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Sony Boss Hits Out At "Disappointing" PS4 Review Scores - Lacklustre Launch Or Jaded Journos?

Jonathan Lester
Killzone: Shadow Fall, Knack, PS4, Sony

The PS4 is out tomorrow!

If you're American, that is. We've got to wait another fortnight, leaving us UK hacks up the criticism creek without a paddle. However, many of our transatlantic counterparts have published reviews of PS4 launch software, and the scores are all over the shop. With Killzone: Shadow Fall meeting a reasonable if mixed reception and Knack universally panned, Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida has weighed in on the situation, suggesting that they'll "grow on you."

But, perhaps, these two extra weeks do give us time to think. Is the PS4 somewhat outgunned in the launch title department? Does it matter?

"Yeah, it's disappointing to see some of the low scores," Yoshida confided to Gamesindustry, suggesting that critics may have been too "busy" to fully appreciate the launch lineup. "I haven't spent enough time reading reviews, but I would characterize them as mixed. And with this launch there are lots of games coming out, so the media must be very busy going through the games quickly, and especially since the online functionality wasn't ready until in the last couple days. So we have to look at how much time they spend on what aspect of the games and how that may be contributing to some of the lower scores."

Sony Boss Hits Out At "Disappointing" PS4 Review Scores - Lacklustre Launch Or Jaded Journos?

There's no doubt that many outlets probably had to utterly crush some of these games to publish to deadline (I'm aware of the deadline schedule all too well), though we'll of course have the luxury of time when the 29th rolls around. After all, the early reviews are out already, so there's no hurry on our end now. But as a hack myself, this attitude really gets my back up. If a straightforward action game like Knack doesn't show its appeal after completing the campaign, playing it for another 20 hours isn't going to help any. It's all too easy play the man rather than the ball, ain't it Sony?

The lack of a universally-hailed killer app may be disappointing for some pre-order customers, but is it worrisome for the launch of the system?

"It's disappointing but I don't think it's worrisome for the launch of the system," Yoshida continued. Well, that's good then. "I've played through all of our games, Killzone, Knack and Resogun, and I totally enjoyed playing through these games. I'm now on my second run of Knack and Resogun at a higher difficulty - these games really grow on you when you play more. I'm very confident that once you purchase these games and play, you'll be happy that you've done so."

Speaking of Resogun, reviews for the gorgeous shooter are overwhelmingly positive. We want it madly.

Sony Boss Hits Out At "Disappointing" PS4 Review Scores - Lacklustre Launch Or Jaded Journos?

So, dear reader, this presents us with an interesting avenue for discussion. There's no doubt in my mind that the PS4 is a truly excellent machine at an attractive price point, and a fantastic foundation for several great gaming years. Its indie and F2P infrastructure is in place to offer true breadth of gaming experience, while Sony's first party studios are doubtlessly gearing up for numerous next-gen projects and sequels. We may find out more about them tonight.

But does it deliver at launch? Without DriveClub or inFamous: Second Son, the PS4 relies solely on Killzone, an arcade shooter and Contrast (which is short and sweet by all accounts) - alongside multiplatform ports that will also be available on current-gen consoles and PC. We feel that the PS4 will be a grower, not a shower, but we may have to wait until Spring for Sony's console to start showing us its true colours.

As always it's your opinion that ultimately matters, not mine. Are you buying a PS4 at launch? Liking the look of the PS4's release slate? Dubious of the early launch reviews? Waiting until next year before taking the plunge? We've got two weeks to talk this over, folks, so let's get started.

Add a comment15 comments
stevenjameshyde  Nov. 14, 2013 at 11:27

My initial plan was to buy a PS4 on launch and survive on Driveclub, Resogun and Planetside 2 until the big hitters arrive next year. Now it looks like I might actually have to spend some money on games instead. I suppose confirmation bias will make me love Battlefield eventually...

SSPanther  Nov. 14, 2013 at 11:34

I'm very much in the Playstation camp myself - mostly because the Playstation Plus offers such fantastic value and hoping it will carry on with the Ps4 once it's games library starts to grow.

Sadly, I'm not tempted into a pre-order right now with the current line up. As much as new tech is exciting stuff, I'll be busy with my back catalogue of PS3 Playstation plus content for now until probably spring like you said.

Won't stop me eating up all the latest news and gossip on the new console though so keep up the good work guys!

Last edited by SSPanther, Nov. 14, 2013 at 11:34
Quietus  Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:16

I guess it's just the nature of the beast. You could argue that the games released early on has been created by those who have had less time to get to grips with it. I don't think that anybody ever expects day-one games to be blockbusters, but is pleasantly surprised if they are.

It's one of the main reasons that I've never bought on day one.

tapi  Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:17

Sadly, when they've been pushing the console as games focussed, and "for the gamer" then mixed or disappointing reviews and a reduced launch lineup isn't good enough - what else have they been working on?

no doubt, it's a great system and will have some awesome games but it's akin to McLaren rubbishing rivals for not focussing on dynamics and then finding out you can't go round corners and describing it as 'getting better'

"So we have to look at how much time they spend on what aspect of the games and how that may be contributing to some of the lower scores." surely, as it's the core of the business (and they've been doing it for some years now) they know what reviewers and gamers want from a game? If not, it belies the 'for the gamer' tag?

Last edited by tapi, Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:19
kristianity77  Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:33

To be honest, I cannot believe people are willing in this day and age to jump on the next gen bandwagon so early. There are still over the next 6 months or so a shed load of what should be great games coming out on the current gen (Dark Souls 2, Castlevania LOS2, Lightening Returns, Fable Anniversary - to name but a few) that there is no need to jump ship already to either system which will take at least 6 months to show true colours and begin too hit their stride.

I'd love a PS4 but there is nothing on that release list that looks decent, or I cant already play this gen (albeit with toned down graphics) apart from maybe Infamous. But imfamous will still be around in 6 months time.

Same goes for the Xbox One. Forza 5 and Dead Rising 3 maybe but again, a bunch of average games or ones already available on systems we all probably own.

Give it time, ride out the games still due to come out this gen, and make what would be a better, informed choice (and probably cheaper!) 6 months or so down the line.

phil16  Nov. 14, 2013 at 12:56

Its tempting. Having a vita with PS+ would certainly add value but I can't help but feel I'd rather drop £600 on a lower spec gaming laptop so I can play my large collection of steam games in front room... (and also hopefully star citizen if I get a half decent GPU) Lets face it a PS3 with two controllers, PS+ for a year and couple of games is similar cash...

Shadowmancer88  Nov. 14, 2013 at 13:46

The odd thing is that reading the reviews Killzone and Knack sound like fun and perhaps should have been marked slightly higher than they are.

You can also watch the live streams on twitch/ustream now to get a better real world idea of the launch games so you can decide if you want to change/ammed your pre-orders.

Anarchist  Nov. 14, 2013 at 16:08

What a surprise.

Yoshida and his 'Everybody is wrong. All our fans are wrong, all the journos are wrong, everybody in the industry is wrong, except Sony. No matter what, we're always right' attitude again.

What a complete and utter ar$ehole.

Breadster  Nov. 14, 2013 at 16:21

Knack looks pants, Killzone looks decent but there's too many FPS' out at the same time, and Resogun looks nice.

I plan on getting Battlefield 4 and then just downloading some games at first like Resogun and Warframe, maybe pick up Fifa as well.

JonLester  Nov. 14, 2013 at 16:38

@Breadster: Warframe is really fun on PC. Economy is slightly glacial, but it's epic space samurai PVE... for free. Difficult to argue with that, frankly! Hopefully will translate well to a PS4 controller (works well enough on an Xbox 360 controller, and makes the sliding much more intuitive).

@kristianity: I argued much the same thing a while back. It's definitely the smart play IMO, at least in terms of savvy consumerism and bang for your buck. However, logic tends to play a back seat when cool new gaming tech is involved! (and quite right too)

Last edited by JonLester, Nov. 14, 2013 at 16:39
RiKx  Nov. 14, 2013 at 21:04

I could be wrong but I think the next gens again ignoring the 'killer app' is great folly. As stated if you can get the same game on current gen with cut down gfx (or prob exact same/better on PC) there is no real incentive to adopt esp not early. The Same was more or less true of the PS3 launch I think that was a large part of it's slower start. Not that the 360 was much better launch title wise but then I didn't get that at launch either. Look what Wii Sports did for Wii sales however...

Breadster  Nov. 14, 2013 at 22:07

I don't remember PS3 but I know the 360's launch line up was garbage.

Anarchist  Nov. 14, 2013 at 23:54

I don't remember PS3 but I know the 360's launch line up was garbage.

Did you not enjoy perfect dark zero, and possibly the worst ridge racer ever made? No? :(

Agree really, it was utter garbage. Xbone lineup is at least ten times better than the 360s, and that isn't saying a whole lot.

Late  Nov. 15, 2013 at 09:36

I think lower-than-expected scores are to be expected (wow @ the contradiction there!) when we get a new generation.

I'd say the first Wipeout game (PS1) was the most impressive launch game I've ever seen. It absolutely blew us away. Compared to the games we'd been playing on our SNESs and MegaDrives it was easily a 10.
But of course you couldn't give it a ten. It's one of the first games on the console. How are you going to score future (better) games? I believe it got around 8/10 from most reputable reviewers.

I'd say realistically you're looking at a ceiling of 7 or 8 in the early days. So early games scoring around 6 or 7 isn't something to panic about.

Breadster  Nov. 15, 2013 at 17:40

Yeah I suppose that's true in some ways, but you can't just not give a game a high score just because it's new.

I never really liked Wipeout, but I guess from a technical standpoint it was pretty good.

Mario 64 and Turok were good for the N64, and Timesplitters for the PS2. I still remember playing that for the first time, I'm pretty sure that was the game that introduced me to the standard modern FPS stick controls. It always used to be something like left stick - walk forward and back and turn left and right, right stick - look up and down and strafe side to side. Whoever decided on those original controls was a moron.

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