Right from the outset we have to acknowledge just how big a deal 2020 is to console gamers. New hardware from Microsoft and Sony, new game titles coming and wow, what a Christmas we’ve got ready. Which is what makes this PS5 Review so important.
Tens of thousands of Aussies have pre-ordered a PS5, many will get them this week, others will have to wait. Those that are forced to wait will be watching on as everyone else gets to taste the future, while they sit back and enjoy solid PS4 gaming.
No fear, when you pickup the PS5 Dual Sense controller for the first time, be that this week or next year, you’ll still be blown away by the experience.
I don’t really remember a previous next-gen console release where like in this PS5 Review I’ve had to focus on or highlight the design. Sure it’s important, but with the PS5 it’s the elephant in the room.
What a strange old design they’ve gone for here. The Original PS3 was a bit out there, like an oval shaped space ship, but still squared off at the ends and uniform in it’s curves.
The PS5 is radical. It’s inner body surrounded by an almost floating outer housing. It’s grown on me, fast.
Now fortunately mine can be tucked away into the entertainment unit slot where such things should live – replacing the PS4 Pro that was there. The same can not be said for the Xbox Series X
But I think most PS5 owners will put this out, standing proudly near or next to their TV. You want people to KNOW you own a PS5 when they walk into the home, or when they zoom into the background of your Instagram photos. This is the status symbol of 2020.
On startup, immediately you notice this is fresh, this is new.
I think only the settings menu seemed the “same” to me, though in a grey/brown kinda colour instead of what I would call PS4 Blue.
While the home screen isn’t radical, it sure is new and different. A similar up/down and left/right layout, but fresher, and it works, works well.
Highlighting the content, minimising the small stuff like settings.
For me the biggest change is in-game when you hit that PS button.
No longer are you taken home, now, your game is paused in front of you, some tiles relevant to the game you’re playing appear and a small set of icons appear along the bottom of screen which are more like those from the old home screen, including a HOME to get back to that home screen.
I like it, a lot. This has been done well, and with the gamer in mind.
Game Load times
Just like the team down the road at Microsoft, this PS5 is future proofed and frankly brought into the current day with SSD storage as standard. Your game load times are dramatically reduced.
This improves the experience of gaming, but again – as I’ve said in my Xbox review, it doesn’t change the fact that your games will need massive updates from time to time – If I was Sony or Microsoft, I’d be working hard on delta upgrades that dramatically reduce these download sizes and thus times.
But that’s a distraction from the feature here which is SSD storage and dramatically faster load times – a big tick.
The DualSense controller for PS5
I’ve kinda saved the best for last here – because this is without question Sony’s finest work.
Not content with building a beast of a device with the PS5 itself, packed with the latest graphics, storage and overall hardware tech.
They sat back and thought “how can we improve the gameplay experience”- someone (who deserves a massive bonus) said “let’s redesign the controller – from the ground up”.
And they did. This “looks” like a Playstation controller, but only a bit. In every way it’s new. It feels great in the hand, rough back makes for great grip, the parts look like they come together like a space suit (perhaps inspired by Astro in PS5’s Astros playground), but then – then you turn it on.
Astro’s Playground was designed by Sony as a game not just to experience the PS5 and the Playstation universe, but to make the absolute most of the PS5 DualSense controller.
Are you one of those people who leans into corners in racing games? Who ducks and dives with your hands in arcade games?
The PS5 DualSense controller hears you. It can work like that. Full motion gyroscope means games can be built to utilise the movement in any direction of the controller – and it’s great.
That touchpad between both thumb controls – that’s now not just a button or a sensitive surface, it’s a multi-touch interface which can be used as part of gaming as well. This is going to open up some crazy potential with PS5 games.
And then there’s the vibrations. Not one level, not two, it feels like they are able to make all the different areas of the controller move and shake in ways I’ve never felt before, it’s amazing and really engaging.
But wait – there’s more. Yep, each and every one of those things is one up on the competition, so there’s huge points being scored here. But then there’s the triggers.
The trigger response is adaptive. The game can program a friction to make the trigger harder to pull. Or even a frictionless zone then a a hard friction zone – like on a DSLR when you half press the shutter to focus, then press down to shoot.
I can only imagine how this can be used in games. For me, I imagine a game where I’m a sniper and I choose the half press to be scope and full press fire, or half press is hold breath full press fire. Who knows.
Whatever the case, the controller alone is a reason to upgrade.
What’s to Love about the PS5
The design grows on you fast, and you’ll love showing off that you have one.
Astro’s Playground is awesome clean fun for the whole family, while Spider Man Miles Morales is a bunch of fun that really immerses you into his world.
For me, as I’ve clearly said above, the controller is what you’ll love the most.
What’s Disappointing about the PS5
Not much to be honest. It’s bloody enormous to be fair, but I guess, that’s life with a next generation console.
I have little doubt that a smaller version will come out in 2022 or something with a similar shape but smaller form factor, just like the PS3 Slim did two generations ago.
The stand that comes with it is clunky and doesn’t actually attach when in the lying down position, which means if you ever need to take the PS5 out and put it back in you’ve got to fumble around with that. But I’m being really picky.
Should I buy a PS5?
More than ever before, the PS5 is a step up from the past. Sure every generation is more powerful, more capable, better graphics yada yada yada. But in reality, most of that is realised through new game releases over time, and the need to buy a brand new TV.
I’ve got an $11,000 Samsung Q950 TV to play this on, but honestly, a Kogan 40 incher would still give me the same joy because it’s the feeling of the game that has changed the most with this PS5 DualSense controller. And I love it.
I’d have this at the top of my list for Christmas – if you can find one.