By Patrick Young
When it was announced, I was skeptical about the PlayStation 5. The design of the console and controller was a clear departure from the previous systems. There looked like some pretty good games coming but none that immediately looked like game-changers (pun intended) for the industry.
But in the week I have had with it, I can safely say that the PS5 is a promising console that delivers on the allure of a new gaming-generation.
With a futuristic design, a razor sharp game-focused user interface, and a revolutionary controller, this is a console that if you are fortunate enough to secure, you know you are getting your money’s worth.
Let’s get this out of the way first: the PS5 is a beast. The white curves of the console and controller have grown on me since the original reveal. Seeing it in person, the PS5 has a character to it––it is bold and unlike anything seen before, almost like a statement by Sony themselves about the console’s direction. It will clearly stand out in your entertainment center from the litany of other black boxes and I love it for that.
Press release images do not adequately demonstrate how massive a console this is though. Be sure you have prepared plenty of space in your entertainment center for this thing because it is going to shrink everything around it. Considering what the console is packing on the inside to deliver next-gen gaming performance, the size is comparable to a PC tower, especially when standing up vertically. Fortunately, you can lay the console on its side with the detachable base, but it is nonetheless massive.
From setting up your PS5 to put it through it’s courses, Sony clearly put a lot of work into optimizing the user experience of its new console.
The console setup process is fairly quick and comprehensive, with easy to follow instructions. A bar at the bottom of the screen shows you how far along you are in the process and options at certain times to skip steps for their triviality. Probably the most important part of the setup comes with the data transfer from your PS4–over WiFi or with a Lan cable you can bring all of your games and saved data over to the PS5. This is not necessary but is a convenient way to bring over your games from before.
The PS5 UI is a beautiful combination of style and substance. Booting up the console after setting it up, seeing the stylized home screen with the tiny menu icons in the corner and the large bold backgrounds, it is hard not to get excited to use the console. Furthermore, it has never been easier to jump into the games you want to play through the console’s new Activity Cards; by hovering over the game you want to play on the Home screen or in the Quick Access bar, you can jump straight into a part of the game you want without formally starting the game up. For instance, I ended a play session of Demon Souls in this mining colony level, but was able to resume playing from the Prison of Hope level, all without actually booting the game up as I normally would and navigating to the new location.
To top it all off, the PS5 is backwards compatible with all of your PS4 games with, across the board improvements to load times and, in some cases, frame rates. This is the definitive way to play these games, and if you have friends who haven’t been able to make the generational jump, you can still play with them through cross play.
The redesigned PlayStation controller, the DualSense, is quite possibly the greatest controller I have ever used and that is no exaggeration. With the DualSense’s revolutionary haptics and rumble triggers, for the first time ever, I have found myself being immersed by the controller. In Astro’s Playroom I was able to feel the difference between running on a metallic surface and a grassy surface, the vibrations in the controller changing between hard rumbles, and softer more subtle ones. And while playing Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War, every gun has a distinct and identifiable feel––there is weight now behind raising the weapon on the left trigger, and resistance on the right trigger for every trigger pull. It is jarring at first but is hard to move away from after experiencing.
Even without the rumble features though, the DualSense shines. Sony took some notes from Microsoft in designing the shape of the controller, and now, the DualSense is even more ergonomic than the DualShock 4, resembling in many ways the Xbox controllers. While liking the former controller, it is hard to picture myself going back to it, with its oblong, overly rounded handles. The DualSense’s arched handles fit snugly into your palms, allowing quick reach to the controller’s buttons, sticks and touchpad. And if you’re not interested in the PS5 but want to use the controller, it can be connected to your PC too!
Whe the money came out of my account for the console, I was hit with two feelings: sadness to see such a large chunk of change go, and excitement because I was so close to playing the PS5. Now, having spent so much time with it, all I feel is constant excitement, just wanting to be back in and playing pretty much all the time. The console’s presentation and game performance are outstanding, and the controller is indescribable.
Despite all of these great things, one question remains: do you need to get a PS5 right now? And the answer to that question depends on the type of person you are and you’re financial situation.
If you are someone who likes to be the most up to date with your gaming hardware or constantly craves outstanding visuals, then you should obviously get this console. Also, if you are more focused about the gameplay experiences the console can provide, then I also suggest you get the console, because the controller is that good!
If you are someone who just enjoys playing games with your friends and doesn’t care too much about performance and fidelity though, then I think you can wait on getting the console. All of the games that you likely want to play––your Call of Dutys, NBA 2Ks, Cyberpunk 2077 and even the PlayStation exclusive, Spider-Man: Miles Morales––are available on the PS4 and most of the other last-generation consoles. At $500 for the console and $70 per game, it is a large investment.
In the end, if you decide you want to get the PlayStation 5 (and are able to actually secure one), you will not be disappointed. It is a complete, revolutionary package. If not, Sony and the other gaming companies will keep you satisfied until you’re ready to make the jump.