Channel 5

Sony PlayStation 4

Wednesday 27 November 2013


Rating of 4

The basics

Let’s start with the all-important question: Should you buy a PlayStation 4 over an Xbox One? At launch, the answer is yes. Sony’s console is significantly cheaper than Microsoft’s, but is more powerful - you only have to look at multi-platform games like Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4, which both look better on the PlayStation 4. The console itself is also a thing of beauty - small, sleek and stylish, with a new controller that’s way more comfortable than its predecessor. Sony has also bundled everything as standard to make setup a breeze, including a HDMI lead, a simple power adaptor (no heavy brick) and a headset - next-gen is here, but does Sony’s latest console stack up to the competition? Let’s find out.

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The good

The PlayStation 4 is packed with impressive next-gen features. You can play PS4 games on your PlayStation Vita using the magic of Remote Play, which is really useful if someone is using the TV. The console is constantly buffering the last 15 minutes of gameplay, so if you do something amazing, it’s easy to upload a clip of it online. While the camera is £50 extra, all controllers have Move motion controls baked right in via a light on the front. And speaking of controllers, we love the thick rounded handles, concave triggers and ridged thumbsticks - making it the most comfortable DualShock ever.

There are some great third-party games at launch including Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Battlefield 4, but the lineup of indie games, such as Hohokum, Octodad and The Witness, really mark the PS4 out as a console for fans of quirky, experimental titles. The system menus are also snappy and responsive, allowing you to watch a friend’s game in progress, and jump into that game in seconds.

The bad

Sony now charges for online gameplay through its PlayStation Plus service at £40 a year, but as that service offers superb, recently-released games for free every month, including Contrast and Resogun on the PlayStation 4, it’s worth paying for. The launch lineup of exclusive games isn’t that strong otherwise: it’s difficult to get excited about a new Killzone title, while the now-delayed Driveclub looks pretty weak next to Xbox’s Forza (perhaps why it was delayed to next year) - driving fans only have the multi-platform Need for Speed: Rivals to sink their teeth into. The camera is an optional extra on the PS4, and is nowhere near as advanced as Kinect on the Xbox One.

Media support on Sony’s console is also extremely limited at launch - you can access Netflix, but the machine will not play stream video from a local PC or other DLNA device, and it won’t even play MP3 files, making this exclusively a gaming machine at heart. You’ll also need a PlayStation Network account (sign up for one now on the website if you don’t have one), and there’s a mandatory day-one 300MB system update to download.

Find out what our top five current-gen gaming picks are!

Which is really cheaper, PlayStation 4 or Xbox One?

The bottom line

Sony really got its act together with the PlayStation 4. It created a console that is markedly more powerful than Xbox One, while also significantly cheaper. It plays host to great big blockbuster games like Battlefield and some incredible indie games like Hotline Miami 2. There are some notable weaknesses on the media player side, and there is no “must-have” game at launch, but we expect both these issues to be addressed. In the meantime, it’s still very much worth buying.

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User comments (9)

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Simon Younger

Paid much by Sony for this review? There's hardly any difference graphically and the PS4 is not more powerful. The xbox uses EPROM which is significantly faster than the PS4's system memory meaning it does not need a large graphics memory. The launch lineup for xbox is far far better than Sonys and the game pad is far far better designed. Pity you didn't brush up on your facts before publishing such utter nonsense.

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Exactly right!cod on ps4 slows down alot and psn cant support 64 players on battlefield

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The two before clearly Xbox fan boys! Go on your xbox page please! Can't wait to get this! Will clearly havr an update for cod lagging and I'm sure the media services will have an update to sort that out!

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Is it backwards compatible? Also I've heard that if i buy a game for the PS4, i can't sell it on to somebody else, is this true? I've heard that u cant buy pre owned games as you need to register it online before playing hence the online only console? These seriously do put me off as i always buy second hand games and resell them.

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Lets get this straight. Neither console is better than the other. Instead of battling it over the highest powered console and best line-up of games, they have both taken a separate approach to selling their consoles. The PS4 is, of the two, aimed specifically at gamers, matching the specs of a high end PC at a considerably lower and affordable price. This is why it is classed as more powerful than the xboxONE and games do and will look better on it. However, the xbone, targets a broader market by in fact not being a gaming system, but an entertainment offering a larger list of social add-ons and apps like TV. It has lower gaming power, yet has the capacity to tackle a larger variety of tasks (at launch anyway). In conclusion, there is no console that came out in top. For those who want to watch sport, TV, enjoy the "revolutionary" kinect, then xbone is obviously for you. However if you want a console solely for gaming, then the PS4 should be on your Christmas list.

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Craig Johsale

Both good consoles, but ps4 is the more powerful though, according to my developer clients. Between 40% and 50% faster GPU and faster memory. The 1080p resolution vs 720p on Xbox, on multiplatform games proves this no question.

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barry mack

Mon the fish!!

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Neal Cropper

Wow, amazing how fast these X Box fanboys get to work! Lets get this sorted then. The X Box isn't as powerful as the PS4, in fact it's about 40% less powerful. The games DO look better on PS4, because the PS4 was designed as a gaming machine, whereas the X Box One is a multimedia device. In my opinion, they are poles apart. Microsoft have obviously concentrated on have concentrated on a all in one device instead of having gamers at its heart. The kinect of the Xbox is a country mile better than the camera of the PS4, in both motion and voice commands. Mainly because the system has been designed around it. Making navigating the menus without it cumbersome, compared against PS4's XMB menus, it's a nightmare without kinect. As far as I can tell, Microsoft have ruined party chat on the Xbox One compared to the best party chat available, on the 360. The PS4's party chat is easy to use, and easily accessible, although its quality leaves a lot to be desired. Although I expect both Microsoft and Sony to fix all problem's through future patches, simply by Microsoft rolling their party chat back to the 360 type, and Sony making 3rd party wireless headsets able to work with the PS4 system. PS+ is far better value than Microsofts version. Although its a bit early to start speculation on the quality online play on either system, due to the massive amount of people accessing the PSN and Microsofts online. Both systems are lacking in software, although Xbox One's launch titles are more appealing. Bearing in mind that the PS4 is almost £100 cheaper. That in itself could be a system seller, but I don't think that is what will win the console war this generation. Echoing what has been said previously, if you want to do everything else and casualy play games, then the Xbox is for you, however, if you want to play games, on a console that is made for it, then the choice is an obvious one. Get the cheaper system, that is made for gaming, and with gamers at its core, the system that is more powerful, as eventually will have a greater list of exclusive games, and the 3rd party games will look and play better on. The PS4.

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Although I own a PS3 I am not a diehard Sony fanboy. Consequently I looked long and hard at whether to get a PS4 or a Xbox One. Having considered all the arguments for and against each console I eventually chose the PS4. I would have to agree with Neal Cropper (see above). He presents a balanced and reasonable assessment of the two systems. It's worth bearing in mind that currently limited functionality on both consoles is likely to be addressed by future firmware updates - I wouldn't worry too much about a lack of a MP3 player on the PS4, for example, this will be addressed in due course.

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