He Said/She Said: Sony’s PS4 event reactions

ps4 300x199 He Said/She Said: Sonys PS4 event reactionsIn this week’s He said/She said, Jen Bosier and Max Parker from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette discuss their reactions to Sony’s PS4 event/reveal type-thing.

Jen: So, the PS4 was revealed this week. Of course I use the term “revealed” loosely since we didn’t get to see the console, or the controller in action, and it was mostly promises of “changing everything” with loose promises of social connectivity and cloud gaming.

How’d you feel about it?

Max: I must say I am very excited about the PS4. I’m ready for the next generation. And no, I don’t care that we didn’t see the console itself. I do like attractive looking tech, but at the end of the day it just sits on the shelf..

The two big things that were always holding the PS3 back, IMO, were the controller and the network. The controller never felt as comfortable as the Xbox controller. It was always a tad too small for my hands, and convex triggers are the dumbest idea of all time. The Dualshock 3 looks bulkier and more comfortable.

The new PlayStation Network looks like some serious innovation. Broadcasting games? Taking over control for a friend? Interacting with a friend’s play session? Yeah, that stuff sounds cutting edge. If it weren’t for Gaikai, I’d have no faith in Sony to make this new network reliable, but now that they have the help from a company whose sole expertise is with networks, I’m hopeful they’ll be able to pull it off.

Let me get this out of the way early: I use my Xbox more than my PS3 because I have more friends that use the Xbox. I like to play with friends. That PS4 announcement has me ready to make the PS4 my number one gaming box.

What did you think of it?

Jen: It looked like a Wii U with Kinect built it? No, seriously, congrats to Sony finally catching up to XBL in the next gen.

Okay, really seriously, I found a lot of the social aspects cool. Broadcasting games and sharing videos is an amazing step in the right direction. For both games and gamers. And, to be honest, they made some promises that Xbox is going to have to compete with.

I’m an Xbox convert, in every way, including controller. The PS controller just doesn’t blow my skirt up, ever, so I really need to see it in action. Also, they dropped some lines that have me concerned, though I won’t freak out quite yet. Like, when they said it’ll be aware of what’s going on in the room. Yeah, you’re going to need to explain that a little more for me, guys. Again, we need more details.

My biggest concern was them saying it would be available around the same time as the Xbox. I get that Sony doesn’t want to play second-fiddle, as they did with PS3 vs. 360, but man does that put pressure on gamers to choose one or the other.

Your turn.

 He Said/She Said: Sonys PS4 event reactionsMax: Yeah; saying something as creepy as “the camera will observe the player and the room” demands immediate explanation. It’s like they’re trying to sneak some Skynet stuff in there. Not okay.

They said it would be around at the same time as the Xbox? Has Microsoft publicly said anything about when the next Xbox will be coming out? Being the first out of the gate is important in the current gaming culture. I believe that if the Xbox didn’t suffer the Red Ring of Death fiasco, it would be handily dominating the console market thanks to their one-year head start. A lot of people jumped the Xbox ship when their consoles failed and Microsoft said, “Oh it’s been longer than three years. You have to buy another one.”

It would be no surprise if the next Xbox and the PS4 were released close to one another. For some reason, gaming companies love to do that. The GameCube and the original Xbox came out days within one another, and the PS3 and Wii were both released in the span of a week. I’d say that having to choose between the PS4 and Xbox 720 is a scenario we should all prepare for.

I still say that this was the best console unveiling ever. A two hour presentation devoted to hardware specs, details, and games. GAMES, JEN! Sure, the new Vita streaming feature is exactly what the Wii U does, but the key difference between them is “games.” There will actually be something to play for the PS4. And those games were impressive.

We have to take the Killzone “gameplay” trailer with a grain of salt because of Sony’s history of showing fake Killzone footage, but it looks ridiculously awesome if it’s legit. Plus with a new inFAMOUS, DriveClub, Knack, Destiny, and The Witness from the creators of Braid, this lineup looks impressive. Watch_Dogs looks innovative. I don’t care what you say! What say you?

Jen: AHEM. Innovative? I think this word gets thrown around way too often now. But let’s start at the beginning. What did we see, really? We saw a bunch of shiny footage of game teasers. Seriously, with exceptions of Watch_Dogs, we heard a bunch of “omg shiny!” and no real substance. Sony has such a die-hard fanbase that I honestly believe had this been the Xbox conference, the backlash would be more palpable.

Square Enix announced another Final Fantasy game is coming. YOU DON’T SAY! Sucker Punch gave a douchey, melodramatic speech which basically boiled down to “We’re not done milking the corpse of the inFAMOUS cow, but to make it look ‘innovative,’ now you can use FIRE.” Woooooooow.

And now to Watch_Dogs. I still don’t “get” it. The gameplay itself looked like every open/sandbox world we’ve seen since GTA3 popularized it. The hacking portions felt like a nod to the tech world of Deus Ex, and these “unique” profiles were laughable. “First name, Last name, Occupation.” Mmmmm, that’s so innovative! I also liked their not-so-subtle “Oil tycoon,” “wounded vet,” “school teacher,” thing. I’m not writing it off as having potential to be fun, but I just don’t see what all the fuss is about. It did nothing to show it was going to be this amazing gift from the Omnissiah.

No, wait, I am writing it off as being fun because Ubisoft. I was waiting for Ubisoft to tell us how many new accounts we’d need to create for their proprietary systems (Uplay, Uplay2, etc). Every game Ubisoft hypes ends up disappointing (Assassin’s Creed series) and every game they ignore (Far Cry series) ends up rocking socks. AND WHERE WAS BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL 2, UBISOFT?

Speaking of games, the no backwards compatibility isn’t a huge surprise, but I liked how they sneaked that in there. “Innovation! Social Media! PS Vita as Wii U controller! No backwards compatibility, NEW FINAL FANTASY GAME!” Sneaky.

On that note, let’s talk their discussion of the Vita. Thoughts?

vita voices 300x200 He Said/She Said: Sonys PS4 event reactionsMax: First of all, the Xbox has its share of fans, too. Any company that is willing to do a two hour presentation about the details of their next console will generally see praise. Sony nailed it. I agree that those presentations were very melodramatic and borderline ridiculous, but I don’t know what you expected? Those were quality announcements.

Square Enix’s announcement was the weakest. It was essentially, “stay tuned for E3.” Thanks, guys.

I guess we can’t say about Watch_Dogs’ innovation (that word again) because we don’t know how involved the NPC interaction will be. I know they will at least have different financials that you can hack into and steal. That’s better than just having a name and occupation.

About the announcement of backwards compatibility, at least they set the record straight by saying it wouldn’t have it. They could’ve ignored it completely. I prefer that they snuck it in rather than not saying anything at all.

The PS4 breathes new life into the Vita. I never play my Vita, and it makes me sad. Now there don’t have to be any more Vita games. I’ll just use it as a PS4 game player. We don’t know exactly how the streaming will work, but I’m intrigued by the thought of it. What say you?

Jen: I have to say that I purchased Vita day-one and even though I rarely get to play it, it’s a snazzy piece of technology. I was a little disappointed with the reveal of it as a PS4 controller because one of the things I like about it is that, as an Xbox player, my Vita is *another* portable console I own. I dislike thinking of it as an extension of the PS4.

I really want Sony to own this thing as a viable, handheld experience. I have a 3DS and a Vita and the Vita is better in every way, shape and form, except games. Nintendo owns that as a handheld, Sony needs to do the same. Hopefully Soul Sacrifice will kick some power into it.

Okay, look, you and I are going to Ubisoft at E3 together. Take my as your date, or vice versa. I want more details, and then we can discuss. But as far as other games, I expected a little less pretense. I dunno, I expected more substance. But, I guess that was expecting a little much.

Can we both agree E3 is going to be batshit crazy this year, in the best of ways?

Max: E3 is going to be grueling, but yeah, in a good way. I cannot wait.

I have to say I’m over handhelds. My phone is now capable of Vita-esque graphics and it’s on me at all times. I have the library at my fingertips. The Vita is just something that I want to get use out of, but I’m not dying to play watered down PS3 games either. That’s why I like its relationship with the PS4.

Jen: Ah, but this gets back to the debate you and I often have which is style over substance. Phones and tablets can make some gorgeous games but at the end of the day, they’re all the same game. Tap to do something. Swipe to do something else. Generally it’s mindless fluff like Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Where’s My Perry or even Infinity Blade. I like IB as much as the next person but it’s repetitive and rarely intriguing.

I’m a proponent of handhelds because I believe we can experience amazing games on par with consoles at our hands. Plus, I just like smashing the A/Circle button. I like moving with the D-pad. Hell, my favorite game for Vita last year was Persona 4 Golden because NO TOUCH CONTROLS.

Hrm. Maybe that’s why I walked away with a shrug and nod from the PS4 press conference: It was shiny but had little substance.

Max: Sure, the majority of mobile games are simplistic dross, but they are improving. There are legit third-person action games, FPS, and RPGs for mobile now. Android devices accept controller inputs, too.

On a personal note, handheld games always make me sleepy. It’s like my eyes get bored. Maybe it’s some weird conditioning I’ve gone through, like playing mobile games before bed. Who knows.

I need a big theatrical experience when gaming. I’m playing Tomb Raider right now, and I can’t imagine experiencing it on a handheld device. I feel like it would be a disservice to the game.

Getting back to the PS4, new consoles don’t necessarily need to “innovate.” They just need to “improve.” The 360 didn’t create some huge new innovation, nor did the PS3. They were just more powerful versions of their predecessors. Having said that, I do believe the PS4 is more innovative compared to the previous generation’s announcements.

Jen: I’d like to agree, really I would. There were just too many question for me to jump up and down quite yet.

About Jen Bosier

Jen lives with her husband, daughter and super-villain cats. If she's not reading comics or engrossed in a WH40k novel, she's probably telling you which horror games you should be playing. She's a recovering member of the PC Master Race, and a reluctant Xbox fangirl. You can also find her on the Furious Fourcast.

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