Explain PS4 to me like I’m a 55 year old
October 7, 2017 6:44 AM   Subscribe

I am relatively old, and have never played video games. Can you recommend a few PS4 games that would serve as a type of syllabus help me to develop proficiency and to use the console with enjoyment?

After a lifetime of never having played video games (weird, I know), I recently came into possession of a PS4. But while the games it came with (FIFA 17 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare) look like things that I would enjoy, it’s become clear that I am woefully short of the hand-eye coordination and button-mashing skills required to play those games with any enjoyment. I realise I won’t ever regain the reflexes of a typical teenager, but can you recommend games or game modes that I could use to develop some skills in this area that aren’t quite so frustrating (that is, I don’t want to die every five minutes or keep losing 8-0 on the easiest level)? I’m averse to gore and sexism, but otherwise am open to suggestions of almost any type of game.
posted by muhonnin to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (28 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Look for an anthology collection of old 80s arcade games. Those tend to be much easier to play, and you'll get 10-20 games cheaply. I gave up on keeping up with my son and gaming with the PS2, and mostly stick to the old classics from the 80s, and Gran Turismo. If the PS4 can play old PS2 discs you can find them on Ebay very cheap.
posted by COD at 7:04 AM on October 7, 2017

I would recommend some of the action-adventure style games, like the Uncharted series (especially the later ones), and the last two Tomb Raider games. Unlike the frenetic first-person shooter games, these third-person games play more like a movie where you are controlling the character and the action. There is a lot more time for you to breathe, especially if you start off playing them at the easy settings. There is some gore though, with the fairly predictable “killing the baddies and get the treasure” storylines.
posted by shanewtravel at 7:10 AM on October 7, 2017 [5 favorites]

Yes Uncharted! Most games from Naughty Dog, in fact— The Last of Us is similar. There’s some exploration (think a series of small open worlds, not full open world like Skyrim), some combat, a lot of story. I too think of them as interactive movies. Violent but no more gore than a PG-13 movie.

The recent Wolfenstein games are first-person but similar in this regard. I like The New Order a lot. More gory.

Skyrim is big open world, lots of exploration, some story. Lots of different ways to play. Combat isn’t too difficult on lower settings. Less gory than either Uncharted or Wolfenstein IIRC.

The Witness is great if you like puzzle games.
posted by supercres at 7:37 AM on October 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

I played an Assassin's Ceeed game from beginning to end with zero gaming experience and enjoyed it immensely. It does a good job of teaching you skills as you go. Basically pick a location you like (Renaissance Italy, pre-Colombian Caribbean, Dickensian England, Ancient Egypt, etc) and choose the corresponding AC title, so you can enjoy the scenery.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 7:41 AM on October 7, 2017

Minecraft has added a tutorial section to the beginning which makes it easier to get into and also has a conflict-free 'creative mode' where the focus is on building. It's controls are similar to most games these days (one stick controls the body, the other the head...ie where u are looking, and the buttons do the rest) and while it looks 'retro' it's actually pretty deep (it's Turing complete...you can build computers inside the game if you like. Or just punch cows)
Fallout 4 is kiiind of like call of duty, but much less humorless. Importantly, it has VATS, a targeting system that takes reflexes out of the equation, mostly...it pauses for aiming and firing...but takes a few seconds to recharge so...run away!
No man's sky is super chill and mellow and gorgeous and mostly conflict free (if you break the rules the robots will come for you)
Buying used games from gamestop is a good way to save and all of those are in the $20 range...
Also check out Deadly Tower of Monsters (download only) on YouTube...it's really funny...to the point where you don't care if you keep dying. (It's pretending to be the DVD re-release of a terrible 50s B-movie...complete with director commentary...and stop-motion dinosaurs)
posted by sexyrobot at 7:44 AM on October 7, 2017

I think Journey might be an excellent place to start. It's a well-loved game about traveling through a beautiful environment and solving puzzles. The lack of immediate fast action lets you pick up the controls at your own pace, and it can teach you how video games teach you, which is an important meta skill.

Horizon: Zero Dawn is a large step up in complexity, but it recently added a "story mode" difficulty setting that makes it much harder to die in combat. It can teach you a lot about how modern games work: open-world design where you can go nearly anywhere in an environment filled with danger and rewards, how modern game combat works with aiming and moving at the same time, "loot" collection that lets your character grow more powerful over time to take on greater challenges. Also you hunt robot dinosaurs.

Night in the Woods is a story-focused adventure game about a millennial cat coming back to her hometown. It won't teach you how to handle action games, but it's an experience that shouldn't be missed.

I third the recommendation of Uncharted, though I'm hesitant to recommend the recent Tomb Raider games, which while good are a bit notorious for some uncomfortable violent scenes. Uncharted 4 is especially worthwhile: a Hollywood-style globe-trotting hunt for a pirate's treasure. Climb ancient ruins, find clues and artifacts, fight off the mercenary army following the same trail. One thing I really appreciate is that it often takes its time: not everything is a heated gun battle, there are plenty of slower character-driven scenes.
posted by skymt at 7:50 AM on October 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

I like No Man's Sky on the PS4. It's beautiful and not at all fast paced.
posted by zippy at 8:05 AM on October 7, 2017

You could start with a few visual novels -- they're just sort of point and click. You sit back and enjoy the story in a slow paced manner.

I recommend Root Letter. It's a visual novel about a young man who finds an old letter from his high school penpal that he never read before.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 8:09 AM on October 7, 2017

How about some of the Lego games? I like the Star Wars and Harry Potter ones. There are others that other people can probably recommend.

They are designed for 8 year olds so aren't stupidly hard. As a bonus they are also good fun to play and align with the films pretty well.
posted by mr_silver at 8:25 AM on October 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Overcooked! Super friendly, fun, definitely great for developing hand speed and coordination skills.
posted by rachaelfaith at 8:29 AM on October 7, 2017

Just get Horizon: Zero Dawn because it is wonderful. It starts of relatively gently and it uses the same general kind of control scheme as almost all first-person and over-the-shoulder games -- look with the right thumb, move with the left thumb, triggers and secondary triggers do most of the actual "work" in combat, buttonpad does various noncombat things, direction-pad switches weapons.

There is plenty of violence -- you kill a lot of animals, and robot dinosaur things, and people -- but little if any gore. The game is actively anti-sexist. Nobody is going to confuse it for a literary novel, but the story is at least as good, compelling, and complex as a big-budget hollywood movie with a few legit weebly moments here and there.

Yeah, you might get killed a lot early on. It's the kind of game where that's okay. You can just spend a lot of time wandering around in the introductory area killing easy robots and turkeys until you get comfortable with the controls. It's also helpful that the default control for a *lot* of things is "hold down the button for a second or two to make sure you intended to Do The Thing," so there isn't much accidentally-Doing-The-Thing.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:29 AM on October 7, 2017

If COD is not too violent/gory for you, you might also look at the Handsome Collection, which combines Borderlands 2 with the "Pre-Sequel."

I was sort of you in 2007 -- since about 1985 I had (almost) only played PC games so I was very used to mouse/keyboard and not at all used to modern controllers where you're doing stuff with all your fingers at the same time. The original Borderlands was what got me over the hump, and I was immensely frustrated by it until I suddenly wasn't. It was some combination of the art style -- they're all a nifty semi-cartoonish look -- and the urge to get better gear and new abilities that kept me coming back until I now prefer a controller to mouse/kb.

There is gore -- if you shoot enemies with shock weapons their heads explode, etc -- and I can't remember whether you can turn it off. *In general* they aren't sexist but there is a lot of bro-ey humor. Presumably the online multiplayer is the same cesspool of sexist and homophobic slurs as everything else **BUT** if you have an extra controller or three you can play local, split-screen multiplayer with other people in the same room so if they were to say something sexist you could slap with with a trout or spill hot fudge on their head.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:39 AM on October 7, 2017

You could also try a turn-based game like Invisible, Inc., where there's no time pressure at all with respect to pushing the buttons. It's a spy/stealth game with only cartoon-y violence and is out on PS4.
posted by praemunire at 8:52 AM on October 7, 2017

Plus one for Journey. It's beautiful.

Also: Fez.
posted by cleverevans at 8:53 AM on October 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Practice going reeeeeeeal easy on the thumbsticks. I started gaming when I was 35 or so, and it was so hard to learn that. They don't need to be mashed usually, at all.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 9:19 AM on October 7, 2017

uncharted is great, you can start with the 4th one in the series and not bother with the first 3 if you want BUT you can also get the first 3 on one disc remastered for ps4. you can turn on auto-aim and not worry about being the snipe god of headshots. you can turn the difficulty down to easy and not worry about boss fights defeating you constantly until it's not a fun pastime but a tedious chore.

imo the first one is pretty awful but ymmv.

one of the most recent tomb raiders (not rise of, the other one) has an unskippable violent sexual assault scene so uh. i don't recommend that to anyone at any time for any reason.

i love assassin's creed; of the ones available for ps4 i would recommend ac4 first because pirates and sailing, and ac:syndicate next because you can play as a female character if you want. unity is beautiful visually but the story is deeply boring. the ezio remasters are great as well.

dishonored (1, 2, death of the outsider) is really great and puzzley in the sense that there are a lot of ways to complete each mission objective and you don't necessarily have to just burst in and slaughter everyone.

avoid co-op modes with in-game voice chat unless you 01) have friends that will play with you or 02) you are ready to write off humanity as a mistake.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:51 AM on October 7, 2017

Modern FIFA is incredibly complicated to me, and I've been playing them for 20 years. I can barely win anything over professional (which is right on the middle) because after that it starts requiring knobbling around the skill stick to advance.
You can, however, adjust individual sliders (I think its something like "user gameplay customization"on settings) - For instance, you can set the speed of the game to slow, and further dial down the CPU players (or up on yours) speed, marking, pass accuracy etc until they're on your level.
posted by lmfsilva at 9:53 AM on October 7, 2017

Get a game that's got a story you're interested in--that'll keep you playing until you get comfortable with the mechanics. The Last of Us has a great story and you can adjust the difficulty level from fairly easy to heart-thumpingly hard. However, it does have zombies and gore. It's soooo good though. One of my favorite games, ever.

Dishonored has a cool world and interesting story, and you can play it without killing a single person (or you can go in guns blazing!). Some of the non-lethal options can be pretty disturbing. It also has adjustable difficulty.

I came to modern gaming as an adult, and I learned mostly with Assassin's Creed 2. I spent hours walking Ezio into walls before I got the hang of things! AC2 is a fan favorite. Gorgeous settings, fun puzzles, cool hero.

Fallout 4 gets you into the 'open world' style of game, where once you've finished the tutorial level, you can go anywhere within the game map you want. You can choose to follow the main quest, or you can spend fifty hours building your settlement. Skyrim is similar, if you prefer a fantasy setting. Both are a lot of fun. You can adjust the difficulty down, too.

Wolfenstein is a super fun FPS (and there's a new one coming out in a month). It also has adjustable difficulty.

Most games will also allow you to adjust the level of camera movement/bounce, and the field of vision. This is SUPER helpful if you get seasick while playing.
posted by lovecrafty at 10:15 AM on October 7, 2017

I LOVE LEGO City Undercover, and I am a poor gamer. The story is only okay, but it's a big exploration world with little items to find all over the place. I am about to finish and I am really sad because it's been so fun.
posted by emkelley at 11:20 AM on October 7, 2017

Maybe try an arcade style racing game. You don't have to look with one hand and shoot with the other. Need for Speed will do fine. Wipe Out is a lot of fun and looks gorgeous though you will be stuck in the lower levels of the game cause it gets difficult quite fast.

I also liked The Crew. Played it without going online or getting in a crew. It gets a little repetetive after a while but you can drive for hours through the US if you just want to do that and choose big or small missions whenever you feel up to them.
posted by Kosmob0t at 11:33 AM on October 7, 2017

I’m going to second the “games designed for an 8 year old” rec upthread; I learned how to play as an adult on a few Harry Potter games which had lots of tutorials. (Haven’t played on a PS4 so I don’t have any specific recs, I just found something well-rated for kids that didn’t look awful and had a good experience.)
posted by tchemgrrl at 4:51 PM on October 7, 2017

I'm 45. I played games on Macs and PCs for decades before getting a Wii U and then PS4, and adapting to a pad-type controller for first-person games, rather than a keyboard and mouse, was difficult and took time. I've got much better (I have completed few console games now) but Wolfenstein, even on the easy settings, is still surprisingly difficult for me and has sat on the shelf for awhile. I think if someone has grown up using a controller on a console they might not realise there's quite a learning curve for just basic hand-eye coordination using those little joysticks and buttons.

I found that the Deus Ex games were a very good gradual introduction to moving and shooting because rather than being completely reaction based, a lot of the time you move, find cover, and take your time to aim. Or just sneak around carefully.

That said, I think first person shooter (FPS) games might be jumping the gun a bit. There are lots of fun, relatively cheap small, simple games available for download from Sony that could be a better bet. And Minecraft would be a good way to get the hang of moving and exploring. Minecraft is lovely (although I've never played the console version)

Sony have a subscription service (needed to play online) that also includes two free full games a month - older titles, but there's a good variety so it would be a good way to gradually see a lot of different types of games for a low cost.

If you do find that you enjoy FPS games, but dislike gore, cruelty, grim worlds, etc, I can recommend the Star Wars Battlefront games.
posted by BinaryApe at 3:34 AM on October 8, 2017

Little Big Planet 3. A action puzzle-platformer.
posted by squirbel at 7:09 AM on October 8, 2017

Also here to recommend Horizon Zero Dawn. I am terrible at video games - I just don't have the reflexes for most combat, and don't have the time/patience to devote to developing those reflexes. The new "story mode" in Horizon Zero Dawn means you do more damage, enemies do less damage, and I think you have more health overall too. It makes it much more forgiving and fun.
posted by skycrashesdown at 10:21 AM on October 8, 2017

Journey is absolutely lovely, if brief. Witcher 3 with difficulty turned right down is some of the best gaming you'll find right now, but read up a little to see if it's grim fantasy stylings are right for you.

Watch_dogs 2 is a great realisation of San Francisco and a bright and lighthearted take on an often surly genre.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:11 PM on October 8, 2017

The XCOM games remain classics across multiple decades and platforms. Turn-based / tactical so no twitch reflexes required.

Rayman Legends is a work of art on the PS4.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:41 PM on October 8, 2017

I'm 47 and bought a PS2 ten years ago, and now we have a PS4. I started with terrible hand-eye coordination, and surprise! still have terrible hand-eye coordination, but I've found that games with stories and/or artwork that I like can suck me in when I set the difficulty to dead easy. Okami, Kingdom Hearts, and Skyrim (not following the dragon questline) have all eaten my life. (So have Mass Effect, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Fallout New Vegas, Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3, but my husband pilots the controller for those while I pick story options because I cannot coordinate well enough to play those.)

Also, if you get stuck in a place, consider it might be your controller. I couldn't do the fishing minigame in Okami and eventually realized my controller was buggy. Buying a new one made it SO MUCH EASIER.
posted by telophase at 9:59 AM on October 9, 2017

Do you like soccer? Do you like driving (remote controlled cars)? Then you might like Rocket League! Admittedly, you may want to brush up your hand-eye coordination a little bit before you jump in, but in the beginning it's just driving around bumping the ball and trying to get it in the net... then as you get better, you can start flying thru the air to try and knock the ball out of the sky. Or not! The ranking system is pretty good, so you should be able to play online and be matched against other similarly talented (or not) folks.
posted by Grither at 12:11 PM on October 10, 2017

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