Just recently unwrapped an inviting rectangle with your name on it and found Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro within? Lucky you: that’s the best version of the best console around right now. But you already knew that.
What you might not know is what to do next. Are you transferring your games and data over from the original PS4? Do you have a 4K TV and know how to properly configure the console to take full advantage of it?
And do you know the best games to get right now, where to find 4K media to stream on the thing, and what kinds of accessories you might want to snag once it’s up and running? These aren’t the hardest of questions, but they’re well worth considering if you want to get the most out of your awesome new console.
With that in mind, here’s a look at how to set up the PlayStation 4 Pro, which games and media to seek out first, and which peripherals might be worth your holiday cash.
1) GET UP AND RUNNING
On the simplest level, the basic cable setup here hasn’t really changed: you’ve got a power cable to plug into the wall outlet, an HDMI cable to stick into your TV, and you can connect to the Internet either via Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi. If you’ve set up a new game console at any point over the last 10 years, you can probably sort that all out.
But there’s a bit more to consider, especially if you’re plugging into a 4K TV. To ensure that you’re able to run games in full 2160p (4K) resolution, assuming your TV is up to the task, you may need to ensure that the console is plugged into the right HDMI port on the TV.
Look up your TV model to see if the ports are differentiated and if some are specifically designated for 4K 60Hz output. Once your PS4 Pro is all set up, go to the “Sound and Screen” section in the console’s settings to see whether you’re fully 4K or need to sort out an issue. If it’s not the port, it could be an incompatibility between the console and TV: there had been various reports of issues when the console first released, but hopefully those have been all handled by firmware updates. On that note, make sure your TV’s firmware is up to date as well.
Furthermore, make sure that HDR (high dynamic range) output is enabled on both the PS4 Pro and television (assuming your TV supports HDR): you’ll find it in “Sound and Screen” again on the console, and you’ll have to dig around your TV’s settings menu to find it on that end. Not every game supports HDR, but the enhancements can be pretty awesome – it’s well worth having activated.
If you’re running into an issue getting either 4K or HDR working with your TV, do this: Google it. Seriously. Lots of other people have probably run into the same problem, and there are message boards full of home theater geniuses who have already solved their conundrums. That’s how we fixed a sticky PS4 Pro setup issue. Each TV may have its own setting to tick off, and you may not know what to do if you don’t understand this stuff inside and out. Also, this PlayStation support doc could be of some help.
Before you set up the PlayStation 4 Pro, however, you’ll have an important decision to make: do you want/need to transfer your games, save files, and other media from another PS4, or are you starting fresh?
It’s pretty easy to do a transfer if you have both consoles handy. Otherwise, if you have a PlayStation Plus account, you can upload your saves to the cloud and then just redownload any digital games, or reinstall disc-based titles. In any case, if you need to transfer data over, you’ll want to get started with that before getting too deep into playing with your new box.
You’ll also need to login with or create a PlayStation Network console to connect to the Internet, download games, make friends, and play online multiplayer games. It’s free, it’s easy, and there’s no reason not to do it.
You might also consider signing up for the aforementioned PlayStation Plus subscription. Sony’s membership plan is now required to play online games, but it also has other benefits: namely a few free games to download each and every month and keep, so long as your Plus subscription is paid up.
For your money, you’ll get a mix of older favourites, alluring indies, and occasionally the semi-high-profile new release, not to mention discounts on all PlayStation Store purchases. It’s R900 per year or R109 monthly, but the benefits are pretty massive if you plan to play regularly.
Oh, and expect to find a sizable system update waiting for you whenever you finally get the system up and running… and probably updates for any games you’re playing for the first time, as well. Welcome to modern console gaming.
2) GRAB SOME GAMES
What’s the point of getting a swanky new game console if you don’t have awesome new games to play on it? Here’s a look at three of the biggest and best games you ought to play, three other awesome digital titles that are cheaper and should be faster downloads, and finally some pointers on finding 4K streaming movies and TV shows.
Biggest and best
Horizon: Zero Dawn (R510)
The PS4’s best game of 2017 is undoubtedly Horizon: Zero Dawn, a fabulous adventure with one of the most compelling open worlds in gaming. You’ll play as Aloy, a hunter who battles the enormous robo-dinosaur creatures that roam the land, and this engrossing odyssey should keep you playing well into next year.
Gran Turismo Sport (R900)
Sony’s legendary racer returns for 2017 with Gran Turismo Sport, which once again delivers a precise simulation experience with jaw-dropping graphics in tow. It’s one of the best things you’ll see running on a PS4 Pro, especially with HDR enabled, and the handling feels great. GT is a little stuck in its ways, but the fun still shines through.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (R630)
While not quite as essential as last year’s Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Naughty Dog’s The Lost Legacy is still a brand new Uncharted game, which makes it a must-play for anyone who gets a kick out of big, cinematic action affairs. As fortune hunter Chloe Frazer, you’ll explore across India to find an ancient relic – and get into a whole load of tense situations along the way.
From the makers of the brilliant Limbo comes the amazing Inside, a puzzle-platform affair set in a grim, mostly monochromatic world. With pursuers on his tail, the young boy you control must solve his way through each new area, all while the dark storyline takes shape around him.
Rocket League GotY Edition (R400)
Still one of the best things you can play on the PS4, Rocket League delivers a dynamic twist on football: you’re driving a rocket-powered car instead of using your feet. And yes, that is incredibly fun, especially when you’re soaring into the air to deliver an insane winning goal. It’s a simple concept with an incredibly high skill ceiling, and a gift that keeps on giving.
Thumper is one of the craziest and most intense rhythm games we’ve ever laid eyes and ears on, and the frenzied action is even better on the PS4 Pro: it’s one of the rare games you can play in native (not upscaled) 4K. Strap on a PlayStation VR headset and it’s even wilder still.
Stream in 4K
Since the PlayStation 4 Pro curiously doesn’t pack in a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player (just the standard variety), you’ll have to rely on streaming media to bring that high-res media onto your TV – assuming you have a 4K set, of course.
Luckily, you have some options. Netflix thankfully has plenty of great stuff in 4K, including Stranger Things, Luke Cage, and House of Cards, but Amazon Prime Instant Video also has some strong 4K choices, including The Grand Tour and Transparent. You can also turn to YouTube to find trailers and plenty of other miscellaneous clips in 4K.
3) GET SOME EXTRA GEAR
PlayStation VR (R5,300)
Cheaper than its high-end PC rivals and primed for living room gaming, the PlayStation VR plugs right into your PS4 console and lets you soak in immersive, 360-degree game experiences. It’s not as refined as those pricier rivals, as we had some technical issues during our review testing – but when it works well, it can be pretty brilliant. You’ll need the PlayStation Camera (included in the R5,300 bundle) for this, which is not included in some bundles, and will probably want PlayStation Move remotes as well.
PlayStation Wireless Stereo Headset 2.0 (R1,400)
You can find much pricier gaming headsets and certainly some cheaper ones too, but Sony’s Wireless Stereo Headset 2.0 (a.k.a. the Gold Wireless Headset in the States) finds the sweet spot in terms of price, sound quality, comfort, and build strength. It’s incredibly easy to use, has great 7.1 virtual surround sound, and folds up for better storage too.
PlayStation 4 Vertical Stand (R300)
Like your game consoles propped upwards rather than laying flat? Well, Sony’s got you covered with the new vertical stand, which works with both the Pro and the Slim consoles. The black-to-clear gradient effect is pleasing, although R300 for a chunk of plastic might seem excessive – still, it seems plenty stable once attached. Better than risking it without the stand, eh?