PlayStation 5 Review
Thanks to our friends at PlayStation Canada, we had the opportunity to review the PlayStation 5, as well as Sony’s first party launch lineup. Already a week past launch, we know that the system is one of the hottest items right now, so there’s no point in saving the conclusion for the end. The PlayStation 5 is a must buy, and probably the only next-generation system you need this year. Let’s dive in to this review and see why we think this system is the one to own!
There is a lot of power under the hood of the PS5. With 10.3 teraflops of power, the ability to do 4K and 120 FPS – with up to 8K support coming down the road – there is a lot for PlayStation fans to be excited about this generation. The internal 825 GB custom SSD doesn’t quite cut it in our opinion, especially since just over 600 GB is useable after taking into account the system UI. At launch, there is not ability to put in custom SSD drives to increases this amount, but that will be coming, and should alleviate our concern in this area.
The System is a Beast
If there is one thing I really don’t like about Sony’s latest system, it most definitely is how big the dang thing is. It barely fits in my IKEA cabinet that we’ve owned for a few years now, and it’s a good thing too. My wife is not about to have video game consoles strewn about the top of the entertainment stand!
But while big, it looks the part of a next generation console, much more than others have in the past. It’s a bold new step for Sony, migrating away from the traditional black, and opting for a white body instead, accented by subtle lighting and a black core. It looks impressive, and it is impressive.
Whether you stand the console up, or lay it down, the included stand will keep it fairly steady. We noticed a bit of wobble when laying the console horizontal, but not enough for us to worry about it. When horizontal, the disc drive does sit tucked away near the bottom of the console, and it can be a bit trickier for younger members of the family to slide a disc into the slot without bumping it on the consoles front a few times. I like that it’s tucked away out of site when you quickly glance over, but I do wonder how many discs my kids have now ruined.
The system also has readly available USB-A (two on the back, one on the front) as well as a USB-C on the front.
The only other unfortunate aspect of the consoles physical attributes are the power and disc eject buttons. Both are black, set into the black core of the console. They are different sizes, however, so it does aid in remembering. Still, until then, memorizing which-is-which, you could be pressing either one and causing yourself some major headaches. Even as I sit here writing this review, without going downstairs to actually engage with the system, I can’t actually tell you which button turns off the PS5, and which ejects the disc!
The Crème de la Crèmee of Controllers
Everything you’ve read about the Dual Sense controller is 100% true, and that is no exaggeration. I’m definitely the kind of person who quickly becomes cynical of hearing and reading the same thing over and over again, and to be fair, I probably entered this review with an initial dislike for the controller, even though I had never used one.
The best controller ever made? Give me a break…
Turns out, everyone was right, and I was very, very wrong. The controller uses the traditional side-by-side thumbstick setup, and as someone who has come over from years and years of being an Xbox guy, it definitely took time to get use to. But even while I was learning the ropes of a new controller layout, the quality of what was in my hands was in no doubt. It’s a sturdy controller, and fits the contours of my hand quite nicely. The triggers feel amazing.
When enabled – as the PS5 is incredibly user and accessibility friendly, and these an other features can be turned off – haptic feedback and adaptive triggers are game changing, and this was highlighted by our few hours with Astro’s Playroom. Using the triggers to load up our springy Astro was phenomenal – as you pulled the triggers, it really does feel like you are compressing a spring. When walking on different terrains – sand, metal, shallow water, the feedback is instant and impressive. As to are the weather effects we experienced when playing in wind, rain, and hail. Although we haven’t been able to enjoy our PS5 with lots of friends due to the current climate, the few folks who have been over are HIGHLY impressed with the controller. And yes, I’m talking about life long Xbox and PC fans here…
There are other great features in the Dual Sense controller that I wouldn’t have expected before it was announced, but can’t live without now. Most importantly, the build in microphone. Although it isn’t quite as effective as a stand mic (for streaming) or even a headset mic for gaming, it’s more than adequate for someone who often cannot use headsets and microphones because of young children I need to listen for at night. Being able to quickly chat or send audio messages to friends was fantastic, and greatly appreciated. The microphone also serves as a game mechanic option should developers choose to use it. In Astro’s Playroom, for example, you can blow into the microphone to activate certain areas of a level.
Once again, the downside for me to the PS5 Dual Sense controller is less about how it feels and works, and more so how it looks. This things is white, and like the console, is a 180 from what the company has traditionally done. White looks amazing, it really does. It’s classy, it fits into the theming of our family room, and ultimately doesn’t look out of place even when placed to the side of the TV. But it’s going to – and already has – get really dirty. And that’s just an unfortunate reality. You can’t have everything, I guess.
Brand New UI for a Brand New Generation
Brand new might be a tad of a stretch. Some of the better UI features from the PS4 have made it to the PS5, but this whole process of navigating menus still feels new and fresh. The system still splices out your media entertainment options – 4K Blu Ray, Netflix, Disney+, etc – into it’s own media tab, while keeping all your games nicely stored in their own space. But there has been an overhaul. Quickly snapping from one game to another via Switcher can now be done with a few clicks of a button, as opposed to returning all the way to the main screen to select a new game. I thought this would be a cool, but little used feature. Turns out, I like to jump between games a lot!
The other brand new inclusion is Activity Cards, which display when pressing the PlayStation button and highlight various trophies you might be close to obtaining. There is also the ability to click on a card and jump to a specific section of a game, which was incredibly impressive with Astro’s Playroom, although less impressive in games like Miles Morales; that being said, this seemed to be for obvious reasons as Miles Morales has a specific flow where as Astro’s Playroom is a collection of individual levels that are meant to be accessed in this particular way. It is still a great way to see what trophies you are soon going to accomplish, and if developers use it, can be a great way to jump around games.
There has also been an overhaul to the create menu, which will allow you to quickly create screenshots, videos, or even go live with specific games. It feels much snappier than it did on the PS4, which could potentially be attributed to the better speeds we are seeing across all aspects of the PS5 – games, UI, etc.
There is no doubt in my mind that the PS5 is built on some impressive tech. And as developers leverage the many benefits here, games will only get better. With two consoles launching this November, it’s hard to decide which to buy. For many it will come down to personal preference, but for those without a preference, I’d argue until I’m blue in the face that the PS5 is the best next generation console right now.
A PlayStation 5 retail product were provided for this review by Sony Interactive Entertainment.