Last week was a difficult time for everyone at GameOnDaily. There were dangerous hormones and negative feelings flying all over the place and we poured concentrated whine all over the 4 major gaming platforms. This week we’ve all indulged in some 3,4-meythylenedioxy-methamphetamine and we’re ready to be nice again.
We savaged the Playstation 4 first, so that console is first up for celebration. So without further ado:
Microsoft introduced the concept of gamerscore with the launch of the 360. Games had unlockables and achievements for decades, but pulling them all together to give a profile an overall score was a marvelous idea. A simple concept that was not only enjoyable for gamers, but also provided a reason for those gamers to stick with Microsoft’s console whenever there was a choice to be made.
Sony followed suit with their own take on the concept, and gave us Trophies. Now at the time I think it was fair to say that Trophies lagged behind Gamerscore. They were not there at the inception of the console so coverage across the platform wasn’t complete, and the idea wasn’t so plainly understandable as “this is your score!”
When the overall score loses meaning, the gold and platinum grade trophies shine bright.
That was about 8 years ago. Since then the likes of Steam and Origin have followed suit with their own systems, and scores on all the platforms have inflated so much that they mean little more than “I’ve spent a lot of time and money here!”. In a world where a bad movie tie-in can give you 1000 points for nothing, and you can claim 70 points for walking left at the start of Limbo, what is that score worth now?
Sony’s more in-depth take on the idea starts to come into it’s own. Yes, the trophy level is still a reflection of how much time and money a player has invested. But you can get a much better idea of the kind of challenges a gamer takes on when you can see at a glance the number of those achievements that took some effort. When the overall score loses meaning, the gold and platinum grade trophies shine bright.
Not only that, but we love the metrics on the rarity of each trophy. Those give a real sense of just how tough a challenge really was, as well as some often fascinating insight into the behaviour of the community at large.
4. The DualShock 4
Yes, the DualShock 4 made it onto both lists. We said we hated the LED light bar, the durabilty of the sticks, and the battery life. We said some things and we’re not gonna say we didn’t mean them because we did, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love
you the DualShock 4!
The design may be familiar, but it’s like they actually made it for human hands,
To understand what makes the DualShock 4 so special we should look to it’s past. The heritage of the DualShock line would make a full article in itself, so let’s cut to the chase: The Playstation 3 controllers were terrible.
The PS4 and XBox One both have fantastic controllers, and the gaming community at large seem torn between which is best. Just the fact that this is up for discussion is a pretty big deal! It is truly a joy to hold the new improved iteration of the DualShock. The design may be familiar, but it’s like they actually made it for human hands, and with the realisation that people would use the sticks.
The pad is also laiden with features. The stalwart rumble is strong, the six-axis motion controls are reliable, they’ve added a touch pad and speaker into the mix that can genuinely add to the experience, and you can directly plug in any headset (with an auxiliary wire) you choose. Sony have also perfected the D-PAD, so the DualShock 4 stands head and shoulders above the competition for games that favour that control scheme.
New features and massive ergonomic improvements mean we are able to give Sony a thumbs up for the quality of the controller, without feeling any pain from that movement.
3. It is selling really well!
Mentioning sales almost always draws in the fanboys we all detest, beating their chests as though Sony’s commercial success is a personal achievement of theirs, or financially benefits them. Let’s be clear: We don’t care who “wins”. We are not part of either team, and neither are any of the fans that brag about these numbers.
As the audience grows, the Playstation 4 becomes a viable platform for a more diverse line-up of games
So why do we love to see the console selling so well? Playstation 4 sales are fast approaching 20 million and while sales don’t directly matter to the individual players, they carry huge significance with developers and publishers. The potential audience is obviously a huge factor when any publisher (or indie dev) decide what projects get funded. So far even Sony have been playing a low-risk game with their first party studios pumping out tried-and-tested IPs and ideas, while their third party investments have also reflected that safe way of thinking. As the audience grows, the Playstation 4 becomes a viable platform for a more diverse line-up of games and we’re getting to a point where that should really start to bare fruit this year.
So while we don’t get any cut of the revenue on those sales figures, we do expect to get a more exciting array of games.
It also means there is vibrant community to enjoy the hobby with. Fanboys were our number 1 gripe with the Playstation, but they only account for a tiny fraction of the community. The vast majority of those 20 million consoles belong to people that just enjoy playing games.
2. Driveclub Photo-mode
2. Unique ways to play
Share play and Remote play. Two quite unique features that we could have included as separate points, but six points would be totally against the rules and so we’re bundling these up.
Share play is the relatively recent addition to the social gaming arsenal. If you have a friend that owns games you do not, but maybe they smell a bit funny and only offer diet coke when you visit then Share play provides a way to play together. The service is intended to replicate that “friends on a couch” experience, and it is genuinely a great way to play through games like Diablo 3 together. It can also serve as a glorified demo service, but that’s not nearly so cool as using it socially.
Remote play is again a bit of a niche, but quite cool feature. The best way to play a Playstation 4 game is on your finest display with your finest audio, but sometimes that isn’t an option because you didn’t have the foresight to setup a 7.1 surround sound receiver in your bathroom. Enter the Vita, and you keep your game going even when you aren’t in front of the TV. Just remember to pause the game before you wipe.
1. Playing games
Obviously as people that love playing games, the thing we love most about the Playstation 4 is just that. People may say the console is off to a slow start and we haven’t really seen a singular bombastic release that will fire up the usual debate on whether 10/10 is a valid score, but there are a lot of games out there now that can provide a lot of fun. Whether you’re hurtling down the custom tracks of Driveclub, popping dreg heads, or slaying pride demons there is no doubt that if you own a Playstation 4, you have enjoyed playing it this year. Or you are broken.
And things are set to get better and better. Where else can you see what Naughty Dog achieve next, or play through the undoubtedly gorgeous adventure that Quantic Dream have cooking? Near-term, Dying Light, The Order, Bloodborne, and the Witcher 3 are right around the corner so polish off your christmas catalogue while you have the chance.