girth that are better suited for my meaty man hands, concave thumbsticks, larger range of motion across a shorter distance with the thumbsticks, lipped triggers for slip protection, and a porous material on both the sticks and the back of the controller for said meaty man hands.
Nothing has me more excited for next-gen like the DualShock 4 does.
Not much to be said here. Sony has 13 first-party development studios that all pump out excellent games, and they have put in a lot of time catering their new system to indie and third-party developers. This will pay dividends for Sony at the beginning of the generation.
Despite being an Xbox 360 player for a vast majority of this generation, I am far more excited about what the PS4 has brought to the table versus what the Xbox One has.
Sony has done an excellent job making sure that consumers recognize just who this new console is for...gamers. From the reveal that didn't even show the console, to an E3 conference that was perfectly crafted to demolish Microsoft, Sony has taken every step needed to secure themselves as the front-runner for console gaming's bright future.
I have been especially impressed with the accent on indie development and third-party franchises that Sony has put forth. As I mentioned above, the company did not even show the console during the reveal, they instead chose to showcase indie developers who were working with the new tech; a brilliant move on Sony's part. Seeing how excited these revolutionary minds were about working with Sony and the new hardware only cemented my excitement in a bit more of a "real" sense. Also, Mark Cerny. Just sayin'.
As for E3, well Sony just embarrassed Microsoft in the best kind of way, and I loved seeing it happen. There is much to said for competition in our capitalist society, and Sony's full embrace of that attitude has me sitting with a PS4 pre-order receipt in my wallet.