PlayStation has been an iconic part of the gaming world since 1994. It has come a long way since being a small grey box that was a staple of so many homes. In 2020 the latest PlayStation is anything but small. In fact, the PS5 is one of the biggest video game consoles in years.
With its heavyweight size though can it deliver a heavyweight performance?
I talked about my impressions the console gives previously, and you can read that here. Now everything is live across the world here is our final review.
The PlayStation 5 looks unique. It’s the kind of look that will divide people. Some will love it and some will hate it. All will agree on one thing though. It’s just too big.
This is a console that will not fit comfortably into every setup. It can be stored horizontally or vertically and looks nice doing so thanks to the detachable stand but… it takes up so much space.
My current Kallax set up, which fits every console I own dating all the way back to the 90s, had to be readjusted to make room for the PS5. It stands upright next to my TV and although it’s impossible to ignore it has definitely grown into my setup.
A lot of my gaming is done in the evening and this is when the PS5 looks its best. In a low light with the light from the console reflecting off of it, it’s a nice statement piece to a gaming space. At the end of the day, it’s a console that doesn’t look like anything else which is a positive and a negative for it at the same time. It unfortunately isn’t as quiet as you might expect considering the size of it but it’s nowhere near as noisy as the PS4 and can normally only be picked up in moments of silence. That said, the disc drive does get quite loud when installing games and at bootup, but it goes quiet again afterwards.
The PlayStation 5 Experience
The PS5 is a touch awkward to get out of the box because of its weight and the stand is a tiny bit fiddly. Not so much that it ruins the console forever but just enough that it makes that initial set up a tiny bit more time consuming than previous consoles.
Once it is set up though getting the console to do what you want is simple. You follow the instructions on the screen through a fairly streamlined experience and walla. You are on the menu. There’s even a much easier to understand privacy setting which is ideal for those that don’t want to always be online.
You can go from the games menu straight into the shop to pick up a game. You can then go from there to your trophies all with hardly any slowdown. It feels wonderfully quick and you can even see your playtimes for games now, which is great! The menus feel nice too, with different games having different themes to them that play music and make each piece feel like its own experience.
There are some current problems with the aforementioned shop though. Some games try and install the PS4 version of them even though… that’s not something you’re likely to want. This would be less of a problem if there was ample storage on the PS5 but, out the box, you’re looking at about 667GB for all your games.
With SSDs not currently supported having small issues like this are an annoyance, but something that will hopefully be fixed sooner rather than later.
It’s In the Game
Getting into the actual games will be what a lot of people worry about. That experience is effortless and so much quicker than the PS4. Another nice touch is that, if you press the PS button on your controller, you’re given options in some games to quickly jump to other sections of the game.
For example, in Miles Morales you can use it to jump straight into challenges or continue the story. In Demon’s Souls you can use it to jump to worlds quickly and keep track of your current progression. This is handy as it can keep you in the loop about what worlds you have found a boss in but not beaten it yet.
It’s something I’m really excited to see explored more. Astro’s Playroom does a great job with it. Challenges are easy to jump to and it even pings you a notification if you fall out of the top 100 on the leaderboard. It could mean that we see a lot more natural competitive gaming with the PS5. We’ll also no doubt see it used to help trophy hunters track their trophies even better, as has been shown a bit so far.
To dive into the PS5 experience further requires diving into the one thing that sets it apart from its competitors.
The DualSense is one of the best controllers I’ve ever witnessed that comes with a console. Its use of haptics and sound make everything more immersive than any other controller but are also only a small part of it. The adaptive triggers are the things that change everything. So much so that they would genuinely make me consider a PS5 version of a game over another if it was multi-platform. It may be cliche to say it but there’s no denying that it’s a game changer.
In DIRT 5 the adaptive triggers work differently depending on the type of car you drive. Sometimes they have no brake resistance at all and other times there’s plenty of fight back. WRC9 takes it even further by having all kinds of sounds coming from the controller as well as giving you resistance on the triggers and haptic feedback.
In Devil May Cry 5 revving up your weapon feels more satisfying than ever. Even in games like Miles Morales it’s used subtly in a way that elevates the game further.
These features can be turned off if you need to but I implore you to try them if you can. Especially on Astro’s Playroom. It shows you all the bells and whistles of the controller and is pre-installed on every PS5.
It’s a wonderful evolution of the DualShock and there’s very few issues I have with it… but there are still some.
It would be nice if the adaptive triggers had a bit more of a hook on them. You can feel your fingers slide at points. The middle button to take you to the menu is also slightly harder to hit by feel alone. Due to it no longer being a button but a cutout of the PlayStation logo it kind of blends into the controller. With the microphone mute button below it means you might end up hitting the mic button a few times at first.
You get used to it and it’s aesthetically more pleasing as the logo but it’s just a bit less practical.
Of the two next-gen launches the PlayStation 5 has the better lineup of games that capture that feeling of “next-gen”. The first party games look stunning, especially Miles Morales and Demon’s Souls. Not only do they look stunning but they make a point of looking stunning early on, to help you have that wow moment.
Looks can only get you so far though and the true next-gen experience comes from the way the DualSense is utilised. I’ve played DIRT 5 on multiple platforms and the PS5 is my favourite version of it because of the controller.
What’s important in the PS5’s launch lineup is the variety of newly released games it offers. Although many of the games are multi-generational and cross-platform there’s still plenty of games you couldn’t get your hands on until the console launched.
The first party games of Miles Morales, Sackboy, Astro’s Playroom and Demon’s Souls all offer something different from each other. Fan of racing games? DIRT 5 and the update of WRC 9 have you covered. Bugsnax is free on PS+ and different from most things you’ll play. Want an FPS game? The new Call of Duty is there at launch in the UK.
The likes of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, The Pathless, Planet Coaster and a few other recently released games help make sure launch lineup is choc-full of fun experiences. Not only that but some of them are PlayStation exclusives when it comes to console release.
The PlayStation 5 is more than just a fancier PS4. The completely new UI means that, from the get-go, you’re met with something new. Having Astro’s Playroom pre-installed allows gamers to have something straight away that will show them what the DualSense does differently.
There are some strong games in the launch lineup that really help highlight the potential of the console. Not just that though they help highlight the new features of the console too. The DualSense can make even older games feel fresh.
I’ve run into a few soft crashes in games but I’ve never been able to replicate it. I was also able to get back to where I was in that game within seconds.
PlayStation has done a great job with their opening act of this generation. As long as they can keep the games and innovation coming it could be their most exciting generation yet.
Review console provided by Sony
Featured image credit: Sony