PLAYSTATION 4 PREVIEW
In a New York City press event that was streamed live on the PlayStation website last week, Sony unveiled its next-generation game console, the PlayStation 4. Sort of. The guest of honor — the hardware itself — was a no-show, but the two-hour presentation did feature a bevy of next-gen game demos as well as an outpouring of support from first- and third-party developers who came to peddle their wares (their “wares” being of the “soft” variety). With the Electronic Entertainment Expo (where new game platforms typically debut) still four months away, the timing of this announcement is somewhat unusual. That, in addition to the PS4’s being unready for its close-up, suggests that Sony is rushing to beat Microsoft to the punch before the latter unveils its next-gen Xbox. Nintendo already released its Wii U back in November, and it’s very likely that by year’s end, all of the Big Three home console competitors will have taken us into the eighth generation of interactive entertainment.
The PlayStation 4 will have an eight-core CPU as well as a graphics-processing unit with a peak performance of 1.84 TFLOPS. In layman’s terms, that means the graphics are going to be exceptionally pretty, and the console will be capable of performing multiple tasks simultaneously, like downloading a game while you’re playing it. This sort of power promises to eliminate load times, both within individual games and when booting up the entire system. Additionally, recordings of your gameplay will be made automatically and can be disseminated through social media with the touch of a button. So if you’re ever stuck in a particularly tough boss battle, you can look up a video for pointers, or you can even have a more experienced friend remotely access your game from his PS4 and fight that battle for you. All of this technology both looks and sounds impressive. And expensive. The other notable absence from the presentation was a price point. We’ll get that announcement sometime between now and when the PlayStation 4 is released this holiday season.
THE DUALSHOCK 4 CONTROLLER
The one tangible piece of equipment that managed to show up to Sony’s event was the successor to the Dualshock 3 controller. While not radically different from its predecessor in shape and size, the Dualshock 4 boasts some exciting additions certain to impact gameplay. These include a light bar that can be tracked by the PS4’s dual cameras (allowing for motion control), a touchpad at the center of the controller (similar to the one on the back of the Vita), and a dedicated “Share” button situated adjacent to the D-pad, emphasizing Sony’s desire for players to post their PS4 experiences on social media.
Just as “Killzone 2” stole the show eight years ago, showcasing the graphical splendor players would find on PS3, “Killzone: Shadow Fall” was PS4’s belle of the ball. The demo showcased a first-person protagonist shooting the occupants of a helicopter while he dangled from said copter over a breathtaking futuristic cityscape. Other standout titles included sci-fi shooter “Destiny” (developed by “Halo” creator and ex-Microsoft indentured servant Bungie), racing game “DriveClub” (which will encourage social connectivity by tasking racers to form competitive teams online), and third-person action game “Watch Dogs” (which blends the free-running gameplay from Ubisoft’s “Assassin’s Creed” with the near omnipotence of remotely controlling all technological objects in Chicago). CV