Let the games begin.
Sony's hotly anticipated PlayStation 4 is coming to a store near you this Friday, just in time for the holidays (and just in time to beat Microsoft's Xbox One by a week). Still can't decide if the PS4 is the right console to ask Santa for? Well, that's what all these great hands-on reviews around the web are for. Even better yet, we've corraled all the most important paragraphs, from all the best reviews, into a single handy article right here.
We call it...the LAST WORD.
Sony PlayStation 4
The PlayStation 4 is a worthy successor to the PlayStation 3, but like most launch consoles, there's a ton of promise for the future and not a whole lot to write home about out of the gate.
So what does that mean for the prospective next-generation gamer? If you already own a current-generation gaming system and don't necessarily need the absolute latest and greatest, it might be smart to hold off on a purchase. A handful of PS4 features are planned to go live in the coming months, and there's no shame in waiting to see how the dust settles.
...With the PlayStation 4, Sony is giving us a very clear indication of where the company wants to take gaming, with its focus on streaming, social networking, and sharing. The meshing of the PlayStation Network into the console's OS is a compelling narrative on paper, but whether it pans out is still up in the air.
When I reviewed the Wii U last November, I wrote that Nintendo had “a lock on the future of big-idea gaming.” But sometimes big idea gaming isn’t what captures imaginations (or hearts, or wallets). Sometimes refinement’s enough — taking an imperfect idea and perfecting it (or further trying to). That’s what $400 for a PS4 buys you this time around: a system that feels like something that’s been around the block off the block, instead of a feature-incomplete, overpriced collage of half-baked apps and feature hypotheticals. You’re still buying a promise, but for once it feels like a promise made on solid, well-trodden ground.
...The essential question of this whole ordeal: Is this $400-plus machine really worth your money right now?
Unfortunately gamers will find the PS4 lacking for the simple fact that there's really not much to do with it yet. You can play a new version of "Battlefield" or "Assassin's Creed" that will look and run better than its counterpart on the PS3, sure. But are these graphics worth an extra $400? I'm not so sure. What's missing from Sony's console right now is a convincing game from one of its legendary first-party studios such as Naughty Dog ("Uncharted," "The Last of Us"), Media Molecule ("Littlebigplanet") or Team Ico ("Ico," "Shadow of the Colossus"). Without anything to show for from its top talent yet, all Sony can really do is ask gamers for their trust with the PS4 right now.
Is another "Killzone" and a slick new controller enough to earn this trust? For Sony's legions of fans that have upgraded at every possible opportunity, clearly the answer is yes. But for everybody else, you'd be better off waiting to see what this new generation of PlayStation can really bring before making an investment.
Yannick LeJacq, NBC News
The PS4 hints at plenty of other possibilities. Local network play via the PS Vita has an enormous amount of potential. The PlayStation App and even the Playstation Camera may provide opportunities for developers to broaden the appeal of the PlayStation 4 beyond the hard core audience it currently seems so intent on courting. Unlike the PlayStation 3, Sony's latest effort was built to evolve.
But the PlayStation 4's focus on gaming — and only gaming — is undermined by a distinct lack of compelling software. That failing is sure to improve — better games and more of them will appear on the PlayStation 4 — but right now, this is a game console without a game to recommend it. Early adopters of the PS4 this fall are buying potential energy. We're just waiting for a place to spend it.
The PS4 is just starting, and as it is, it is hard to experience the PS4 without thinking about the machine that came before it. The PlayStation 3 made an incredible journey, from rotund Resistance and Lair-playing machine to the console of The Last of Us, Puppeteer and The Unfinished Swan. The console got skinnier. It got better. And it wound up playing some of my favorite games ever.
In November 2013, the PS4 is hopefully both a great extension of the PS3 and, oddly, a clean break. It's not backwards-compatible, after all. Not yet, not until 2014 when Sony plans to deliver streaming games to those of us with good enough Internet connections to remote-control PS3 games housed on some Sony server somewhere. For now, the PS4 sits next to the PS3 without fully displacing it.
...The PS4 seems like it'll be a hell of a console, but it's mostly potential and a bunch of new tools in need of some awesome games for them to work on.
Stephen Totilo, Kotaku
Unless you are desperately jonesing to play a game like the new Killzone, then [you shouldn't buy a PlayStation 4], or, at least, you should wait as long as you can. This doesn't feel like a step forward; it feels like a step sideways. A nearly identical interface, a slew of sequels, and a design that's not all there. (I was more fond of the Wii U, which turned out to be a complete commercial disaster, because it at least felt like something different.)
At some point, if you're regular gamer, you'll probably have to bite the bullet. A game will come out that you'll have to play, and you'll buy the console to play it. But remember: you'll be doing it for the game, not the console.
Colin Lecher, Popular Science
We demand more than great games from a modern games consoles, but gaming performance still comes first, and once you’ve overcome the disappointment that 4K games are still the exclusive domain of the high-end PC the PS4 is hard to fault in the performance stakes.
The fact that key cross-platform titles such as Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 boast higher resolution graphics on PS4 than Xbox One is a huge boost to Sony’s console, and vindication of its decision to plump for 8GB of expensive and powerful GDDR5 RAM. Developers may well learn how to get more from the Xbox One in the future (it’s not even out yet, for heaven’s sake), and indeed first-party games such as Forza 4 already hit the 1080p/60fps next-gen target figures, but the fact remains that if you want to play the big third-party games at their best, the PS4 is the console to go for on day one.
Tom Parsons, Stuff