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PlayStation 4 review: Sony's best console yet is off to a shaky start

Alex Wawro | Nov. 21, 2013
Sony's latest console is poised to perform well over the coming years, but right now it's mostly a black box of potential.

It's worth noting that integrating your Facebook account with your PS4 allows you to do more than just post from the Share menu. The PS4 will pull in your profile pic, associate it with your PSN ID, and show it to people on your friends list who agree to a mutual sharing of "Real Names," a.k.a. the name you typed in when you set up your PSN ID. It's a small change, but a welcome one that makes it easier to remember which one of your chums is "x-xGhostDog86x-x" on your friends list, which has been expanded past the PS3's paltry 100-friend limit to ridiculous 2,000.

If you play only one launch game, play Resogun
Whether or not you'll find any games worth streaming is ultimately a matter of personal taste. Personally, I find slim pickings in the PS4's launch lineup. I prefer to play multi-platform games like Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag or Need for Speed: Rivals on a PC. PlayStation-exclusive games like Knack and Killzone: Shadow Fall don't interest me.

The only exception is Resogun, a vibrant side-scrolling shooter that pays fantastic homage to Defender. It's a PS4 exclusive that's free for PlayStation Plus members and developed by Housemarque, a Finnish studio with an excellent track record. Since every PS4 comes with a two-week free trial for PS Plus, there's no excuse for you to skip this game.

Problem is, Resogun is a great game that would work equally well on the PS3 or the PS Vita, not to mention the PC or a competing console. The best launch game on Sony's latest console does nothing to showcase the console's unique capabilities, and that demonstrates a real lack of foresight on Sony's part. The Playroom demo does interesting things with the PS Camera, but that's all it is—an interesting tech demo.

The PS4 is a gaming machine without any games worth playing, and that's a real problem.

Also, get a PlayStation Plus membership
PS Plus is your best stopgap while we wait for Sony to address the PS4 game drought. Plus members can play both Resogun and Contrast on PS4 for free as of this writing, though more games will cycle through in the months to come. A year's worth of membership will cost you $50, and it's a pretty good deal when you factor in the free games and the discounts you'll receive on the PlayStation Store. Also, you must be a Plus member to play PlayStation 4 games online, a change of policy from the PlayStation 3.

Thankfully, if you share a console, only one person has to shell out for PS Plus membership. Once you set the console as your primary PS4, everyone who logs in can play games online. The console allows for you to store up to 16 accounts' worth of information, but you can also log into a PS4 with a "Guest" account that allows you to download your PSN ID to play games and earn credit for trophies, then delete it when you leave.

 

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