PlayStation 4 brings drastic improvements to latest console

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For nine months, all PlayStation fans could do was sit and wait. Months of anticipation have led to this week. Sony officially ushered themselves into next-generation console gaming yesterday with the release of the PlayStation 4. With its release comes an enormous amount of pressure to produce a machine that will shape the video game industry for years to come.

While it may be too soon to predict that impact, it can be confidently said that the PlayStation 4 is a glorious addition to the PlayStation brand, enjoyable for both longtime Sony followers and newcomers alike.

Hardware

The slanted, almost pyramid-like design of the PlayStation 4 is arguably the sleekest of any console before its time. It really does stand out on any entertainment center, but does so by being noticeably small at 10.8 inches wide and 12 inches long.

The size really is a true feat. The PlayStation 4’s power brick is located inside of the machine. This would lead you to believe that the console is loud as it generates nearly 150 watts of power while playing a game. However, the machine is practically mute from the time you turn on the console to a few hours into a game play session.

More so, the smaller statue of the console would generally lead to overheating issues. While the PlayStation 4 does get considerably warm, it is never too hot to touch as the cooling exhaust in the back of the system seems to do an excellent job at keeping the console at a happy medium in terms of heat and air movement.

User Interface

If Sony has been blasted for one thing throughout the PlayStation 3’s lifetime, it has been the cluttered mess that is the user interface.

Thankfully, Sony addressed this issue in virtually every way. Gone are the days of the dreaded drop-down menus. The PlayStation 4 welcomes in a simple timeline structure that puts your latest game or application first with a succeeding order that follows.

Players can also access features like the PlayStation Store, friends list and trophies by clicking up on the DualShock 4 controller and the new “What’s New” section by clicking down on the controller. The latter feature showcases not only what your friends are up to currently, but what they have done in terms of game progress, trophies and high scores.

The sections themselves are quite bland to look at, but they’re aided by quick transitions and an overall hassle-free experience that’s an instantaneous upgrade from the PlayStation 3.

The biggest improvement with the interface is the PlayStation Store, though. If you have a game in mind that you’re looking to find, it no longer takes what seems like a few years and a long game of “Clue” to find. Sony has given the store several headings that are distinct enough to find exactly what you’re looking for. This is also due to games being categorized where they should be, something that wasn’t the case with the last generation PlayStation Store.

Graphical Power

This topic is an interesting one for every console launch in that rarely, if ever, do launch games give an indication of the true power of the system right off the bat.

However, the PlayStation 4 does give a strong signal of what next generation can bring to the table in terms of graphics. Games like “NBA 2K14” and “Battlefield 4” are drastically prettier than their current generation counterparts, while titles such as “Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag” show the power in a more subtle, but still substantial way.

If the PlayStation 4’s supercharged PC architect shows anything at launch, it shows that developers can render so much more than ever before.

Final Verdict

The PlayStation 4 really is an impressive gaming console. The items above are drastic improvements over its predecessor, while features like PlayStation Vita remote play, the share button and play as you download are just “icing on the cake.” I give the PlayStation 4 a five out of five star review. Games will ultimately determine the success of the PlayStation 4, but out of the gate, it is a console that deserves your attention, if not your $399.

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