To close out this phase of Editorial Miscellany, I am happy to report that I played totally different games than I have been recently. Largely because I made a snap rash decision to line-up and buy a PS4.
Yeah, I Totally Did That
I have spent more money on technology in the past month than I have in the past 3 years combined. I do not need to be told the strikes against getting a PlayStation 4 at launch. There will be a software lull (hell, the launch lineup is a lull in and of itself), launch consoles have a history of having a higher failure rate, not to mention whatever other pratfalls might unknowingly come with this new “social” wave of consoles.
But know what? Sometimes I just want to be a gamer. It is important to have a measured and critical eye on the industry, and to even despair when greed and ignorance appears to claiming yet another victim. But sometimes it just feels like anger being tossed against a machine already powered by anger. So when I was walking home from work and saw a lineup for the PS4, and heard that there would be a large number of consoles available, I decided to wait the seven hours outside during a Canadian November to be an early adopter.
And guess what? It was exciting as fuck to walk out of that store with a new generation console. It was exciting as fuck to see – despite its obvious state as a PS3 port – Assassin’s Creed IV running at 1080p and 60fps and still be smooth as fuck. I am a gamer, and technology and possibilities excite me. That is what being an early adopter is, I think. It is being aware that it is stupid, but going with it anyway because of the happiness it brings. This has been a shitty, dark, and angry year for me, and while I do not miss my naiveté that 2013 took with it, I do miss my joy. I bought a PS4 on launch day, and I have no regrets.
Assassin’s Creed IV
The ever-reliable Gyme provided the site’s official stance on Assassin’s Creed IV here, but so far I am having a blast with the game. It removes all the bloat from Assassin’s Creed III, which was the series at the pinnacle of its indulgence, and returns to the open-world fun of the second numbered entry. Completing every little task is an exciting thought now, and Ubisoft has become comfortable in creatively laying out freerun areas without it always appearing too obvious. The controls remain heavy, and accidentally running up walls is still the series’ most glaring problem from a gameplay standpoint, but when it works – which is the majority of the time – it is immensely satisfying. And Ubisoft animations are always a thing of beauty.
Of course, to note that the game is a PlayStation 3.5 game is a double-edged sword. Of course I would like to get to the inevitable point when a developer like Naughty Dog will be squeezing every ounce of power and beauty out of the console, but it is also pretty stunning to see what the extra power of the PS4 is able to do for a title like Assassin’s Creed IV. It feels like this is the power that developers have been pretending that the PS3 has had for years. Also, the XMB is ultra-fast, and installing a download can work in the background, so that is pretty sweet.
What I am decidedly not into, however, is the new focus on “sharing”. There is an option to rate and share each mission of Black Flag, and despite being able to easily ignore it, it still makes me wary. Gaming can be both a solitary and a community-based activity, but when features exist as free marketing for a big company, I take pause. Right now it seems simple to disable and ignore any sharing and social media aspects of the system, but I will keep a wary eye on it.
Dude, 1080p at 60fps does so much more than I expected. Also, I get all the trophies again. Also, the game is great.
However… (part 2)
The speaker-in-the-controller idea was horrible with the Wii and it is just as horrible with the PS4. The quality is shit, and it is disconcerting and ineffective. I was able to turn it off for Resogun, but Flower does not seem to have such an option. It is rare for it to use the controller’s speaker, but I would much rather it never be used at all. Hopefully there is a system option to turn it off altogether and forever.
I truly was planning on doing the Q&A today, but this turned out to be a special PS4 edition. I will save the questions for when I have nothing new to write about, so keep them coming. Also, feel free to treat me like your guinea pig with this PS4 thing. Ask me any curiosities you may have about it and I will do my best to answer them in the comments below. That is it for the Second Phase of Editorial Miscellany, look forward to whatever is next! (Spoilers, the Third Phase is next).