Two years ago today, the PS4 hit store shelves before being ripped off them by gamers hungry for some next-gen gaming. Well, in North America. Europeans didn’t get their hands on a DualShock 4 until November 29th, but that’s by the by. We’ve seen some great games come and go on the machine, but we’ve also seen a few duds. It doesn’t feel like two years has passed by, does it?
To celebrate the PS4’s second birthday, we’ve put together some of the highs and lows that PS4 players have endured.
Sony literally kicked the living shit out of our puny brains with all the bombs it dropped during E3. Team Ico’s mythical The Last Guardian made a surprise appearance and was announced as being in development for the PS4. Shenmue III stepped out of the shadows and the Final Fantasy VII remake was announced. We spent two days afterwards kicking our jaws when we walked. It was a great conference and it left many a gamer happy. Top notch.
Scoring Call of Duty Exclusivity
Love it or loathe it, Call of Duty is a big brand that sells consoles. That doesn’t really matter to your average Joe, but industry analysts love it and it gives them something to chew. For everyday gamers it meant that the month-long exclusive DLC content was shifting from its old Xbox digs and moving into its new PS4 complex. PS4 players now get all DLC before everyone else. We’re not really big fans of the practice, but PS4 and Call of Duty fans were happy to know that they’ll no longer be left behind their Xbox brethren after spending years playing second fiddle.
A Strong Launch Line Up
A console ain’t nothing without some decent games to play. It can have every feature in the world, but if it doesn’t perform the simple act of playing games, it’s bloody useless. Thankfully, the PS4 launched with a bunch of great games: Killzone: Shadowfall, FIFA 14, Resogun, and many more. Still, PlayStation fans will be quick to point out the lack of exclusives…
The PS4 has had a bunch of updates since its release, some were useless, but some were bloody brilliant. Thanks to firmware update 3.50, Remote Play on PS Vita suddenly became a top-notch experience thanks to the option to stream games at their native frame-rates. We also saw updates recently that brought community groups, DLNA support and countless more. All in all, good stuff.
That Christmas outage.
We’ll all look back on the great outage of 2014 with a shudder. It was supposed to be a great Christmas where new players would open their shiny, new PS4’s under the tree, then ditch the family to go and play online with their equally unsociable friends. Instead, gamers were forced to sit around and endure family Monopoly, wear silly paper hats, and play their games offline. It was a dark time. A dark time indeed. Let’s hope this Christmas goes a little better, yeah?
Uncharted 4’s Delay
Crikey, this one really hit a nerve with some of The Games Cabin’s staff. We all expected that we’d be playing through Naughty Dog’s fourth – and final – Uncharted game this year, so when the news broke that we wouldn’t be stepping into the murderous shoes of Nathan Drake until 2016 (March 18th) a few of our numbers physically wept. No names will be mentioned. [Chris, Conor, Joe. HAHA!]
PlayStation Plus is a paid-for service that is required for playing online games. You also get a selection of “free” games each month for your PS4, PS Vita, and PS3. It’s a decent service but it’s been falling out of favour with fans for a long while due to the perception that indie games aren’t “real” games. It’s not a sentiment we share, but we can certainly see that value has deteriorated over time and the fact that its price has actually increased in some territories is a little harder to swallow.
P.T and the Silent Hills Cancellation
Kojima worked his magic and made grown men whimper with the free downloadable horror demo, P.T. It was supposed to serve as an idea of what we could expect from the Silent Hills game the Metal Gear Solid creator was working on with filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro. After Kojim and Konami spat their dummies out of the pram, Silent Hills got sent to the game heaven and P.T was pulled from the PlayStation Network. It was supposed to be the PS4 exclusive that would bring horror games back in fashion.
The In Between
Project Morpheus got renamed to the much easier to spell PlayStation VR. We got a release window of 2016 and we even saw some games running on the high-tech headset. It seems to be a big deal, but we’re not entirely convinced. The concept is great, the game demos we’ve seen so far are immense, but there’s the fear that the high-price and Sony’s track record will result in a flop. Just look at the PS Vita, PS Move and PS4 camera… Tempered expectations, then.
PlayStation Now and No Backwards Compatibility
We’ve previously lauded praise on PlayStation Now, but it hasn’t been as well received as it has been here. Most people seem to think it’s Sony’s answer to backwards compatibility. That’s not strictly the case for the service, but it did prompt Sony to repeatedly state that backwards compatibility won’t be a thing on the PS4. It’s a shame, but that’s life. For everything else, there’s Master Car- erm, PlayStation Now. Oh, it actually accepts Master Card? Cool.
The Remaster Years
The first two years of the PS4’s life has seen many a great game release on the console, some of which are older games that have been repurposed for the PS4. Some have fared better than others; The Last of Us: Remastered and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection being memorable highlights. Unfortunately it’s also become an easy way for lazy publishers to scoop up a few pennies with sub-standard ports; Activision’s Prototype dual-pack and Dishonored stand out as a couple of missed opportunities. Those who despise the practice will be unhappy to know that there are even more last-gen remasters on the horizon with Gravity Rush Remastered and The BioShock Collection all being given the next-gen lick of paint. We’re somewhat on the fence: some games deserve to be remastered and it’s a great way for those who previously missed them on the last-gen to see them in their best possible form, but at the same time we’d prefer to see the time and effort being spent on true next-gen games.
Today, Driveclub is one of the best racers on the market. It’s a fun game that’s easy to pick up and play, but if you keep on ticking you’ll find the nuances that make it a great racer. Unfortunately it wasn’t always this way. It’s troubled launch was a major ball ache for everyone involved as the online servers were kaput, the game was delayed heavily, and the hyped-up PS Plus Edition was nowhere to be seen. Sony and Evolution came under a lot of slack for Driveclub’s shortcomings – and rightly so. That said, it’s going from strength to strength and all ill-thoughts seem to have been left firmly back at the start line.
And that’s that. Next year looks to be a strong year for the console, and gamers who opt for the PS4 will have plenty of games to get stuck into. Perhaps we’ll revist this format in a year’s time…
What would you consider to be the highs, lows, and in betweens for the PS4? Share your fond memories, or nightmares, down in the comments below.