By Patrick Young
The wait is over! The PS5 has arrived and it lives up to the hype!
This is the first time I have bought a console at launch, and it is exciting to join in on this conversation. The experience of simply using the console is a dream, the controller is a departure from the previous iterations but is undoubtedly the most next-gen component of the console, and the selection of games here to start off your next-generation journey are unbelievable.
Let’s not waste anymore time here, and press start.
Image of the PS5’s user interface, courtesy of VG247.com.
Players coming from the PS4, the Xbox One, or are entirely new to gaming are going to feel right at home with the PS5’s UI.
Taking the best elements of the PS3 and PS4’s interfaces, the PS5 is a stylish yet snappy console to use. The clutter of the previous interfaces with either too many icons causing information overload or inadequate layouts not showing enough of the pertinent have been entirely replaced. Neat icons in the upper left corner show your downloaded apps and games, as well as access to PlayStation’s other key services like PS Plus, PS Now and others. This new orientation allows for tons of screen space to show you that information that used to be missing like game details and your trophy statistics.
Sony has really doubled down on the way your games are presented to you. All your games, including your PS4 titles, now feature up-to-date playtime trackers just so you can feel bad about the many hours you put into Call of Duty over the years. The activities bar (the semi-home screen available mid-game) gives you tons of information from in-game statistics, to upcoming milestones, trophy progress and even tutorial videos for if you’re stuck. Not to mention, the time to boot up a game is just a couple seconds now—the days of waiting entire minutes are long gone!
The PS5’s DualSense controller. Image courtesy of Eurogamer.
Witness, the DualSense, the PS5’s revolutionary, literal game-changing controller.
I was skeptical about the departure from Sony’s trademark DualShock line of controllers; the black controller with its rounded handles and iconic colored buttons has been a staple of the brand for over 20 years. But I’m so happy to say that this was a risk well worth taking because in the few hours I’ve had with the controller, I have never felt anything quite like it.
The DualSense is a state-of-the-art controller, packed to the brim with all sorts of haptic motors and sensors. Simply running around in an open world is an entirely different experience as the player’s footsteps on different terrains can be felt in your palms. For instance, while running along a beach, every step of the player-character is met with a soft, yet gradually firm vibration in the controller simulating the contact of one’s foot with sand. Controllers have done similar rumble technology before to simulate these different locations, but have not quite reached this level of immersion.
What is perhaps the most impressive part of the controller though, are the triggers which also have haptic feedback. Depending on the scenarios you find yourself in, the resistance in the triggers may change. For example, while charging up a spring, the trigger became harder and harder to push in. This is definitely an aspect of the controller and the PS5 experience overall that you just have to try out yourself to really understand.
I have never been so immersed in a game just through a controller.
In what is arguably the greatest launch lineup ever assembled, gamers had tough decisions to make when shopping for their first PS5 games. With heavy hitters like Demon’s Souls and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, third-party titles like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War, and quieter but polished games like Sackboy: A Big Adventure, it was tough deciding what to buy! Not to mention the increased price in games, this new generation bumping the standard price from $60 to $70, potentially picking one game over another for the first time truly felt like you might miss out on something else.
I spent my first night with the PS5 playing 3 games: the PS5 pack-in and DualSense showcase, Astro’s Playroom; the remake of the cult classic and original Souls game, Demon’s Souls; and the unexpectedly tight and fun Little Big Planet spin-off, Sackboy: A Big Adventure.
It was an awesome first night to say the least.
Screenshot from Astro’s Playroom. Image by Patrick Young.
Never have I had so much fun with a game packaged with a console since sinking hours into Wii Sports over a decade ago. Astro’s Playroom is by no means this transcendent game that will make you run out to buy a PS5 (or try to anyways) like Wii Sports did back in the day. What this game will do though is take you on a cute yet smart platforming journey through PlayStation’s history while demonstrating the capabilities of the DualSense and the PS5 itself.
The game repeatedly puts you through scenarios that take full advantage of the controller and the increased power of the console. It is gorgeous and colorful, and packed full of easter eggs from PlayStation’s history as well cameos by characters from their biggest games. Controlling the little Astrobot is as fun as can be with tight controls, and bolstered by the never-before-seen tech inside the controller.
All I can say is please don’t overlook this game because it’s a pack-in with the console. It is worth checking out before you start off on your big gaming adventure!
Screenshot from Demon’s Souls. Image by Patrick Young.
The past decade gave rise to two trends: the allure of the difficult yet addicting gameplay loop of the Souls series, and the growing potential for remakes to surpass their original games. Bluepoint Games has worked with Sony for a long time now, helping port old PS2 games to the PS3 back in the day, and more recently 2016’s Shadow of the Colossus remake. Demon’s Souls is the culmination of their relationship with Sony, delivering the most beautiful game of this launch while remaining true to what made the original game so beloved.
The Souls series has a well-known formula: explore run-down, monster-infested areas, defeating them to gather souls to level yourself up, and ultimately find your way to the area’s boss to progress––and Demon’s Souls doesn’t break the mold, let’s make that clear. The difference here though is that this time around, adventuring in this world is the most immersive it has ever been thanks to the DualSense. From the weight of your sword swings, to just moving along different surfaces, this controller is really something else.
Demon’s Souls is a brilliant showcase of the new console generation’s graphical fidelity and the potential it has for rich and engrossing gameplay that will keep you coming back for hours. Honestly, all I want to do right now is jump back into the game, it’s that good.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure
Screenshot from Sackboy: A Big Adventure. Image courtesy of Game Informer.
Now, hearing about this game coming out, not featuring Little Big Planet in the title and moving away from the creation aspects that have made the series previously so popular worried me. I was fearful that this game was going to be some generic, filler launch game that was going to hurt the legacy of the Little BIg Planet franchise.
I’m so happy that I was wrong.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure is exactly what every console launch needs from its developer: a game that gets multiple people with controllers in their hands and a desire to just keep playing! Taking the charm of Sackboy and the linear level structures from Little Big Planet, A Big Adventure is the New Super Mario Bros. Wii for the PS5. The platforming is fun and bouncy, the levels are smart and beautiful to look at, the soundtrack is unbelievably good and you can grab your partner and throw them off the stage!. Not to mention, the same haptic effects that were prominent in Astro’s Playworld and Demon’s Souls can also be found here, making for a constantly stimulating experience.
To my surprise, this was the highlight of my first night with the PS5. I fear that in the list of all the great games released with the console, this one will sink into obscurity, but I know that whether it’s couch co-op or a friend of mine on a PS5 or PS4 of their own, we’re going to have a good time.
The PS5 has been everything I wanted it to be and more since turning it on. From the beauty of 4K gaming with high-dynamic range enabled, to the revolutionary feedback that comes with the DualSense, this console is truly next-gen. With all the incredible games that came out with it, and the promising lineup of games to come like God of War: Ragnarok, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Horizon II: Forbidden West, Final Fantasy XVI and pretty much every other multiplatform game, playing on the PlayStation 5 is the way to go. Although it is very large and will likely hog up most of the available space on your entertainment center, you can rest comfortably knowing that the investment is worth it.
Were you able to get your hands on a PS5? Are you enjoying it so far? What have you been playing? Let’s start a conversation here and beyond!