Sunday, November 17, 2013

Playstation 4 (PS4)


PS4

- Ordered the launch edition within ours of the announcement from Amazon.
- Luckily I got a working one.  No blue line of death so far knock on wood.  I've probably put in about 12 hrs of use so far without too many issues.

Upgrading the hard drive:
- Right out of the box I wanted to upgrade the hard drive to the largest available size.  The largest one I could find that would fit (< 12.5mm) was this 1.5TB 5400 rpm laptop drive for about $120:
HGST Travelstar 5K1500
I picked one up a few weeks ago so I would have it all ready for launch day so I could swap out the hard drive before I even do a first boot.  I plan to go all digital this generation mostly for the convenience and less physical media to store.  I expect to use the PS Vita remote play quite a bit and the ability to switch games without having to go upstairs and swap discs in the ps4 sounds very appealing.
- Here are some good instructions on how to do it:
http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/171003-how-to-replace-or-upgrade-your-ps4-hard-drive
- Initially, I kept getting error ce-30776-3 when trying to reinstall the system software from a usb flash drive.
- Most usb flash drives won't actually fit because of how narrowly recessed those ports are on the front. Pretty stupid design if you ask me. I hope you have a usb extension handy.
- Two different types of sandisk usb flash drives (16gb ultra, 16gb cruzer) gave me the above error for some reason. I properly formatted to fat32 and created the proper dir structure (\PS4\UPDATE\). I finally had to use a sd card reader and an old 1GB sd card and that seemed to work.
- 1.5TB hdd shows 1314 GB free.  That should be able to fit at least 29 or so full sized games.

- Dual shock 4 is pretty great.  I still prefer the xbox 360 location of the analog sticks but the DS4 is very pleasant to use vs the DS3 which was pretty horrid.  The triggers and analog sticks are much improved.  After many hours of use though I do find the controller a bit small for me and the way I grip it the left side of my right hand middle finger tip is getting sore from constant pressure being applied there.  This never happened on the xbox 360 controller.  I still hate how the batteries aren't user replaceable and they are too cheap to include a usb cable with additional controllers purchased.
- The speaker built into the controller is pretty neat.
- I did pick up the camera but haven't used it for much.  I setup the facial recognition but really it's just easier to pick your profile with the controller so at this point there really is no point in owning one except to say you have it.
- I tested streaming live broadcast to twitch while playing Contrast and viewing it on my iPad.  It worked fine at High quality setting.  When I set it to best I had the video was very stuttery.  It might be my 3 mbps upstream limit that it is hitting.  Overall, it was very easy to setup and get going but probably not something I'll use very much.  Disable view comments to get full screen while streaming.
- Sharing video clips only works with facebook and the quality is only average even when viewing with HD on.  It's no where as good as 1080p youtube which I hope they add in the future.  You double tap the share button to mark the start of the video and then tap share again to stop it.  To view it locally you can go to your profile | files section and view it there.  Sharing will queue it up for upload to facebook in the background.  You also have some limited trim editing.
- PS Vita remote play worked on everything I tried including all the games listed below.  You want to make sure you have a very good wifi router and good signal strength.  If the bandwidth drops off it's very noticable with heavy artifacting and loss of control.  It works very well most of the time and is even quite playable in shooters like CoD.  I did try multiplayer briefly but man it's way too hard to aim quickly with those tiny analog sticks and finding targets on that tiny screen but it does work.  For campaign it's not bad.  They even customize the control layout in the options and shows a vita which is a nice touch.  Tactical items are triggered by on screen touch icons.  It has L1,L3, R1,R3 mapped to 4 quadrants of the back touch surface which kind of works.  I don't really like it since I usually rest my fingers back there when I hold it.  For simpler games it's great like Resogun and Contrast and is still serviceable on the shooters.  You can also remotely turn the ps4 on and off.  I find if you have a better than -50 RSSI you'll have excellent results.
- Heat.  Seems most of the heat is in the back right side of the console.  I stuck a fan above it to keep air moving and it seems to help a lot.
- Party chat up to 8 people.
- Download status is buried in notifications.

Resogun
- Robotron -> Geometry wars as Defender -> Resogun
-Graphics are great and so are the controlls.  It's free to PSN+ members so grab this first since it's a quick download and you can play it while your other games download.

Contrast
- It's the other free PSN+ game.  It's pretty original and quirky but the controls are very twitchy and imprecise.  I've only spent a few minutes in it so far but the use of light and shadow is pretty interesting.

KillZone
- Graphics are pretty impressive.  I was able to play after the first 7GB downloaded and you can see which chapter it's currently downloading from withing the game menu.  I've played the first few chapters; haven't tried the multiplayer.  The multiple uses of the little flying sidekick robot does add some new welcome mechanics except hacking alarms....that just gets annoying after a while.  It's one of the few exclusives out at launch so what else are  you going to pick up.  I've only ever finished killzone 2 (#1 I got to the last level and quit, #3 I quick about half way through).  I'll probably finish this one just for the eye candy.  Overall, a competent shooter with kind of a lame tutorial/intro level.

Call of Duty Ghosts
- So I bought the pc version and the ps4. PC has some issues: some graphical glitches when it rains and I have the latest nvidia drivers and the occasional odd hitching. It's really frustrating bc it often happens when an enemy suddenly appears around a corner so it definitely will get you killed. And this is on a killer rig: 4770k, 660 ti, 16gb ram, Samsung 840 pro ssd. It also looks like ass on anything other than the extra setting. It seems to internally render at a lower res then scales up to the resolution you set in anything other than extra. Performance is quite a bit worse too on lower end hardware and it really doesn't look all that next gen.
- Ps4 runs like butter, no hitching, and no graphical glitches. I'm 1.26kd on ps4 vs .86 on pc. Ps4 version all the way if you ask me.  It's crazy that a $400 machine plays this game better than my $1300 PC.
- So apparently there is no way to mute the mic on the camera.  So that means in cod matches everybody gets to hear anything said in the entire room.  One work around is to create a party with only you in it.  Make sure it's on party chat vs game chat and volume is set to normal (instead of party priority).  That way you are only talking to yourself.

Battlefield 4
- I also own this on PC and PS4.  Frostbite 3 engine is absolutely gorgeous and the best looking game that really shows off next gen.  It looks fantastic on PC and almost as good on the PS4.  It did crash my ps4 one time with some error message though while I was doing remote play through the vita.  This corrupted my single player save and erased it.  Luckily I only had finished the first mission but man it's annoying.  PC version is even more crash prone and buggy but they just released a large client side patch that I need to try.
Update: So BF4 on PS4 actually makes the PC version look solid and bug free. It really is a mess and unplayable at this time. I had my save file corrupted 3 times now so apparently you have about a 0% chance of actually finishing the campaign for the unlocks before you get your save corrupted. You can only join certain smaller game types in multiplayer and expect to get disconnected at anytime for no reason. So really there are no aspects of the game that I would even call playable at the moment.  It's good to see EA upholding their reputation as worst company ever.

Need for Speed Rivals
- It's another frostbite 3 engine game so yes I must have it!  It does look and play great.  It's got 2 stories you can hop between: cops and racers.  It has the whole open world thing going and constant online.  So far I like it.

- There are still a few free to play games I need to try out.

Highly Recommended.  I'm so glad next gen is finally here, and the PS4 is off to a great start.  Most of the key elements are all here besides not really having any must have exclusives but the hardware seems solid if you got a good one.  We'll see how the XBOX One does next week but I'm pretty sure the PS4 is going to be my primary console this generation.

UPDATE:
- Here are some handy tips.  What is really cool is only one person has to have psn+ and then anybody on that console can play online multiplayer.  This is handled so much better than microsoft.
- Battlefield 4 multiplayer:  20 player games seem to work fine and is pretty stable.  I do like how there are a bunch of DICE official dedicated servers.  I could never get a 64 player game going.  It seemed like the server would keep restarting right after the match would start.  Also, it doesn't seem to have server queues if you try and join a full one like the PC version does.  I would also get odd messages like commander slots are full when I'm just trying to join as a regular player.  Overall, BF4 is pretty darn buggy even on console but when it works it seems to play well.
- Killzone multiplayer:  I played it for about 10 min.  I'm still wrapping my head around it.  At least it works well as far as joining and getting into the game.
- Playroom: 3 mini games to mess around with the camera.  Come play the most expensive version of pong ever though twisting the board by moving the controller is kind of neat.  The dance club inside the controller is neat too with you pressing buttons to control the lights.  It feels very kinect 1 ish but should be amusing for a good 30 min.  2nd screen functionality with the iPhone app doesn't seem to be working yet.
- Live on playstation: watch others play games.  I watched a bit of angry joe.  Video quality is meh.  You've got text comments and it seems to have the ability to interact but that was disabled.
- Warframe: Graphics aren't bad but the artwork is kind of ugly.  3rd person shooter/melee online free to play with 4 players.  I did one mission. It played pretty well but it's odd that is 3rd person without a cover mechanic.  Melee has no impact.  It doesn't feel like you are hitting anything and instead just go through everything.  There is pretty much no feedback that you hit anything.  This game hard locked my PS4 for the first time while it was doing it's update.  I had to hold down the power button for 7 sec to shut it down.
- Blacklight Retribution: F2P also on PC.  Says it's still beta.  It could never find a game to join.  Played around in training with bots.  Very meh when there are so many better paid shooters available.
- DC Online: F2P action MMORPG.  I really enjoyed this.  This was my first time trying it out.  I like the action oriented combat and the graphics were pretty good.  It has great character customization too.  I was pleasantly surprised by this game.
- The web browser is pretty speedy though it doesn't do flash.
- Picked up Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag for some 1080p native solid framerate goodness.  I finished the first story mission on Havana and did some side stuff.  I've only played and finished AC 1 and 2.  The ship stuff is fun.  Combat is a bit deeper now with break moves instead of just counter and attack.  The game runs at a very smooth framerate at a full 1080p resolutions.  Textures and rain are nicer too.  It's not a huge leap over current gen but it's a nice little upgrade and the best way to play AC4 right now.
- The more I use the system the more I love it.  PS4 really is turning out to be a fantastic console.  XBOX One is going to have to do a heck of a lot to impress me this Friday.

UPDATE 2:
- Tried vita remote play over the internet.  My home connection is a 24/3 fiber to the premises uverse connection.  Vita was on a wifi network with very good bandwidth and signal strength.  I was able to power up my PS4 and connect without issue.  No port forwarding needed (upnp is enabled on my asus rt-ac66u).  Overall I was really impressed with the video and sound quality.  It was better than what I expected.  Input lag was quite noticeable.  I played a few games of Resogun and it felt like a slow LCD HDTV that wasn't put in game mode.  It wasn't unplayable but it definitely impacts gameplay.  Still, very cool it just worked.
- Manufactured in Yantai Sept 2013
- Logitech bluetooth ps3 media board pro keyboard paired and worked just fine.

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