Some of you living in the UK may be aware that recently there was a nationwide purge of the old PS4 models in order for stores to stock and sell the new PS4 Slim and Pro models. The original (and better looking in my opinion) model was sold with a copy of Fifa 17 for only £150 making it the best deal in a long time and sending an entire nation of gamers into a frenzy. The internet exploded with sites listing these cheap bundles and people arrived en mass to snatch them up causing several sites to either fail, oversell, or both. I was successful to an extent, I was able to secure a copy online from a certain UK based videogame store with an orange logo, though unfortunately they oversold and I received the dreaded e-mail saying they could not honour my order. I then promptly called every store in my local City only to find that every single store you can imagine had the deal and promptly sold out. Fortunately for me I found one with a single copy left, then I darted into my car, gunned it to 88 and picked up my beloved new PS4.
All of this to explain my reasoning behind purchasing a PS4. I already own an Xbox One and a reasonably powerful Gaming PC. It’s likely that I wouldn’t have purchased a PS4 had it not been for this excellent deal, however I am very glad I did, as I’ve noticed a significant improvement compared to the experiences my Xbox and PC offered.
So of course the most important element of a console generation, here the PS4 often excels where the Xbox lacks. We’ve had years of releases for both Xbox and PS4 which have often involved 1080p on PS4 and 900p on Xbox one, of course this is not always the case but it seems to be more often than not. Which is why I purchased a gaming PC, I bought the Xbox because it had the best exclusives with the Halo series, Gears of War and Forza Horizon, all excellent games but when it came to releases on both consoles I couldn’t stand having the lesser version, so I built a gaming PC. A good few hundred quid later I had a capable machine that maxed out most AAA games at near 60FPS, but then began my love hate relationship with PC gaming.
– Community: The community is great for the most part, with Steam reviews and forums offering helpful advice, and game publishers tend to respect PC gamers, with things such as free upgrades to remasters, namely the Bioshock and Skyrim remasters both being free for PC gamers who already own the originals, which is a hell of a nice touch.
– Cheap games: By using sites such as CD Keys and waiting on Steam sales and Humble Bundles its easy to get a game for PC for a fraction of the price of a console game, even within just a few weeks of its release. I think I got Mirror’s Edge Catalyst the other day for PC for just £12. Which is not bad considering it hasn’t been out too long.
– Customisation: Most PC releases allow you to tweak every little visual feature to make the most of your machine. Which can be an excellent way to get the greatest visual experience possible whilst still retaining that smooth frame rate ethere are also more advanced options depending on which monitor you have such as higher resolutions and refresh rates. Which brings me to the downsides.
– Reliability – Deus Ex Mankind Divided is the game that has successfully driven me against PC gaming. For all the customisation options in its visuals even with my capable gaming PC I cannot get a consistent frame rate. I have a silky smooth 60FPS in most areas that drops to an unplayable 13 FPS in most hub areas. I have spent more time fiddling with settings and searching for fixes on steam forums than I have spent playing the game. This caused me to wish I had purchased this for console, for which I would have been able to insert a disk and play the game without worrying about any of these technical issues. For the most part PC gaming is fine, but on more than few occasions I have found that during an important battle, my controller has disconnected, or I get returned to the desktop for no obvious reason. These things happen much less often in console gaming, though I guess it’s the price to pay for superiority.
– Online Gaming – There are some excellent online games for PC, my issue with them is that it’s a considerably more serious environment than it is on console. So much so that when approaching an online game that you haven’t played for a while you’re basically target practise, and you can forget about using your precious controller as the keyboard and mouse players will destroy you every time.
The console experience offers less graphical fidelity and for the most part doesn’t exceed 30fps which compared to 60fps+ feels like someone throwing dirt in your eyes, but often the price to pay for having these additional frames and visuals are too much as they involve fighting too many fires to fix any issues that arise. Sometimes you just want the simplicity of chucking a game disk into your machine when you have an hour free.
Media PS4 vs Xbox One
The next best use for a console is a media centre, and this is where the PS4 surprised me most. Considering the Xbox One had a massive initial focus on being an all in one media centre, it’s alarming sluggish, which after a while I just got used to, until I began using my PS4 to control my media and found it to be such a slick experience.
Apps – Now TV is an app that I use for the majority of my streaming, it has Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, and American Horror Story, everything the body needs. When I opened the app up on PS4 I expected the same sluggish experience that is on the Xbox, but instead I found a much more intuitive layout, with much more responsive menu changes. Which meant that I immediately swapped my viewing methods to using the PS4. I found this to be the same with every app I tried, every app that is featured on the Xbox as well as the PS4 seems to run better on PS4. Just like the majority of games, given the choice, they’re better on PS4. There are definitely some features on Xbox that are missed, such as unlocking a new background every time you earn an achievement, and having a customisable set of pins to put your favourite games on your home screen, I also love the weekly Major Nelson videos that prevent the company from feeling like a faceless entity and more like a friendly community. Unfortunately, these things aren’t enough to retain me from using my PS4 over the Xbox. I have forever had an allegiance to Xbox after the clear superiority (in my opinion) the original Xbox had over the PS2. That allegiance was not well placed in this console generation, if I had initially bought a PS4, maybe I wouldn’t have been compelled to purchase a gaming PC so early into the console cycle, because I would have been more satisfied with the machine I already owned.
Oh well, there’s always Project Scorpio!