Plenty of PS4 Thankfulness
There’s plenty to be thankful for this time of year. We’re in the midst of AAA season, with a new big release or two hitting store shelves every week. There’s so much to play, but we wouldn’t be able to enjoy these quality titles without the systems that play them. The PS4 has received a slew of improvements since its release three years ago and the features on offer improve the user experience in a number of stellar ways. We’re incredibly thankful for these PS4 features that make enjoying the games we love easier than ever.
In the old days, you would have to turn your console off whenever you went out, or risk your machine overheating and exploding. This could result in the loss of hours of progress. But no more! Now you just need to turn on the PS4’s rest mode. As long as the console isn’t unplugged, you can return to the instant you left off in a game, making it extra easy to just put down the controller on a whim.
Not only can you leave a game in the middle of a major battle and pick it up whenever you please, but you can even run downloads when the system is off. No more dedicating Gigabytes of bandwidth to a download when you’re in the middle of a match of CoD, you can just turn the console to rest mode and go to bed. And you’ll turn on the system in the morning with the download completely finished.
Social media is a big part of all of our lives, and Sony knows this very well. The Share button sits right beside the touchpad. A single click and the menu fades into existence. Not only can you capture screen shots and stream clips of gameplay; you can upload it all to social media services like Facebook or Twitter.
It’s incredibly easy to use and the addition of GIF creation only makes the feature even better. No longer do you need to take a blurry picture of your TV screen and hastily upload it. The quality of the photos is great and the fact that it’s built directly into the console means you can simply post a picture whenever the mood hits.
Speaking of social functions, communities are almost like forums on PS4. You can join any communities that interest you and engage in discussions about new games, old favorites, and any topic in between. It’s a fantastic way to meet other, like-minded gamers who are looking for a place to talk about their favorite titles. And you don’t even have to look away from your TV screen.
Are you a die-hard RPG fan who wants to talk about the newest Skyrim mods and how good Final Fantasy XV might be? There’s a group for that. Are you a Metal Gear Solid nut who’s saddened by the franchises loss of Kojima and just wants to reminisce about the good times? There’s a group for that, too.
You can even play games with other group members, meaning you don’t have to find someone on your friend list to play a co-op title with you or go for a tough trophy. Sure, the member limit of 1,000 is a bit small, but this is irrelevant thanks to how easy it is to connect with others.
Sitting right in the middle of the Dualshock 4 is the giant rectangular touch pad. It serves as the controller’s select button, but there is much more to it than meets the eye. Sure, you can give it a tap to get to a game’s menu screen or check the score in a multiplayer match, but many games have taken full advantage of its features.
You can swipe in various directions, which serves as an additional input. Not only can you touch for easy access, but games like The Witcher 3 allow players to swipe up to immediately access the map and bring up other menu functions with ease, instead of fumbling through multiple menu screens. No matter how you look at it, it’s just a great addition to the PS4, making the Dualshock 4 an even better tool with which to control the console. And we don’t want to see it go anywhere.
The trophy system that Playstation has used since the early PS3 days is a fantastic way of tracking your progress in a game. Dividing your in-game conquests into Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum lets you know just how impressive your feats are. And the recent addition of seeing how many other people managed to secure the same achievement makes collecting hard to get trophies that much more rewarding.
They aren’t necessary to enjoy a game, but it’s always nice to have extra goals to work towards. And amassing a collection of platinum trophies lets everyone on your friends list know just how much of a completionist you are. There are never enough trophies to collect, adding to our already massive collections with each new game release.
Downloading while playing slows any console down. Sometimes so much that the system can’t actually download the game. But that simply won’t do if you want to pass the time playing a game while the latest release finishes downloading so you can jump right in. Thankfully, the PS4 has background downloading.
No matter what game you’re working through, you can have any number of games or updates downloading in the background. This is a big step up from the PS3, which did the majority of it’s downloading right in front of the player’s eyes, halting gameplay and forcing them to watch the Megabytes slowly filter into the system. But those days are gone, replaced by a feature that many probably don’t notice, but makes for a much smoother experience overall.
The latest addition to the PS4 completely changes the way we interact with games. The PSVR connects right to the system and has a slew of games exclusive to the platform. It may not be quite as powerful as its competitors, but it’s quite a bit cheaper, making it much easier to play VR at home. Moving your head to control the camera immerses you in the experience like never before, introducing people to games that they couldn’t comprehend a couple of years ago.
The use of older peripherals like the PS Move and PS Camera make it an easy to pick up piece of tech, and separates the PS4 from its competition with titles like RIGS, Battlezone, and Eagle Flight. It seemed like a long shot that VR would actually come to Sony’s console, and the fact that it actually has puts a massive smile on our faces, even when they’re covered by the stylish virtual reality headset.
Customization on a console always goes a long way in ensuring that the system truly feels like your own. But there often aren’t too many ways to make the various menus and apps of your Playstation 4 feel unique. Unless you download a beautiful dynamic theme, completely changing the background, icons, and music that plays as you stare at your PS4’s media bar.
The Playstation Store is full of fantastic themes, ranging from ones based on games, to designs that simply look cool. Pre-purchasing titles can often net you themes, too. Just another nice touch by Sony who knows that keeping the plain blue menu is only fun for so long.
Instant Game Collection
An extension of the Playstation Plus service, the Instant Game Collection gives players two free PS4 games each and every month. Since PS Plus is needed to play games online on PS4 and PS Plus has become such a huge part of the system, the Instant Games Collection has received its very own icon on the main menu, hammering home just how prevalent it is.
The games often range from smaller indie offerings to older AAA titles. Regardless of what is being offered, it feels great to get free games and we’re incredibly thankful that Sony has included this fantastic reward in the PS Plus service, making it a little more worthwhile to pay $60 a year to get access to the chaos that is PSN.
Initializing Downloads From the Mobile PSN App
As we move into the age of digital only gaming, it’s quite a pain that we need to sit in front of our televisions in order to start a download. But thankfully, on PlayStation, using the mobile app you can purchase and download content. The download will only commence if the system is in rest mode, but it’s great to be able to start a download at work, come home, pick up the controller, and start playing.
You can also talk with your PSN friends and manage your account on the app. It’s great that you don’t even have to be near the console in order to get new releases set up on it. All you need is a phone and an internet connection. PSN is always at your fingertips, and we couldn’t be happier about it.