The Sony Playstation 4 launched on November 29, 2013. After establishing dominance over Sega, Nintendo and Microsoft in the fifth and sixth generations of home consoles, Sony failed to deliver a good message with the Playstation 3. Then VP of Sony Computer Entertainment, Kaz Hirai made the now famous quote that he would like, “…for consumers to think to themselves ‘I will work more hours to buy one’.” regarding the $699 price tag of the premium 60GB Playstation 3. The research and development costs of the CELL processor used in the PS3 and then new BluRay drivers kept the cost of the PS3 high throughout the first half of this lengthy console generation and most likely cost Sony their lead over Microsoft. Going into the eighth generation of consoles, Sony executives knew that they needed to correct these missteps.
Knowing that a new direction for console hardware was necessary moving forward, Sony hired Mark Cerny from Naughty Dog as the Lead Architect on both the PS Vita and Playstation 4. Mark spoke to many developers to see what they wanted out of the net generation Sony consoles and based his decisions on these interviews.
For the first time Sony has decided to look towards the laptop/desktop PC market for hardware queues rather than the server market space. This decision was timed well as the PC and Server market hardware performance gap has been closing in the last decade. They also gained the mature development tools that come with the x86 architecture which was first introduced in 1978. Both Sony and Microsoft have gained more developer support by making the decision to move over to the x86 CPU.
With every console generation since the Playstation One, Sony has released a cost reduced 2nd revision of their console. Yet, for the first time ever they released both a cost reduced revision and a console “refresh” of sorts. This mid-generation “refresh” has a faster clocked CPU, more than twice of the GPU power and an addition 1 GB of DDR3 RAM specifically for the operating system. This console refresh is also a byproduct of going with more PC-centric hardware, since the PC enjoys new GPU revisions every 18 months or so. Aimed at the Ultra HD 4K display market, the Playstation 4 Pro employs additional GPU compute units and rendering tricks to reach an approximation of 4K resolutions. Normally, add-on accessories are not worth mentioning but the $399 Playstation VR is the only console virtual reality option currently on the market. And according to Sony, the PS VR has had some good sales figures up to this point. Only time will tell if VR is here to stay with us or if this will end up just another “3D” television fad.
- Remote Play via PC and PS Vita.
- Back catalog of titles available for purchase on the PSN store.
- You an upgrade your storage by swapping it out with a standard 2.5” HDD, Hybrid SSHD or even a Solid State Hard Drive. You can also upgrade your storage via external USB attached HDD or 3.5” HDD via third-party accessories.
- Playstation 4 Pro is the first console released targeting 4K resolutions.
- Playstation 4 Pro offers a “Boost Mode” which benefits from a faster CPU mode over the base model Playstation 4.
- Most AAA and indie third-party titles are released day one on the console.
- Playstation Now has several titles available for rent at a flat monthly fee, if you would like to take advantage of it. (Think Netflix for video games.)
- Playstation VUE is another additional service like Sling that offers live TV from many stations and even comes with a DVR feature.
- Currently, the Playstation 4 has the only console VR option.
- The Playstation 4 is the first Sony Console that makes you pay for multiplayer online access. (PSN)
Bloodborne is a gothic take on the Demon Souls/Dark Souls series from the same developers. If you have remotely enjoyed or have been curious about any of these games, do yourself a favor and pick this one up. It is extremely cheap, even new.
Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy
Vicarious Visions took on the monumental task of rebuilding the original Crash Bandicoot games without most of the original source code. Looking at this game in action, you would not be able to tell that it is almost 100% new. This challenging title does all the things right to give you the same challenging levels and fun that the originals delivered.
God of War (2018)
This will be the eighth God of War title in the series. However, this will be a reboot of sorts as Kratos hails from a world of Norse Mythology and not Geek Mythology which he slashed through in the previous installments. Previous God of War titles have all been graphical powerhouses on their consoles of origin, knowing this we are excited to see what Santa Monica studios can do with the Playstation 4 and PS4 Pro.
Gran Turismo Sport
Racing simulations have come a long way and for many gamers my age, Gran Turismo is the series that gave us the ability to upgrade our street vehicles to our hearts content. GT Sport ups the ante with 177 licensed cars and 19 locations with 27 configurations to race on. In addition to this is Live eSports events (like previous entries’ GT Academy), PS VR support and 4K HDR support on the Playstation 4 Pro.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
This self-proclaimed “Independent AAA” title stars a Pict from Celtic and Norse Mythology. You take the point of view of Senua as she tries to navigate her own sanity. Built using the Unreal 4 engine, this game has some absolutely amazing visuals and is well worth the look. In addition to this, Ninja Theory recently ran an awesome promotion where they donated sales to charity.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn came out in an unfortunate time in the news cycle as I feel that it was buried under all of the Zelda Breath of the Wild hype. This game by Guerilla Games (Killzone series) has an interesting story and amazing graphics. You play as Aloy, a hunter and archer in an open world filled with robot creatures. It is relieving to see publisher investing in new ideas like this game. Pick it up!
One of Mark Cerny’s other projects was well received early on in the Playstation 4’s life. In Knack you play as an ancient relic that attracts smaller relics to it which builds a living organism. Knack can essentially reconstruct itself to fit into smaller areas or go over obstacles. This game is very much in the vein of Ratchet and Clank or Jack and Daxter.
The Last Guardian
The Last Guardian was one of the most anticipated titles on the Playstation 3. However, Team Ico proved that the PS3 was not powerful enough to run their vision of this game. Because of this, fans of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus waited… and waited… and waited… Finally, in December of 2016, Team Ico dropped The Last Guardian on all their fans. And although this may not have the lasting appeal of Shadow of the Colossus, it is still a very solid title that does some things that we have not yet seen.
The Last of Us Remastered
Arguably one of the best-looking titles to grace the PS3, this remastered version of The Last of Us for the PS4 is still gorgeous. Naughty Dog has done such a great job crafting a believable world and narrative that grabs you immediately. If you still have not played this title, do yourself a favor and take a few well-deserved vacation days to unplug from the real world.
NIOH may be mistaken as yet another take on the popular Dark Souls series. Although the gameplay shares some similar tropes, you may miss the fact that the story is based on the historic western samurai William Adams. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a historic piece, as you must deal with demons and other supernatural forces.
Ratchet and Clank
The Ratchet and Clank franchise has been kicking around since the Playstation 2 and is the series that helped put Insomniac Games on the map. Ratchet and Clank for the PS4 is a re-imagining of the first title and ends up looking like a well animated Pixar title in the process. This is an extremely fun title to play and at around $20.00 new, it will well worth your price of admission.
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
Naughty Dog has come a long way from Crash Bandicoot. It was the Uncharted series on the Playstation 3 that taught us what both the developer and in many ways the console was capable of. This third-person action platformer quickly became the Indiana Jones title that we wanted. Nathan Drake has become as much a gaming icon as his voice’s owner Nolan North. Picking up all of these titles together on the Playstation 4 is a no brainer for fans of the series.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
The final chapter in the Nathan Drake series, Uncharted takes everything about the first three titles and turns them up to eleven. From the large scale scripted sets to the in game cut scenes, this title is a showcase for what Sony’s console can do.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
The first Uncharted story to not revolve around Nathan Drake, Uncharted: The Lost legacy stars Chloe Frazer as she attempts to save an ancient artifact from a warmonger.