How do you review a console on the day it's launched?
Truth is, you don't really. You play what you've got, you make an assessment and you wait for more reasons to fall in love with it as the months and years roll on.
That's pretty much the subtext of every PS4 review released today, just two days before its retail launch in the US (and two weeks from launch in the UK).
Most outlets have given their initial views on the system - and all have praised its potential. But with the launch-final OS update just 24 hours old, and with several key titles still months from release, even those who have issued scores are resting on the circumspect side of the verdict line.
With all that in mind, here's what the press are saying in the first few days of the PS4's long life:
Polygon: (Seriously, you have to see this review...)
"The PlayStation 4's focus on gaming -- and only gaming -- is undermined by a distinct lack of compelling software. That failing is sure to improve -- better games and more of them will appear on the PlayStation 4 -- but right now, this is a game console without a game to recommend it. Early adopters of the PS4 this fall are buying potential energy. We're just waiting for a place to spend it."
Stuff: (5/5 based on in-office tests)
"Without a final Xbox One sample it’s impossible to know whether the PS4 is the runaway winner of the next-gen console battle as many are proclaiming. But what we do know now is that it’s an absolutely cracking console. Delivering on the next-gen promise of 1080p gaming and digital distribution are the core things, but that’s backed up by a super-slick UI that feels ‘live’ and interactive, and delivers the content you want with a degree of snappiness that the previous generation couldn’t get close to. Remote Play is terrific, and you’ve got a massively strong launch for the PS4. And it will only get better as more games, apps and features are released."
CVG: Resogun (Game Review)
If you thought watching skyscraper demolition on television was fun, just wait until you complete your first Resogun level and get to enjoy the architecture forming the centerpiece of the level cylinder erupt in showers of cubes. It could've easily replaced the tech demo of the purple pills raining to earth that Sony showcased at the PS4 reveal. It's that impressive.... It almost feels like too epic of a finale for the very start of a new console generation.
Engadget: Should You Buy It?
"Not yet. I mean, if you're some sort of Sony diehard who can never possibly be swayed to the Microsoft side, then sure. The PS4 is a good console. There is nothing aggressively wrong with it as to scare away or displease a devoted fanboy. The console itself costs $400, games cost your standard $60. Both are reasonable. You will like it, you will be happy."
Eurogamer: Killzone Shadow Fall (Game Review)
"Nine years ago, the first Killzone game offered us an unforgettable, iconic image: a gas-masked space Nazi, eyes glowing a malevolent ochre, standing under a cherry blossom tree. A strong start - and yet since then, the series has been groping for an identity that could live up to that look and set it apart from its FPS peers. It's never quite found it. ... There's a lack of confidence here that contrasts starkly with Guerrilla's dazzling, sure-footed command of the new hardware. It's a game that any new PlayStation 4 owner will be proud to show off - but it won't be one they remember by the time PS5 rolls around.
"Sony is ready to play and is playing to win. The $399 PlayStation 4 is a gamer's console focusing on cutting down load times, sharing your best moments with your friends and maybe catching a movie or TV show in your downtime. That being said, with the exception of "Killzone: Shadown Fall" and "Knack," we're a little disappointed in the launch title lineup. The third-party games are great, but we're hoping Sony's own offering improve in the coming months... Overall, the PlayStation 4 is the console of choice for those looking for a gamer-centric experience."