With this being the PS4’s penultimate year as a steady game console we still saw some amazing exclusives that its rival, the Xbox One, still has yet to deliver. The PS4’s ecosystem is now chock-full of fantastic AAA first-party titles that make the PS4 the must-have system.
Death Stranding is a mixed bag at best. You have an ambitious and overly hyped game for the last 4 years and then it’s released as an over-glorified walking simulator with extra steps. The game is praised and hated by many, but you can’t deny the ambition Kojima had. With a AAA cast of characters, phenomenal visuals, and some pretty whacky ideas, Death Stranding makes the PS4 stand out more than any other time.
The PlayStation is well known for its artsy games and games that push the boundaries of the medium. Team Ico already did this with Ico for the PlayStation 2 and then again with Shadow of the Colossus. Pushing the PS2 beyond its limits they were able to create a huge world with massive colossi that must be wrangled and toppled in hopes to save a nameless girl from an endless sleep. You play as a boy only known as Wander and with your trusty sword, bow, and horse Agro, you follow the light from your sword to each colossus to figure out how to take them down.
Each colossus is a puzzle unto itself that requires using the environment, wits, skill, and thinking. One colossus may require agitating it and having it expose a weak point at which you use your bow to make a graspable part low enough to reach. You then climb the colossus, with some being climbing puzzles, and stab each weak point while they buck and try to toss you off. You can hang on by holding R2 and using X to jump. It’s not as easy as it sounds as letting go of R2 can drop you to your death or make you start a climbing puzzle all over again. The controls have slightly improved with the remaster, but the animations are irritating, and sluggish, and towards the end of the game the frustration really starts to set in.
While the game doesn’t run at 10FPS like in the PS2 version, trying to do more advanced combat and relying on quick controls is not possible and it gets really frustrating at around colossus 12 or 13. One colossus is a small bull that must be chased off a cliff to knock off its armor and then jumping on it just right from that cliff to land on its back is no easy feat. The issue here is that Wander just doesn’t have the agility to dodge attacks as no matter how much I rolled or jumped the bull always hit me. I missed the cliff jump the first time and I died before making it back up to try again. Wander’s get-up animations are incredibly slow with around 7 seconds passing before he gets up. Some colossi can hit you again and kill you quickly if you don’t know what to do. Outside of combat the animations to jump around and grab on are wonky as long climbing puzzles towards the end have to restart if you so much as get a jump at the wrong angle. You can adjust Wander mid-jump so he will go in that direction until he hits the ground.
Outside of taking down these massive colossi, there’s literally nothing else to do. This large open world is completely void of life outside of some birds and it’s my biggest gripe about this game. As beautiful as it is I wanted more, as the story in itself is pretty bare-bones and vague in terms of what’s going on, even towards the end. I feel like this world could have been fully lived in with lore and people whether they’re alive or dead. It takes around 10 minutes to get to each colossus and that time is spent controlling Agro who has sluggish animations and terrible controls still and staring at a barren wasteland. I understand it’s cursed, but it could have been more.
The visual upgrade is probably the most noticeable as it looks amazing with flowing grass, Nvidia HairWorks on the colossi, HDR lighting, and high-resolution models and textures. On my 65″ LG OLED TV it just pops using the PS4 Pro. That’s also another thing, the game has framerate issues and doesn’t look as good in the original PS4, so the Pro is the way to go here.
Overall, Shadow of the Colossus is well worth a purchase for newcomers and anyone who played the previous two versions. The visual upgrade alone and higher framerate are well worth it and I feel this is the version that the developers originally envisioned, but just couldn’t pull off with the technology at the time. Shadow of the Colossus is a piece of gaming history. Pushing gaming conventions to their limits as well as an underpowered piece of hardware, and a vision that was bigger than life, Shadow of the Colossus is a must-play for any PlayStation fan.
Naughty Dog knows how to work magic as every game in the series just pushes the boundaries of each system and what games can do visually. Lost Legacy takes what Uncharted 4 did and turns it up a notch or two with exciting action, fantastic animations and voice acting, and great characters, plus the visuals are some of the best ever made, period.
The game follows two female protagonists Cloe Frazer and Nadine Fisher who you already know from Uncharted 2 and 4. The game starts out a little more subtle than other Uncharted games where Drake was in some life-threatening situation that you have to bail out of. They take the storytelling approach as this was a very entertaining and beautiful opening and slowly introduced the characters while ramping up the action. It’s one of my favorite Uncharted openings for sure.
During the 9 chapters you play through you can collect treasure, photo spots, and optional dialog, but it’s nothing very interesting. A lot of stuff from Uncharted is recycled like the open driving area, shooting, weapons, and gameplay, so this actually just feels like an expansion rather than a sequel. One part of the game I did not like was the open driving area where you have to activate three different levers to open a new area. It felt tedious and like mostly filler. The entire game is filled with fluff like an area where you enter a cave just get stuck and climb back out to go around the other way. It’s nearly a 10-minute gameplay session and just felt like it was there to extend game time.
The game is mostly set in the jungle which I wish it would have been in some more urban areas like the first chapter. The jungles got a little old with just rocks and green everywhere as we’ve seen this so many times in previous games, I wanted the variety like in Uncharted 3 and 4. I also felt the puzzles were too easy, and then I still can not get adjusted to Uncharted’s shooting to this day. It’s always slippery and somehow awkward like there’s something off about it all.
Outside of the campaign, there’s a mission mode and collectibles, but the game may be only worth one more playthrough just to see the visuals and combat again, but outside of that there’s not much reason to go back. Overall, Lost Legacy is a must-play for Uncharted fans and it’s just one more game that proves the PS4 is the clear winner of this generation of consoles.
Uncharted was one of those games that really pushed the boundaries of next-generation gaming. The visuals were out of this world amazing, the acting was top-notch, and the character memorable. The game has some flaws for sure, but most of these were fixed later on in the series. I did notice that the first game consists of more shooting than climbing, which was not obvious when I first played it on PS3 back in 2009, but it’s still a lot of fun just for the dialog and action alone.
For fans of Uncharted, I will just say this now, this is the definitive version of the game. It runs at 60FPS which makes the gameplay so much smoother and the textures and visuals are just smoothed over and given a polish to make it look clean. It doesn’t look nearly as good as the PS4 games or even Uncharted 2 or 3, but it’s impressive how well the game holds up today.
The shooting and cover mechanics work just fine as Nathan jumps around pillars and low-lying cover, but I never quite got used to Uncharted shooting mechanics, they just feel really slippery and somehow off. The jumping can get weird as Nathan does not catch ledges when you run off of them like in later games so he just falls off. There were times I restarted areas over a dozen times because I couldn’t figure out where to jump. The handholds and areas to go aren’t highlighted like in later games so everything just blends in and it makes it frustrating to progress and even explore because you don’t know what you can climb on.
While the story is decent enough and keeps you interested to the end, the Spaniards coming back to life as some sort of demons never sat well with me and was off-putting. Having this realistic treasure-hunting adventure turns into something from Hollywood was so weird and I never like that aspect. I also found the game extremely frustrating at times with stupid difficulty spikes everywhere.
Despite all of this, Uncharted is not something I think I will ever go back to again as so many things were fixed and improved in Uncharted 2 and beyond. The game isn’t really all that cinematic-like later games so there are no interesting things to re-explore. It feels more like an experiment at this point rather than the masterpieces the later games became.
This was a decent year for the PS4. With many older exclusive franchises being remastered for the system, plus some great new exclusives, the PS4 stood out from the rest. I would feel comfortable saying this is by far the best year for the system.
Sony ruled this generation, once again, due to the fact that they still know what gamers want and that’s beautiful well-told single-player games. God of War isn’t just the best game of the year on PS4, but the best game that’s come out this entire generation cycle. The acting, visuals, art style, combat, and characters are phenomenal and the bar has been reset for what video games should be.
The superhero craze may be tiresome in Hollywood, but in the video game industry, I feel it is just beginning and is taking a long time to pick up. There are good superhero games such as Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, X-Men Legends II: Rise of the Apocolypse, and the granddaddy of modern superhero greatness, Batman: Arkham Asylum series. Marvel has really dropped the ball lately with the just awful movie-to-game adaptation with DC taking lead with the Batman and Injustice series. Insomniac Games is an interesting studio to develop a superhero game as this is completely outside of their track record. With games like Resistance, Spyro, and Ratchet & Clank, you would be a little skeptical to think they could produce such an amazing title.
Spider-Man 2 was the best Spider-Man game to date as it featured the first big open-world for a superhero game and did it right. You really felt like Spider-Man and there was so much to do and see in that game. Insomniac’s Spider-Man goes above and beyond just a big open world but features a rich story, amazing characters, and fantastic action sequences. I personally love the way the game opens up. It feels like a Spider-Man movie or comic depending on where you come from. Also, understand, this isn’t a story about how Peter Parker became Spider-Man, but has already been so for several years now and could technically take place after the first three Sam Raimi movies due to a few references to those. Peter is late for work and is rushing around his run-down apartment to get ready. He jumps out the window as Spider-Man and you take over swinging around the city with epic orchestral music playing in the background. It gave me goosebumps and made me smile and I was amazed. It’s a perfect way to open a game.
Swinging around Manhattan is exhilarating at best as this is one of the richest most detailed open worlds ever created. The game just oozes details from birds flying off of poles when Spidey swings by to citizens looking up at him when he swings low to the ground. The streets are bustling, the city feels alive and packed, and it feels just like a Spider-Man comic came to life. The story allows you to play as Pete and Spider-Man, but like Pete, you are doing puzzles in Doc Ock’s research lab and doing some small investigation missions here and there. The puzzles are actually pretty fun as they remind me of the hacking puzzles in BioShock and the matching puzzles are rather fun too. Completing these extra ones unlocks XP and tokens to unlock suits.
Once you finally start fighting in the game it is very reminiscent of Batman: Arkham’s combat system, but a little less stiff and with more flair. Spidey can web people from far away, had various gadgets and suit powers and mods, has a finisher move, can heal, stun, toss objects around, and an entire array of moves. It’s fairly deep yet simple to learn and I liked it quite a bit. It’s extremely responsive, looks great, and feels just like how Spider-Man would fight. Stealth combat is also really fun as you can swing around and web people up, distract guards, and sneak up behind enemies. There are even challenge missions focused on stealth and regular combat.
Some story missions have QTE’s and I am happy to report they are not abused. It’s to make the game feel cinematic and exciting rather than be a cop-out for a lack of content. Some of these are thrown into random crime missions that pop up around the city, but they are wisely used thankfully. Speaking of crime missions, there are plenty of side missions and things to do outside of the lengthy story missions. You can find backpacks, complete research challenges, eliminate enemy bases, and tons of other side stuff. It’s a wide variety and the rewards are well worth their completion.
I have to say that the story is just so good and the characters are awesome. If you saw the movies or read the comics you kind of know who is going to be an enemy of Spidey’s and who isn’t, but the way the entire story unfolds is amazing and there are some sharp plot twists towards the end that were unexpected. There are a good amount of villains in the game and the ending cleverly states who is going to be in the next game if you’re a big enough Spider-Man fan. I never got bored with this game and swinging around the city never got old. The game looks absolutely amazing and is probably one of the best-looking games ever made. I highly recommend only playing this on the PS4 Pro as it’s well worth the purchase. The animations are phenomenal and the voice acting is well done.
Overall, Marvel’s Spider-Man is one of the best comic book games ever made, period. It nails every single thing you would want in a Spider-Man game. I felt just like the hero and the story kept me hooked with plenty of things to do in the city that didn’t feel boring or tiresome. I would say the game relied a little too much on combat at times and it felt a little abused, but there’s not much wrong with this game. Maybe a few more villains, but are more wishes than issues with the game.
Ready at Dawn has had an amazing track record on the PSP with Daxter and both God of War games on that system. When everyone heard they were working on a new IP for the PS4 it got everyone’s ears buzzing. A historical third-person shooter set in 1880s London was just too good to be true. What came to fruition was a storytelling experiment that went well or badly depending on your viewpoint.
The Order is an interesting game in the PS4’s life cycle as it was the first major first-party exclusive to be released after the launch of the system. It was highly anticipated, it was heavily pre-ordered, and everyone was salivating for a next-gen PS4 outing. What was made was a well-told story about Lycans and a secret order with some interesting gameplay ideas thrown in.
You play as Grayson Galahad, a Knight of the Order, and charged with treason and crime untold. The story starts at the end and picks up at the beginning to wrap back around to the end. There are a lot of plot twists, amazing characters, excellent acting, and fantastic voice work to enjoy during this 6-hour campaign. Once I got ahold of Grayson I started slowly walking around linear hallways picking up photos and enjoying the scenery. A few seconds later I was presented with quick-time events, another walking session, and more quick-time events. After this was another long cutscene before I got control of Grayson again. During the first 30 minutes, I figured this is a build-up for something tense or to slowly eek out gameplay to the player, but it continues throughout the entire game, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The Order has many QTE sections and story segments, but there are a few lengthy shooting sessions as well. The game does have intense action, great shooting mechanics, a good cover system, and everything you would expect from a top-notch shooter. I don’t quite understand the hate for this game as there are much slower games that do the same such as Heavy Rain where the entire game is a QTE fest. I understand taking action away from the players can annoy them, but then I felt the game was rather well-paced. There were even some one-on-one Lycan knife fights, and some pretty fun QTE events and they all felt unique and applicable to the story and events taking place.
Throughout the game, there are intense action sequences and slower stealth sections which all felt fun, and I had a blast through the entire game. The story kept me hooked until the very end, there were always plot twists, and I honestly sat and played through the entire game in two days and most other AAA blockbusters can’t even get me to do that. The storytelling in The Order is really well done and the entire visual presentation, atmosphere, and character development are great. While not groundbreaking, it’s nice to see in a sea of games that can’t even get one interesting character across.
In a time of impatient click-bait, instant gratification-seeking Call of Duty, and Fortnite generation, a game like The Order would have received critical appraise just 10 years ago, or if it was PC exclusive. PC games are released like this every day and gamers eat them up, but this is a strange playstyle and something new for console gamers I feel. I praise Ready at Dawn for trying something new and not following the continuing boring trends that are killing the game industry like a sickening plague. While The Order isn’t perfect, I didn’t run into any major issues that made the game not enjoyable. The story was a tad rushed in spots and I would have liked it more drawn out, but what is here is actually quite good.
The game looks amazing and is still one of the best-looking games ever made. This game makes me proud to be a PS4 owner and you don’t get unique narratives like this on other consoles. The PS4 continues to impress me and make me regret this generation of consoles just a little less with games like The Order.
Developer: SCE Santa Monica Studios, Wholesale Algorithms
Release Date: 07/14/2015
Available Exclusively On
God of War usually defines the generation of consoles it’s released on. God of War III was no exception. We were already halfway into the PS3’s lifecycle before we got God of War, but it was well worth the wait. It was bigger, better, faster, and more epic and violent than any previous game.
We also already had two PSP games by this point, so there was a lot of content for the team to look upon, and it did take some inspiration from the PSP versions as they were the latest games in the series. God of War III sees Kratos continuing his journey to kill Zeus and destroy all of Olympus for refusing to take away the nightmares of killing his wife and daughter.
The game starts out more epic than any other God of War game, or any game at all for that matter. You are battling Titans in God of War III with Gaia being the first one. Running around a giant colossal enemy and destroying it from the outside is just something that has never been done or ever done since. Right off the bat, the game feels smoother, silkier, and more responsive than ever before. The game has amazing lighting effects with a glow and shines on every object and Kratos’ Blades of Exile look amazing in action. It’s still jaw-dropping even today to see something of this scale play on your screen.
Combat isn’t just smoother, but slightly more enhanced with new layers added. There is a new Item meter that recharges on its own and allows you to use various items such as Apollo’s Bow and Helios’ Head. This allows the team to focus more on balancing combat and using these items for puzzle solving rather than strictly combat. Magic items are now attached to the four weapons. Each weapon has a unique magic attack that balances combat and keeps it from feeling the same as other games. There is also a new X button combo that allows Kratos to combo through all four weapons which is just awesome to see. I don’t want to spoil the new weapons as they are as big a part of God of War as the enemies and story, but they are awesome and the best weapons yet in any God of War game.
The game also feels like it just flows better this time around. There is no longer a central hub that the game focuses on, but you do backtrack to a few beginning areas briefly which is fine. The game is very balanced and I never felt overwhelmed except toward the end of the game which is expected. New enemies are introduced with gobs of gore and violence with more detail. You can actually rip out a Cyclops eye, disembowel a Centaur General, and some enemies have multiple stage circle button prompts which is a lot of fun. The button prompts are also moved to the sides of the screen corresponding to button placement on the controller and they flash keeping you from having to miss a prompt. They aren’t as heavy-handed this time around and feel more natural, but the best parts are the boss fights. They are challenging, deadly, and gruesome that leave such a great smile on your face.
The environments are more impressive than ever with larger-than-life structures and multi-tiered areas that span miles and miles. It’s insane how all this worked and was crammed on the PS3 hardware. Daedalus’ Labyrinth with giant floating boxes and gauntlets of platforming segments to test your skills and reflexes.
This is actually the third time I’ve played this game and it amazes me with every playthrough, I never get tired of it. The PS4 remaster adds a coat of paint to an already great-looking game. The visuals are less blurry, sharper, and the game runs at a solid 60FPS. The textures do look ugly in spots, but that was PS3 limitations, but overall the far-away shots look amazing.
Overall, God of War III is still an amazing game to this day. It was one of the best PS3 games to be released and is a must-have for PS4 owners. Sadly, the previous games were not included, so if you jump into this game you won’t understand a single thread of the story.
When you think PlayStation you usually think God of War or Kratos. God of War was a game-changer back in 2005 with cinematic fluid combat, memorable characters, and intricate level design, as well as the birth of quick-time events. 13 years later the entire game is reinvented not just to change the way we play as Kratos, but to reinvent the action-adventure genre itself.
I really want to go into detail about the story, but it would contain so many spoilers I have to refrain. For starters, you do play as Kratos but as an aged man, a father, now living in an entirely new world set in Norse mythology. Yes, the Greek mythos of God of War is now done and we get a whole new set of Gods and enemies and a beautiful new world. Kratos is living humbly as a woodsman with his family until his wife dies and he and his son, Atreus, must venture to the highest mountain of Midgard to spread her ashes. It feels like the most humble story and a stark contrast from past games with Kratos’ rage and anger tearing down Gods and endless Olympians.
I can’t stress enough just how well evolved his character and personality are. Being revoiced by Christopher Judge who is best known as Teal’c (Tee-ULK) from Stargate SG-1 TV series, he has a more calming, aged, and tired look to him. He is extremely wise, quiet, reserved, and has learned all these years to control himself, however, he still struggles. Santa Monica Studios did an astounding job of developing his character and Atreus’. I was fully immersed throughout the entire game and loved hearing Judge’s voice on screen and soaked in every cutscene and spoken line of dialog. It’s one of the most well-written characters and scripts in gaming history and goes from a simple story to blowing up into the expected epic mess that Kratos usually gets in. The story does end on a cliffhanger and there are a lot of unanswered questions but fans will know that means more is coming, and more is better.
The next thing you think of when you hear God of War is the amazing and well-made combat. It is one of the top five best action-adventure combat systems ever created and just improved over time. Santa Monica Studio not only reinvented God of War’s combat but action-adventure combat itself. Instead of using a cut camera like in previous games, we are now behind Kratos in an over-the-shoulder perspective with similar combat mechanics to past games. Some would say this seems impossible, but they pulled it off. Light and heavy attacks are now mapped to the R1 and R2 buttons with your Leviathan Axe being used to solve puzzles as well. This is another amazing twist to the weapons in God of War, they aren’t just for chopping off heads. The Leviathan Axe is an amazing tool that is powerful, used as a ranged weapon, and for various other reasons. The main attraction of the axe is that it can be thrown and returned to the player anywhere in the world. The Triangle button is permanently mapped to just returning the axe which is an interesting game mechanic never seen before.
I can’t go into further detail about weapons as it’s actually a huge story spoiler, but the combat feels very familiar to past games while also feeling fresh and new. I can’t think of the combat being done any other way. On top of chopping off heads, the magic system was reinvented with new enchantments and rune stones that you can collect in the world. These can be socketed to armor and weapons and add various moves to certain button combinations for each weapon. These are key to surviving in battle and without them, you just plain wouldn’t be able to finish the game. I always changed them up and upgraded them as there’s a huge variety of magic moves in this game.
Epic cinematic kills are also back, but less quick-time event heavy. While I did miss them I understand why they were excluded. It does get repetitive and you constantly relied on seeing that circle button pop up to gain health, magic, or experience orbs, but the animations went from awe-inspiring to shrug-inducing very quickly. The game does harken back to the first God of War in the sense that the game isn’t heavy on epic giant bosses. There are a few, and they are scripted and beautifully animated, and jaw-droppingly epic to see. You still feel like you are taking down these giant creatures but in a different way. There are larger smaller enemies like trolls and elemental golems that can be defeated similarly to past games but it’s changed just enough to feel new and different. The combat is still cinematic, epic, and enjoyable with awesome slow-down and gore everywhere.
Atreus himself is also a great combat tool as he’s a companion that actually works and never gets in the way. He’s mapped to the square button and you can use him no matter what Kratos is doing and that includes death kills, being knocked down, etc. He shoots various types of arrows that can stun enemies and bring their stun meter up. Unlike past games, you can’t just deal so much damage and then the kill button appears exactly the same for every enemy. You need to use various attacks to bring that meter up and it’s difficult on tougher bosses. It keeps you from relying on quick-time events like in past games. The well-invented and amazing enemies also help as each one stands out and is unique and you will learn what moves work with what enemy.
If the combat wasn’t enough to hook you then the world will. The third major part of God of War is exploration and puzzle-solving which makes up over half of the gameplay. They took the secret chests of past games and blew them up tenfold with various types of chests from simple small treasure chests full of Hacksilver (currency) to actual puzzle boxes where you have to hit various bells with runes to match the box. These can get tricky and require using all of your skills to solve. God of War is also an open world, yes, open world. Midgard contains several realms you can explore, two of which are only for trials and challenges, but Midgard itself is a giant lake with various islands full of puzzle goodness and amazing challenges that will keep you hooked for dozens of hours. There are so many tasks in God of War that it really feels like an awesome open-world RPG thanks to a leveling system and a brand new upgrade and crafting system.
The last part of God of War is going from using red orbs to upgrade things to finding various items in the game like any RPG and using it to craft and upgrade armor, weapons, enchantments, and even Atreus bow and his armor. There are certain armor sets that require various items from certain realms and this can be a challenge, but it’s possible I actually finished the story before reaching the max level and acquiring the best armor. That’s all reserved for bigger challenges seen elsewhere in Midgard.
Overall, God of War is the single best game to be released this entire console generation cycle. This is what we needed more of from every console maker. It took Sony too long as it was, but here we have it. The game is literally perfect and I can’t think of any flaws in God of War that is detrimental to the overall game. I could say the game is too hard in spots, but that’s because I ventured too far too early and needed to come back later. I could say there are a lot of hidden items and they are hard to find, but I need to explore more and look more carefully. I could say that the story is too short and the lower amount of epic bosses is what made God of War and hurts the game, but it just doesn’t. God of War is the best game I have played in the past 10 years and many other developers need to take note.
Note: The game plays best on the PS4 Pro. It looks really awful on the standard PS4, but the Pro is running in 4K checkerboard and the textures and added effects are well worth a purchase just for this game.
This console cycle is really strange as we are now seeing updated hardware with more powerful components rather than just slimmer sizes. This is due to using off-the-shelf parts rather than proprietary hardware which won’t change the coding for the games. Using 64-bit architecture allows Sony to just give users and developers more powerful hardware rather than just giving consumers a cooler-looking system. To me, this seems worth the upgrade price as you’re not just getting the same system as you had before. We saw this back with the New Nintendo 3DS which had a faster processor allowing for more advanced graphics.
The problem with all these hardware changes is the confusion for consumers. Unless you have a 4K TV is it really worth the upgrade? Yes, as the PS4 Pro can “Boost” games that aren’t patched for it allowing supersampling anti-aliasing on 2K or lower resolution TVs allowing for crisper images while still getting higher framerates, but is it really worth it? If you are really into how your games run or making them pop on your TV then yes, otherwise just stick with your original PS4.
With that said, the Pro not only looks bigger but looks better than the original model. The top illumination strip is now laid in the front horizontally with actually marked eject and power buttons on the left and right. The same two USB slots are upfront with a USB 3.0 slot in the back for external hard and USB drives. The Pro comes with a 1TB HDD standard now which is a must-have if you have more than 10 PS4 games. The system even has PlayStation symbol rubber feet on the bottom which I found quite interesting. It’s a much bigger system, but the bulk is sheered away with shelf appeal and just seems more round and sleeker looking. I also have to note the PS4 finally has 5Ghz support! This means faster downloads, fewer cutouts, and reduced ping times. I can’t tell you how excruciating it was to be stuck on 2.4Ghz wifi when it’s been a standard feature since the late 2000s.
Outside of the physical appearance the PS4 software experience is exactly the same outside of some exclusive features such as 4K rendering, power options, and the Boost mode for older games. You will notice the biggest change when actually playing games. I tested the system with God of War and the difference is astounding. The visuals were crisp, vivid, and night and day from the standard PS4. The game ran smoother, and while not in 4K for that title, the framerate difference was the big winner here.
Next, I tried The Last Guardian which was one of the biggest performance increases I have seen. On the standard PS4, the game ran in the low 20’s, but in 4K the game rarely dipped that low and ran at a smooth 30FPS. After that, I tried Shadow of the Colossus and it ran smoothly with noticeable performance increases. Crash Bandicoot: N.Sane Trilogy didn’t really see much of a performance increase, but seemed to look a bit sharper in a higher 2K resolution that it renders at.
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection ran at a locked 60FPS and looked buttery smooth with zero slowdowns anywhere. I am still continuing to test out games and noticing stark differences that make the upgrade well worth the purchase (or you know…just trade in that old PS4 when a deal hits). Note that the PS4 rarely renders natively at 4K but uses checkerboard rendering (just like the Xbox One X) to give an image that looks 4K and usually you won’t notice a difference, and I sure don’t. Most movies aren’t true 4K either as we just don’t have the graphical power on smaller systems to render this just yet at a cost-effective level.
Overall, the PS4 Pro gives games a resolution and performance boost this generation desperately needs. While not every game is patched to support all the Pro features, the Boost mode will help older games run smoothly with rare framerate drops if not at all. I highly recommend this system if you have a 4K TV with HDR, and 1080p TV users will benefit as well with added clarity to their images. My only critique of the system is the need for games to be patched and there is no UHD Blu-Ray support. You will need an Xbox One S or X for that.