Hands On: PlayStation 4 Impressions

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There were a good crowd of people gathered outside Game in St. Stephens shopping mall in Hull city centre, all with one thing on their mind, getting hands on with PlayStation 4. The door opened at 7pm and people flocked to the 6 demo machines being used for the event, all had two DualShock4‘s, HD monitors, PS4 Cameras and an actual PS4 front and centre.

Dual Shock 4 Impressions:

The first thing I did was grab a pad and this image.

The first thing I did was grab a pad and this image.

Wow, what an improvement over the DS3, it feels slightly heavier but this could be due to the security cord/USB charging cable. It feels well balanced in the hands and the Touchpad / button was incredibly responsive. The Bottom shoulder buttons are loads smaller and have little concave flaps like my plastic triggers I added to my DS3. The sticks also have a concave top that my thumbs felt really a home in, as well an improved tension to them. I’ll discuss some of the features further as I talk about the games.

PlayRoom:
This was the first game I tried after a set up intro it started and found my first hitch with security teathered pads as I couldn’t quite get the pad where it was needed to calibrate but thankfully PlayRoom was forgiving enough to allow the app to start. When it does it’s like an introduction to the PS4 pads new features. Flying around deconstructing the pad to show it’s innards and introduce the use on the Touchpad was incredibly responsive, as was it’s click button. The Six-axis giros worked really well and the Lightbar tracked the pads location impeccably, and I even managed to hear sound coming from the pad’s Built in Speaker and felt the vibration force of the new Dual Motors.
The first mini game I tried involved swiping the Touchpad upwards to ping out robots from the light bar all over the screen and then sucking them back up. Swiping down gave a zoomed in view of inside the pad and the giros could be used to move the around. The image quality of the PS4[eyes] Camera was a major improvement over the PS3 PSEye, can see it coming in useful for an idea @JoypadAndMe have been discussing.

Apologies for the poor photo but it's of the actual Air Hockey game running on the demo pods.

Apologies for the poor photo but it’s of the actual Air Hockey game running on the demo pods, you can see the imbedded PS4 Camera at the bottom of the screen.

After that I loaded the Air Hockey game and there was someone stood behind me who I asked to join me. So on Sony’s next Gen monster we basically played Pong. Very nice looking Pong that controlled using the Touchpad and guess what? I earned my first PS4 Trophies, I won’t spoil how and sadly I only earned them on the demo unit, so don’t expect to see them on my PSN. I chatted with the fellow gamer about the controller’s feel and sensitivity, and the difference from the PS3 counterpart. We then exited PlayRoom and jumped into an actual game.

Knack:

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Sony’s first party title that our very own @TheDazeel got hands on with at EGX read what he thought HERE! I looks ok but I wouldn’t call it a day one purchase for me but it looks nice, controls really well as isometric anime styled beat ’em up.

being imbued with ice power was rather clever, and looked very pretty.

being imbued with ice power was rather clever, and looked very pretty.

The ability to grow the eponymous character through collecting bits, and makes him more powerful, the game starts to open combos up too. The demo was surprisingly long and introduced a stealth mechanic, which required you to discard your bits to allow you to pass laser-traps and into air vents. It’s nice to see Sony launching a new IP, which has potential to become a franchise to rival Jak & Daxter, or Ratchet & Clank. I would be really interested to see how this story plays out and could actually be a real overlooked gem on PS4.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch

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This was the game I was really eager to have play with, anyone who reads my reviews or listens to the JoypadAndMe Podcasts will know I love something quirky or just down right odd. This game hits the mark so hard it hurts. The opening image is a family photo as a woman, her two kids and strange coloured skinned father. “It’s good thing those kids have got their mother’s looks!” said my new gaming companion. “No one suspects a thing” is this game’s tagline, how you may ask after watching the below trailer.

The game controls really strangely as if you were an Octopus in trying to be a human, with two tentacles working as each limb. The sticks are used to control a tentacle which you use to accomplish a couple of grabbing tasks, as a tutorial. Then you are told to use L1 to switch to leg movement which is performed by alternating between pressing the bottoms triggers  to move the tentacles in his trousers, this is so funny. Today is your wedding day to the woman in opening picture and you’ve got to get dressed for the big day, finding your Tuxedo,  Bow tie and Top Hat before entering the church. Trying to pick things up is a challenge but it’s so much fun. I will be buying this as soon as it’s on the store which I believe is due for Jan 2014 release.

FIFA14
The only 3rd party game playable on the demo systems was small title by a developer called Electronic Arts and it’s about football. A few people were discussing it and saying it was a yearly franchise. Must have passed me by but it was the game nearly everyone there seemed to boot up first.  Ok so of course I know what FIFA is and I have played on pretty much every games system I’ve had, but never owned a copy main due to the fact I’m not a massive footie fan. I was quite impressed though, playing two player with another non FIFA player was actually quite a lot of fun. Looks really good and game is seamless in parts not broken up by animations everytime the ball goes out of play. Not my type of game but I can certainly see it’s appeal.

Contrast:

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As we discussed in this weeks JAMcast (which should be online soon) about the delays that have hit the next generation launch, this is the game replacing the sadly Delayed DriveClub as one of the PS4 PlayStation Plus Freebies along with Resogun. After checking out a trailer I was actually quite interested and of all the demos showing it was the only one I completed fully. It’s a third person action puzzler, with a female lead. Nice one Compulsion Games, the game actually looks really lovely.

Is PS4 going to be the platform that finally acknowledges that female leads are important?

Is PS4 going to be the platform that finally acknowledges that female leads are important?

The main method of solving puzzles required hopping into the shadows to be able to navigate the landscape,  which has a very Noir feel to it. You character can warp into the shadows and use them as if they were physical platforms and switch out back to the solid world. It reminds me heavily of PS3 & PSP game Echochrome as that use a similar system, nice to see another indie developer making a noteworthy game.

Final thoughts:

The crowd of eager gamers in Hull, at the six demo pods. Taken by a Game staff member. Where's 'Jomb?

The crowd of eager gamers in Hull, at the six demo pods. Taken by a Game staff member. Where’s ‘Jomb?

It did give me a idea of how the PS4 OS works with everything being tiles and easily navigated using the rather responsive and special Touchpad. I’m really looking forward to how this will be integrated with big PS4 releases, as its so responsive. It wasn’t the full OS but was interesting to be able to have a play. The speed with which the demos lauched was really impressive and ability to navigate back to the demo menu was really fast. The DS4 is really a pleasure to hold and use, certainly a huge improvement over the PS3‘s cheap feeling and less solid pads. I will certainly be getting the PS4 Camera at some point as it has a lot of potential, but as it’s not compulsory like Kinnect for XBone. So I fear PS4 Camera may be overlooked by developers, but could work well for eight person group Chat & recording potential if EyeCreate is included.

I managed to grab a chat with the very knowledgeable Brummie Sony rep who was discussing about the features of the system not shown, including advising of getting a PSVita and the Remote Play features, requirement for PS+ for online gaming, and the games coming as part of the subscription. He seemed impressed with the number of PS4s that were already pre-ordered, and the events are having a great turn out across the country. As someone who wasn’t able to get hands on at EGX I feel I got the better deal as I didn’t have to queue and got a good hours worth of play with the PS4 a month before release.
It was a shame that the major hitters like NFS:Rivals, AC4:BF, Watch_Dogs, DriveClub, Killzone Shadow Fall etc weren’t playable but the system did have screen shots and videos installed, so that you can get an idea of how these games look. We at Joypadandme.com have been hands on with some of these titles and can read our staff’s opinions in the related links section below.

Next week is Games Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag launch event and my mission is to stealthy sneak in to @GAMEhullsuper‘s event, drink rum, get tattooed, play some AC4 (hopefully on PS4) and escape with my Bucaneer Edition Booty. A full debrief will follow, hopefully containing damning photographic evidence of this debauched pirate themed event.

Connor McKervey (aka VDJOMB)

Hull based PlayStation Fanboy, lover of the PSVita, reviewer, writer and podcaster for Joypadandme.com. @vdjomb on Twitter

Hull based PlayStation Fanboy, lover of the PSVita, reviewer, writer and podcaster for Joypadandme.com. @vdjomb on Twitter

A big thanks to the staff of @GAMEHull for putting on the event. Refreshments were provided  but not consumed by the writer, all travel costs were paid for by the writer. All images are copyright of Sony unless otherwise stated.

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