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Xbox One And PS4 Reviews: Who Won The Launch?
We’re approaching a full month since both the Xbox One and PS4 have been out and in the hands of the gamers. The next gen is alive and kicking but now the tough question needs to be answered: who won the launch month?
This isn’t about sales numbers. This isn’t about the “fastest selling console” or the “best selling console”. This is about the consoles themselves. Which one is worth it right now? Which one should you buy? Both the Xbox One and PS4 are great in their own rights but these are big purchases and if you’re the type of gamer that expects to own both some time down the line, you should have all the information possible to make your decision.
I was fortunate enough to pick up an Xbox One and PS4 on both of their launch days. I’ve been playing my brains out on both consoles trying to form a full opinion on them to help my friends and family figure out which one is the best purchase this holiday season. Launch months can be iffy. Games can bad and releases are slow. The same can be said for this new generation of consoles, as well. However, the Xbox One and PS4 have plenty to offer, even at launch.
Let’s start with the PS4.
Sony PlayStation 4: A Quick First Month Review
Release Date: 11/15/13
Games Owned: (DISC) Assassin’s Creed IV, Battlefield 4, Injustice, Killzone, LEGO Marvel, Madden. (DOWNLOADED) Contrast, DC Universe Online, Doki Doki Universe, Resogun, Warframe.
The first thing I realized when I opened the box to the PS4 was how nice the console looks. It truly is a great design and remarkably small. The first thing I checked after opening the box to the PS4 was if my HDMI port was working or not. Unfortunately, a friend of mine was graced with a defective console and we both ordered our’s from Amazon. Fortunately, mine was functioning correctly and I began exploring the PS4 immediately after the automatic update.
Interface & Simplicity
The PS4’s interface is amazingly simple. Getting around is fast and the amount of information thrown at you is presented in a way that is easy to follow. When you turn on the system you’re greeted by square, almost card-like applications that shows your most recently used games or apps. Just about each game or app has a feed that will show up below it that can be accessed by pressing down on the application. This is where you’ll see your history with the app and your friends’ history. Trophies, progress, viewing history, and other information is shown off in a Pinterest-like way. Pressing up from the application “cards” will bring you to the menu where you can enter the store, check your friends list, see your trophies, and configure the PS4.
Basically just by scrolling left or right, pressing down for information, or up for the menu and you’ll navigate the PS4’s interface just about completely. The only other menu that can be brought up is with the Options button on the DualShock 4 controller. When you press this on an application or game “card”, you’ll be able to check the update history, delete the contents of that app or game, close the application if it was opened, or look at the manual. Overall, you really have to admire how easy it is to get around on the PS4. You can navigate the interface with your voice, like the Kinect, however you really don’t need to due to the simplicity of the UI.
Some games, like Killzone, even allow you to launch into single player or online multiplayer from the PS4’s interface. While not all games do this, it is easy to launch into any game or application and begin experiencing the PS4.
The DualShock 4
I will go into detail here but right off the bat I can tell you that the DualShock 4 is the best controller ever made for a home gaming console. Sony did a great job here and it was about time that the DualShock line was changed up.
Let’s start with the triggers: L2 and R2. These triggers are fantastically designed with lips at the end that shoot upward. This helps keep your fingers on the triggers, which was a common issue gamers had with the DualShock 3. The pressure-sensitive triggers do a great job here during gameplay. This kind of improvement can also be found on the analog sticks. A PlayStation controller finally gets some “dips”. The nubs on the sticks dub in on around the inner portion and then raise a bit in the center. The analog sticks still aren’t as good as the Xbox 360 or even the new Xbox One controller but they are a huge improvement over the DualShock 3.
There isn’t just improvement with the existing buttons and features, either. The DualShock 4 features a new touch pad that also clicks in as an extra button. So far I’ve seen some map features used, like in Assassin’s Creed IV, but mainly developers at launch have used this new button as a replacement for Select. While a bit disappointing, it is only launch and I can see the touch pad and button having some interesting uses in the future. This effectively brings touch to the PS4, albeit in a small package. It won’t be like the Wii U or an iPad, but developers have an extra feature to work with.
Overall the DualShock 4 is a huge improvement over the DualShock 3. This is the best PlayStation controller ever made and the best controller ever designed. Period. It’s obviously still a preference with each gamer over which controller design they prefer, however, it is hard to deny the improvements and additions Sony added with the DualShock 4.
As you can see in the list I added at the top of the PS4 section, I had plenty to choose from for my first month with the console. I’ve played action adventure games, sports games, MMOs, first person shooters, and fighting games. Although the launch selection wasn’t amazing on the PS4, there was plenty of genres out there to please many gamers.
The game that, so far, has taken the most of my time on the PS4 has been Resogun. A bit surprising as I had plenty of hype for Killzone: Shadow Fall, but when you look at the entire launch lineup, it was hard to pick out some outstanding releases. Resogun, Contrast, and even Doki Doki Universe have proven to be excellent launch releases for the PSN.
Resogun itself is absolutely stunning for such a simple game. It really shows off the particle effects that the PS4 can achieve that can also be seen in explosive scenes in Killzone and even Assassin’s Creed IV, to some effect. Overall, the launch lineup on the PS4 really hasn’t been groundbreaking. Most of the games can be found on the PS3 or the Xbox 360 and a lot of them are just ports that don’t take advantage of the new hardware. Madden does somewhat of a good job thanks to the new Ignite engine, but next year’s Madden should be a sight to behold if EA looks at the amazing NBA 2K14 as an example of next gen sports. Assassin’s Creed IV is just a port with enhanced textures and resolution but otherwise does nothing to take advantage of the PS4. This pattern stretches across most of the PS4 launch lineup.
However, I’d be lying if I said the entire lineup was like this. Killzone is a fantastic look into what next gen on the PS4 could be like. Knack is a glorified tech demo that tries its best to bring back the nostalgia of characters like Crash and Spyro. It’s a fun and challenging game, if not repetitive, and offers a great look at how the PS4 can handle tons of things on-screen.
In Conclusion of the PS4
For my first month with the PS4, I was left excited about the future and underwhelmed by the experience. As nice as the PS4 looks and as simple the interface is, the launch lineup just didn’t do it for me. I am enjoying Killzone, Resogun, and even the updated DC Universe Online, but those three games weren’t enough to make me feel happy about being an early adopter.
The PS4 will surely be insanely strong in the future with 2014 already looking like a winner with Deep Down, inFamous: Second Son, Thief, PlanetSide 2, Day Light, Final Fantasy XIV, Watch_Dogs, Metal Gear Solid, MLB 14: The Show, Destiny, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Dying Light, Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls, and many more interesting titles.
It may not be overly exciting at launch, but the PS4 is a great purchase just by looking at the future the console should have. It’s already the best selling console and if you have patience, the PS4 is a fine buy.
Microsoft Xbox One: A Quick First Month Review
RELEASE Date: 11/22/13
Games Owned: (DISC) Call Of Duty: Ghosts, Dead Rising 3, Forza 5, RYSE. (DOWNLOADED) Killer Instinct, Peggle 2, Powerstar Golf.
Just one week after getting my PS4, I found myself opening a Day One box containing an Xbox One. While the console itself may not be as nicely designed or compact as the PS4, Microsoft sure did produce an impressive looking device.
The Xbox One features a ton of ports and is a beast of a box. Being built as an all-in-one entertainment device requires plenty more than just a power port, HDMI port, digital out, and some USB ports. With that all said, you would be hard pressed to say that the Xbox One looks good. It’s bulky, heavy, and… sigh… as much as I don’t want to it, it looks like a DVR box. That may be what Microsoft has in mind but when put up against Sony’s PS4, the design and overall look is far and away from a fair comparison.
Not Just For Gaming
Still, not everything is about looks. The Xbox One holds within it a ton of features and has a lot to offer. The one thing that extremely helps the Xbox One during its launch is just how much you can do with it aside from gaming. While the PS4 is a gamer’s console, the Xbox One is a centerpiece for a living room. Microsoft wanted to dominate entertainment in a household and they’ve succeeded. I have my RCN TiVo box plugged into the Xbox One and that allows me to watch football on Sundays while having the NFL app snapped to the right showing me updating scores all across the league.
While that is just one example of what you can do with the Xbox One and its entertainment features, my point here is that I don’t have to worry about the games and the launch issues as much as I had to with the PS4.
Interface & The Kinect
While the PS4 won me over with its simplicity and ease of navigation, the Xbox One gets the clunky award. This interface is not intuitive at all. Just to give a quick example of how the Xbox One’s interface is no where near as good as the PS4’s, I had to search for the system settings for minutes until I found it in the My Apps & Games… uh… app. You can also use the Menu button on the controller to quickly get to settings but hey, guess what, that isn’t something the interface shows off.
To get the most out of the Xbox One interface, you have to do some digging around. Just like learning a new operating system, you have to click and see where you go. On the PS4, all you have to do is press up, down, left, or right. Hmm.
That’s where the Kinect comes into play. I was not a fan of this thing back on the Xbox 360. The voice commands were horrid and the accuracy of the original Kinect was suspect. With the Kinect 2, I am pleased to say that the results are much, much better. In fact, I use the Kinect to navigate through the interface as my primary control method. It is just so much easier to say “Xbox, go to Settings” or “Xbox, watch TV” than it is to search through the interface or open up the My Apps & Games…again…app and look for what you want.
Using the Kinect to turn on or off the console is also fun. It doesn’t always work the first time when you say “Xbox on” but it does work. You just may have to say it twice or five times.
Overall, while the interface may be clunky and nowhere near as intuitive as the PS4’s, using the Kinect is much better this time around and getting around the console using it is actually kind of fun. Since the Kinect’s voice commands work much better on the Xbox One, I don’t feel like an idiot talking to my console around my friends.
The Xbox One Controller
There isn’t much different here from the Xbox 360 controller, to be honest. The form is slightly smaller and somewhat compact but actually feels better in the hand. The heft of the controller is about the same as both the Xbox 360 controller and also the DualShock 4.
The triggers are different in the way they are designed but they mostly act the same as the 360’s trigger, although they feel a bit more lighter to push in this time around. There is one cool thing about the triggers on the Xbox One controller, though. The triggers feature vibration inside of them and depending on the game you’re playing, you may not even be able to experience the feature, or the vibration may or may not make the gaming experience better. With Forza, the triggers will vibrate when doing some tight turns and that is actually pretty awesome.
What I don’t understand with the Xbox One controller is the power method Microsoft chose here. Once again, just like the 360, these controller come with battery compartments. For the second generation in a row, Sony has chargeable batteries inside of the DualShock. Not only that, but both controllers cost the same at $59.99 MSRP. So what gives? It can’t be the fact that the Kinect works with the controllers via sensor because the DualShock 4 also has a sensor for the PS4’s camera. It can’t be vibration because the DualShock 4 also features vibration. The DualShock 4 also features a touch pad and can play TV audio through the headset port. So again, I ask, what gives? Why am I using AA batteries in my next gen controller?
Aside from the battery issue, the Xbox One controller continues the excellence that the 360 brought with it. This is a fine controller and easy to play games with for a long period of time. While this controller may not be better than the DualShock 4 overall, it still features the best analog sticks and have a much, much better D-Pad than the 360’s controller.
I made a point just above that the Xbox One is not just a gaming console. I also said that I didn’t have to worry about the Xbox One’s launch game lineup and its quality. With that said, I still didn’t have to worry about the launch game lineup since the console actually launched with some sweet games.
I have all three Day One games which include Dead Rising 3, Forza 5, and RYSE: Son of Rome. These three games alone are the best of the best when it comes to this gen’s launch lineups. Dead Rising 3 is a carnival of fun, especially when you get into the online co-op. Forza 5 may have the best presentation I’ve ever seen in a video game and Jemery Clarkson from Top Gear UK makes me genuinely care about the cars, race tracks, and racing in general. RYSE is the most graphically superior video game ever produced. Hands down.
I’d like to go into more detail on my options of those games but let’s move on, shall we? Besides those three titles, the Xbox One also launched with some surprisingly great downloadable titles in Killer Instinct and Powerstar Golf. I just recently reviewed Powerstar Golf, which has seriously surprised me as it has taken the most of my time out of all of my Xbox One and PS4 games. Killer Instinct is also an amazing fighting game.
With five titles that have given me tons of fun already, I can’t even make a comparison with the PS4 launch lineup. The Xbox One has the better games right now and while 2014 looks great for Microsoft, it doesn’t look as good as the PS4’s upcoming releases. That may change as we haven’t even entered the year yet and there are plenty of announcements to be made. However, looking at what we know of right now, the Xbox One will have games like Titanfall, Thief, Plants & Zombies: Garden Warfare, Watch_Dogs, Metal Gear Solid, Project Spark, Destiny, Dragon Age: Inquisition, The Witcher 3, The Division, The Evil Within, Dying Light, The Crew, and many more.
In Conclusion of the Xbox One
My biggest concern with the Xbox One is how the game library will stack up with the PS4 over time. While the PS3 had a slow start, over the course of its lifetime (and still going, honestly) the library eventually eclipsed the Xbox 360 and kept running. Since this time around, the PS4 is more technically powerful than the Xbox One, Microsoft will have to do more to ensure their exclusive library and indie titles keep up with the PS4’s initial momentum and growing IP list from the PS3.
Aside from that, I am genuinely having a lot more fun with the Xbox One at launch than I am with the PS4. Most of that is due to Powerstar Golf with my friends and the great exclusives occupying the launch lineup. The entertainment features with the TV, OneGuide, Xbox Music, and various apps have also kept me occupied.
If you’re wondering if the Xbox One is worth buying right now, I say yes. It instantly offers entertainment and fun out of the box. Being more than just a gaming machine also offers more value and addition to the living room experience.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Kinect is much better with the Xbox One and the way it recognizes you and any other person you set a profile up for is just so cool.
Xbox One and PS4: Which Console Won The Launch? Which One Should You Buy?
Throughout the past month I’ve experienced a lot that the next gen has to offer. Both launches have done very well in terms of numbers. I hope my insight into both consoles help with your purchase either this holiday or early next year.
As you can see, both consoles have their strengths and weaknesses out of the box. The PS4 may not have the games right now but next year looks amazing. If you don’t have a PS3 or an Xbox 360, you’ll find much more to care about in the games lineup, but if you’ve been gaming and still have access to do so without a next gen device, you can buy most of the launch line up now. Getting these games on the PS4, or even the Xbox one for a matter of fact, doesn’t exactly showcase the new systems very well.
That being said, the Xbox One does have the better launch lineup. The Day One games and digital offerings have given me the most fun and better experiences than what I’ve had on the PS4. I don’t believe that will last with what Sony has shown us with the PS3 and what’s lined up for 2014. With that thought, I am glad to have a PS4.
Looking back, however, if I had to choose just one to buy right now it would be the Xbox One. As I mentioned in that section above, the Xbox One offers so much more out of the box and may continue to do so throughout the generation. The games may be stronger as the years go on with the PS4, but as it stands, the Xbox One’s entertainment features combined with a great launch lineup give Microsoft the edge right now.