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The Complete PlayStation 4 Buying Guide: Slim Vs. Pro, PS Plus, Games, Etc.

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Living the PlayStation life.

Rumors about the PlayStation 5 and next Xbox console may have reached a fever pitch, but that doesn't mean the PlayStation 4 is down for the count. If anything, the end of a console's life cycle can be the best time to get involved, since it means a bigger library of games and more refined hardware, and all for cheaper than if you had been an early adopter. Or maybe you've just finally bought that 4K TV and want to upgrade to the Pro in order to milk every last pixel.

Whoever you are and whatever your situation is, if you're thinking about buying a PS4, we're here to help. We've put together information about whether to buy a PS4 Slim or PS4 Pro, where to find the best games on the platform, and how to determine what services to subscribe to. Here's your complete PS4 buying guide.

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Now Playing: Playstation 4 Pro Video Review

PS4 or PS4 Pro?

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If you're in the market for a PS4, the first decision you need to make is whether you should get a PS4 Slim (which is functionally equivalent to the base model) or the more powerful (and more expensive) PS4 Pro. To make that decision, you mainly need to think about your TV. If you have a 4K television or you're planning to upgrade soon, it's almost certainly worth the additional cost to get the Pro. It will make most games look or play better on your newer television.

If you don't have a 4K TV and you don't plan to upgrade anytime soon, a standard PS4 or Slim will be just fine. Games will still look phenomenal, and you'll save a few bucks. For more detailed information, you can read our PS4 vs. PS4 Pro comparison.


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A PlayStation 4 on its own can play many games just fine. But if you want to take those games online--as many games require nowadays--or stream music, movies, TV shows, and the like, you'll need a subscription to PlayStation Plus. This might seem like a monthly shakedown since the PS3's online services were free, but PS Plus actually adds a lot of value.

You get the online gaming service that lets you play games with friends and strangers--a requirement for many of the biggest games these days. You also get a selection of free games each month, many of which are quite good. Finally, you get exclusive discounts on digital games in the PlayStation Store.

Another subscription service PlayStation 4 owners might consider is PlayStation Now. PlayStation Now is basically Netflix for games (soon to be joined by Microsoft's xCloud and Google's Stadia). It lets you stream a selection of over 650 PS4, PS3, and PS2 games directly to your console (or PC) without purchasing them individually. While not needing to download games sounds great in theory, in practice it means you'll need a strong and steady internet connection in order to have a smooth experience.

Finally, PlayStation Vue is Sony's replacement for cable television. It lets you stream live TV to your PS4, with a selection of local and cable channels that's similar to what you'd get from cable. It also includes cloud DVR service and the ability to watch on mobile devices as well.


Nobody buys a PS4 for services alone--games are the real star of the show. Here are some of the best PS4 games available right now.

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God of War -- 9/10

"In many ways God of War is what the series has always been. It's a spectacular action game with epic set pieces, big-budget production values, and hard-hitting combat that grows more feverish and impressive as you progress. What may surprise you is how mature its storytelling has become. Like Kratos, God of War recalls the past while acknowledging the need to improve. Everything new it does is for the better, and everything it holds onto benefits as a result." [Read the full review] - Peter Brown

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Bloodborne -- 9/10

"The finest treasures are found within the city of Yharnam and the forests, lakes, and purgatories beyond it... I finished Bloodborne in less time than I did Dark Souls II, yet I treasure it more in spite of its few missteps. In death there is life, and in blood, there is redemption. More hyperbole, yes, but for a game this theatrical, only hyperbole will do." [Read the full review] - Kevin VanOrd

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Monster Hunter World -- 8/10

"This is likely the biggest and best that the franchise has ever been. It's not just the comparative depth of the narrative; it also boasts almost seamless integration between combat systems that were previously incomprehensible for amateurs. The Monster Hunter formula has definitely honed its claws, and all the above factors play their part in making Monster Hunter World a meaningful evolution for the series at large." [Read the full review] - Ginny Woo

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Overwatch -- 9/10

"Overwatch is an exercise in refined chaos. There are multitudes of layers hiding beneath the hectic surface, and they emerge, one after another, the more you play. This is a shooter that knows how to surprise, one that unfolds at a frantic pace, one that takes a handful of great ideas, and combines them into something spectacular." [Read the full review] - Mike Mahardy

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Uncharted 4: A Thief's End -- 10/10

"Uncharted 4's gameplay pushes the narrative forward, the narrative feeds off its gameplay, and every detail coalesces to create something bigger. Uncharted 4 bounces between set pieces and personal moments with such grace, with such skill and poise and affection for its characters, that you don't mind when the guns stop firing, and the smoke clears, and Nathan gets a moment to breathe." [read the full review] - Mike Mahardy

You can find more standouts in our list of the Best PS4 Games So Far.


No PS4 setup is complete without a few handy accessories to add value or make life easier.

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DualShock 4 Controller

The PS4 comes with a single controller, but if you want a couch co-op partner to join you as you play, you'll need at least one extra controller.

External Hard Drive

With games gobbling up dozens of gigabytes of hard drive space these days--and with a barrage of free games for PS Plus members each month--a PS4's onboard hard drive fills up fast. Thankfully, you can add an external hard drive to greatly expand the available space.

Wireless Headset

Whether you want to bark orders to your co-op team online or play late at night without waking up your family or roommates, having a gaming headset comes in handy. This wireless one is perfect for the job.

PlayStation VR

Probably the most impressive PS4 accessory of all is the PSVR headset, which puts you directly inside games like Skyrim VR, Doom VFR, and Resident Evil 7.

Media Remote

It's a first-world problem to be sure, but having to turn on your PS4 controller every time you need to pause Netflix can be a real pain. This media remote solves the issue.

Controller Charging Dock

There's nothing worse than your controller running out of juice when you're in the middle of a game. Keep your DualShock 4 controllers charged with this stylish dock.

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