The newest gaming system from Sony is only days away from hitting store shelves in Canada and the U.S., and fans are getting hyped. On November 15, expect to see lineups out the door at your local electronics and gaming stores, with eager fans hoping to get their hands on what will be an exciting leap forward in the world of video games.
I had the chance to test out a PlayStation 4 at a preview event this week in Toronto to play one of the launch titles, Knack, and get a feel for what Sony’s next console is like:
On the outside, the PlayStation 4 looks like a streamlined (almost italicized) PS3. It appears slimmer, and has lost the curve of the PS3 in favour of sleek angles. The ports for controller plugs and the disc slot appear almost invisible in the new style of console, as the area for them is inset into the middle of the front panel.
Inside, there have been plenty of changes, too, although if you want to know all the nitty-gritty, I recommend checking out this link. From my time spent with the system, it felt very responsive with low latency between my motions and the characters on screen. The other thing you’ll likely notice when you start playing the PS4 is how quiet it is compared to the PS3; despite how graphic-intensive Knack is, there was no audible fan noise in the living room environment where I was playing.
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Arguably the biggest visual change to this generation of Sony gaming comes in the controller. It’s got a touch more heft to it. For those who felt that the PS3 controller just wasn’t heavy enough, it should be a welcome change. The left and right joysticks have been made concave, which lets the pads of your thumbs sit on them more naturally. They’ve also been shifted down slightly to accommodate the new addition to the controller, the touchpad. While I didn’t get a chance to test it out as the touchpad isn’t used in Knack, it felt like it would be easy to reach to while playing, and could be used in interesting ways if developers include it in control schemes.
As for the overall feel of the controller in my hands, all the buttons felt like they were placed where I’d naturally be looking for them – the only exception being the Start button, as it nor the Select button still exist on the controller. Instead, they’ve been replaced with Share on the left and Options on the right. Share will let you post clips of gameplay to the PlayStation Network (and eventually Twitch TV) as well as other social sharing, while Options replaces the basic menu functions you would have generally found under the Start menu. I think it’ll take me a while to stop looking for ‘Start’ when I want to pause, but hey, at least the PS button is still there, slightly lower in the middle of the controller.
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The other addition to the PS4 controller is the light at the back; this functionality is largely for PlayStation Eye use to track motion, but it also had the added bonus of a) looking cool and b) being able to differentiate the controllers when multiple people are playing without needing a whole host of different controllers to tell them apart at a glance. They’re also a little more stylish than the Player 1/2/3/4 lights on the PS2/PS3 controllers.
Knack is one of the titles that Sony announced would be launching with the PS4 when they introduced the console back in June. You play as the titular character Knack, who is comprised of pieces of ancient artifacts. As you go through the game, you collect more pieces to build Knack bigger and allow him to combat larger enemies, and drop pieces in order to access small areas, keeping Knack’s appearance in flux.
The title is aimed at those looking for a family-friendly game, with the ability to add a second player at any time (who can’t die in the game) to help Knack, making it possible for an adult and child who want to play together to both get lots of enjoyment from the game. Knack will be a welcome find for those who are fans of some of the classic PlayStation titles like Ratchet and Clank or Crash Bandicoot, returning to that action-adventure style that those titles did so well.
If you want to learn more about the PS4 ahead of Friday’s launch, check out this video featuring Mark Cerny, Lead System Architect for PlayStation 4:
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