Last Friday, Nov. 15 marked the release of Playstation 4. The next generation of gaming has arrived, and boy is it pretty.
For eight years, the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 have controlled the market. While Nintendo’s Wii sat on the sidelines, appealing to a more general crowd, Sony and Microsoft pushed towards a more “dedicated” approach to gaming. And so, after so long, it’s time for the new.
With a different design and different technological specs, it’s better than ever. Graphically speaking, it’s nothing but pure eye candy. Oh man, oh man, I cannot emphasize that enough. People have a tendency to say that graphics aren’t a big deal when it comes to games. That gameplay is all that matters. Which, to some extent, is true. Gameplay is what makes a game a game. But gameplay can only change so much over time. It is composed of ideas and algorithms that mostly stay the same.
Graphics, on the other hand, have changed so much in just the past 10 years. We used to see heads in the shape of flat diamonds, textures that looked like colorized white noise. Now? It’s borderline real. For example, seeing images from Metal Gear Solid V makes me think, how much further can we go? I grew up with the progression of visual technology and even I’m astounded at how far it’s come.
Going back to speaking of gameplay, the Playstation 4 has a new line of titles that don’t quite blow my mind. Typically, games that come with the release of a new console – the first lineup – are never the best. However, that’s probably due to the fact that most of them happen to be sequels of the previous generation. Oh well. In time, they’ll come to prove themselves.
In time, everything will be absolutely amazing. As for now? One of the launch titles is this cute adventure called “Knack”. It’s essentially trying to emulate the Pixar quality of being cute and cartoony. But it doesn’t quite add up to being an astonishingly great title, as it’s short and typical. At least it’s cute and pretty.
As for my major, major, MAJOR gripe: The Playstation 4 is NOT backwards compatible. I HATE THAT. It’s a marketing scheme by game companies to make more money. It’s absolute crap. What backwards compatibility is, is the ability to play (for instance) a Playstation 2 game on a Playstation 4. In order for that to work, you’d have to repurchase the title on the Playstation Store and download/install it to the system.
It’s an absolute waste of money if you actually have the game already. In a perfect world, all consoles would be backwards compatible. But, in my opinion, the best approach to this would be the ability to at least read the disc and provide a free download to the system. Or a discount at least. It’s so stupid.
As for everything else? It’s great. Fantastic. Sony did a great job with the Playstation 4. It’s improved its social features tremendously. You can stream your gameplay from your console. You can use Facebook from your console. And with the new Share button right in the middle of the controller, it’s literally as easy with the click of a button.
The next generation has arrived. And it’s only going to get better from here. I can only hope you’re as excited as I am.
Neil Kristjansson's "Menifee Plugged In" column appears each Monday. He writes about two things of interest to most of the younger generation -- music and electronic gaming. He welcomes your comments here or though email at email@example.com.