Sonyâ€™s PlayStation 4 is coming out in just a few months, and at IFA 2013 in Berlin we had the first opportunity to try it. We played DriveClub and Knack.
Hands-on with PlayStation 4
The actual PlayStation 4 console was on display behind glass, but the consoles used for the demonstrations were hidden behind a wall. We were not allowed to touch or examine it. But we did naturally try the new controller, and we were told that we were holding the final design.
Hands-on with PlayStation 4
The new DualShock 4 controller still looks a lot like the DualShock 3 controller from the PlayStation 3, but Sony has made the handles a bit longer. The analog sticks are also different with a small outer ring. DualShock 4 was actually surprisingly good. The analog sticks were easier to control as our thumbs did not slip as easily, which happens sometimes with the PS3 controller. The controller also feels sturdy and well made.
Hands-on with DualShock 4
Hands-on with DriveClub and Knack
We tried playing DriveClub and Knack. DriveClub is the new social racing game coming out for the PS4 at launch. We were playing an alpha build of the game so things can change before the final game comes out, but to be honest it was a bit disappointing. Not to be misunderstood, it is a fairly good racing game with fairly good graphics and physics, but it just felt too familiar. It did not feel like a next-generation title that can take the racing genre to a new level. It felt more like a game that could actually have been released for the PS3, although maybe not in its first years.
Hands-on with DriveClub for PS4
Another element that was quite annoying was the long loading times between menus and races in DriveClub. We certainly hope Sony and game developers will address that before launch. It took maybe 1-2 minutes clicking and waiting just to enter a race.
Knack was better; not that the genre or game is necessarily better, but the game just felt more alive and fresh. It obviously has a lot of similarities to titles such as Ratchet and Clank or Crash Bandicoot, but at the same time it feels different, with an added dimension that we think could in some ways be described as next-generation, although we expect more for the PS4 in the longer run. The Knack character is also quite fun and enjoyable.
Hands-on with Knack for PS4
Sony also demonstrated two other games, one called Resogun and the other some kind of childrenâ€™s puzzle game, but we did not try them. We were not allowed to see the actual user interface either, as the consoles booted directly to the games.
The new DualShock 4 controllers
Overall it was fun to play games on the PlayStation 4, even though it was a brief encounter. Learn more about the PlayStation 4 here.