Monday, 9 July 2018

New Arrival - PlayStation 4

By jingo, here's a post I never expected to be writing! Those who know me will know of my general disdain for modern gaming, especially the so-called 'consoles' which barely even are consoles these days, requiring an astounding amount of 'updating' and other such nonsense. Trying to play a game on one is even more ridiculous with sometimes hours of downloading, patches, updates, and installations required to get them running. Then of course you find that a ton of stuff has been left out, most likely on purpose to make future 'updates' seem worthwhile, and that half of the stuff that is there has to be bought separately!

Here it is, being watched by Luca, my ferocious guard cat...
Good heavens above, it drives me up the wall but many seem to lap it up - gaming is probably more popular today than ever before so I'm certainly in the minority (what else is new!). That doesn't alter the fact that, with the exception of the hyper-splendid (and ever-expanding) world of indie games, I have pretty much completely failed to embrace any new system since the mighty Dreamcast. I did get a PlayStation 3 quite late on, but that was primarily for its Blu-Ray and later Netflix abilities which have together accounted for probably around 95% of its use, but I had no plans whatsoever to get a PS4 or Xbone. I already had virtually no interest in them but I had also heard from Facebook friends that they were supposedly even worse than their predecessors in terms of all the faffing about (updates, etc).

But lo, fate it seems had decided to intervene, in the form of the so-called 'Black Friday' sale. Generally I try to ignore it when we pointlessly adopt American customs (how long before we 'celebrate' Thanksgiving as well?) but my wife was tired of me complaining about my three-year-old mobile phone (ancient by phone standards) and pointed me toward an offer she had seen for a new Sony Xperia XZ phone.

Driveclub, the first 'proper' game I bought...
Not only was this slightly fancier than my existing device but it also cost barely more than the 'sim only' contract I was already on at the time. This in itself made it an impressive offer, but it also, almost inexplicably, came with a free PS4 too! Now, I may not have had a great deal of enthusiasm for the current generation of consoles or the main games on them, but I certainly wasn't stupid enough to turn down a free console, even if it did come with Fifa something-or-other (it's not a series I'm fond of for mainly non-game-specific reasons). It arrived pretty quickly too, along with my new phone of course, but unlike many who would probably make one of those bizarre 'unboxing videos', I didn't even take it from the box for a few days. One I did unveil it (to myself) though, I was pleasantly surprised...

I was expecting hours of faffing around, including those infernal system updates of course, but no - I was up and running almost straight away. Before much longer I had downloaded some demos from the PSN Store and was even playing stuff! This was nowhere near as bad as I had been told - the console itself was pretty small so it fitted nicely on top of my Xbox and the new controller is superb. The new menu system took a little getting used to but even that caused no real issues.

There was one unexpected feature that won me over more than any other though - the screenshot button. This might sound like such a tiny, insignificant little thing (and I guess it is), but I was overjoyed to find it. I love taking screenshots of games I'm playing anyway (even if it does make the game harder for me as I let enemies build up to get a better shot!) but it also affects this very blog - despite owning an original Xbox, a PS3, and a Wii, one reason I feature so few of their games here is that getting decent untagged screenshots is nearly impossible (especially for the Xbox), but with the PS4 I can take as many as I want! You can therefore expect to see a good few reviews over the next few months. Well, having said that, I've actually had my PS4 for more than six months now which probably gives a good indication of how long it takes me to get around to writing blog posts these days, but I will do some reviews - I swear it, by the old gods and the new.

These will most likely be reviews of indie titles, much like the ones I buy from Steam and Good Old Games and occasionally review - I already have around 12 games for my new system and only Fifa and Driveclub are what you might call 'proper' Triple-A games - but I can't wait to get cracking on them anyway. I already have enough screenshots to do reviews of at least two games. Chortle!

I never expected to own any of the current systems but I'm glad this one fell into my lap. It's a shame it's not a PS4 Pro as I'd finally be able to watch Netflix in 4K then, but I shouldn't be ungrateful - it's clearly a great system, especially for fans of indie games like me, and I expect to spend quite a bit of time with it. I'll probably even buy some of the prettier games just to grab screenshots from them!

Anyone else pleasantly surprised by an unexpected console acquisition?


  1. Wow, what a great deal, Simon!! :O

    I for one already own something like ten or more PS4 retail games, but still no console... My plan was to get one as present for Christmas last year, but Santa probably thought I hadn't been such a nice kid. :P

    So my hope lies in the next Black Friday! hehehehehe

    1. Haha, I did something similar with the original Xbox - I bought OutRun 2 intending to buy the console soon afterwards but it ended up being about 8 years later! I kept the game though, and it worked fine :)

  2. It is very good machine for a single player.