PS5 Review – Best For True Gamers

The PS5 is Sony’s most recent console, and it focuses on delivering the most cutting-edge video game tech. There’s a lot to like about the PS5: it improves game resolutions, boosts overall performance, and reduces (or eliminates) loading times. That’s before we get to the DualSense controller, which is a unique feature of the console.

The launch of superb PS5 exclusives dominated the console’s first year and given the looks of the planned PS5 games for 2022 and beyond, that trend is expected to continue. Of course, merchants are still having trouble restocking PS5s, so if you’re looking for one before the holidays, you might be out of luck.

We’ve got you covered, whether you’re seeking to buy a PS5, already own one, or simply want to learn more about Sony’s new PlayStation 5 console.

From the PS5 price – $499 for the basic PS5, $399 for the Digital Edition – to all the secrets of the PS5 design, and which PS5 accessories you’ll want to add to the cart before you check out, we’ve got you covered.

The PS5’s first year was marked by exclusivity and elusive. Rather than coasting on the success of its launch games, such as Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Sony has proceeded to offer a slew of fantastic exclusive titles that have just added to the agony of trying to buy a PS5.

Returnal, Housemarque’s unique and inventive take on the roguelike genre, joined launch games like the Demon’s Souls reboot just a few months after Christmas. It may not be everyone’s game of tea, but it served as a great early reminder of the PS5’s technological and graphical possibilities.

Ratchet and Clank: A Rift Apart performed the same thing, thrilling us with the gleaming Clanks and no loading screens. The wonderful Pixar-Esque Kena: Bridge of Spirits followed. Arkane’s most recent work was another critically lauded masterwork, putting us in a murder box and asking us to find out how to kill eight targets in one day.

You discover more about its bizarre little world of the rich and irresponsible as time loops. Quite the game, and quite the boon for the PS5’s first year, especially since Arkane’s parent firm Bethesda is now controlled by rival console maker Microsoft, a deal that closed in March and has since come to define the Xbox Series X’s first year.

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With Death Stranding and Ghost of Tsushima, even re-release Director’s Cuts have served to highlight some of the wonderful exclusive experiences that the PS5 has to offer, with additional content and gameplay elements that make even repeating these games worthwhile.

Despite the debut of the great Psychonauts 2, the Xbox Series X has suffered a little more with the allure of exclusives. Instead, the Series X has flourished through Game Pass, ensuring that its players have a continual stream of exciting and fresh titles to play each month as part of their monthly subscription – which is one area where PlayStation falls short.

So it’s been a year focused on software on both sides, though the PS5 user interface hasn’t been without flaws. Even after a year of fumbling, I still can’t wrap my head around the concept that the PlayStation button on the controller operates in the opposite direction as the PS4, and I doubt I ever will. But, more crucially, the UI did an outstanding job of screwing up how people’s digital games were delivered.

Although an update has subsequently corrected the problem, making it apparent which version of a game you have loaded, many customers have been receiving the PS4 version of their cross-gen game bundles without even noticing it for months.

Other upgrades have added much-needed new functionality, such as the ability to add a second internal M.2 SSD for storing additional PS5 games on the machine. The best PS5 SSDs aren’t cheap, but they’re a terrific way to enhance the PS5’s internal storage, which is limited to 825GB.

Other major changes included adding support for Sony’s 3D Audio to your TV, as well as lesser changes such as the ability to conceal the annoying screenshot captured’ prompt that ruined many a magical moment. I still believe the UI should be improved – and not just the dreaded PlayStation button shortcuts.

For example, I miss PS4 themes and believe that a bit more personalization for the PS5 home screen would be beneficial. Furthermore, the Guides feature, which was heavily promoted before launch, has been significantly underutilized, owing to the need for developer contribution to make it work effectively.

However, the hardware has remained largely unchanged, except for some new colorways for the DualSense controller, which includes a tempting black controller that hints at what a black PS5 may have been. It’s still a machine with a design that some would describe as “only a mother could love,” but I still enjoy it for all of its curves and massive size.

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It’s not subtle, but it’s distinctive, and in a sea of black boxes, I think that’s quite cool. The DualSense controller for the PS5 is still the crown jewel of Sony’s design selections a year later. So many games, both first-party and third-party, have made extensive use of the DualSense’s features, such as haptic feedback and adjustable triggers, that it feels broken when a game fails to do so. Even the internal microphone on the DualSense has proven to be a useful feature for spontaneous multiplayer matches.

However, there is one major stipulation: you must own a PlayStation 5. Trying to discover any news about PS5 stock in the 12 months following launch, as well as the months before that, has been difficult.

A simple purchase has become an epic quest due to global chip shortages, online waiting queues, 3 a.m. stock decreases, and a substantial increase in scalpers. It’s improving, but it’s still a long way from becoming a ‘Click to add to basket’ task.

Fortunately, the wait and the mission are both worthwhile. Sony’s latest console is a fantastic machine with games that match its specifications. That’s only going to get better from here, with highly anticipated PS5 games like God of War: Ragnarok and Horizon: Forbidden West due out in 2022.

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Original Review

PlayStation®5 | Play Has No Limits | PlayStation

Change is the term that best describes the next generation of PlayStation consoles. In many aspects, the PS5 represents a significant transition in the PlayStation brand, notably in terms of design aesthetics and messaging. While the Xbox Series X (and, for that matter, the Xbox Series S) deliver iteration on an established concept, the PS5 represents a significant shift in PlayStation gameplay.

It’s a combination of software and hardware evolution and fine-tuning, all while ensuring that games remain the core product. The UI and hardware then spread out more features and functionality around you like a futuristic command deck.

The PS5 is the final step in a journey that began with the PS4. Coming off the heels of a shaky PS3 generation, the PS4 came with a clear message: it was a console built ‘For the Players.’ Over the next seven years, PlayStation worked tirelessly to ensure that the PS4 lived up to that credo, delivering a steady stream of top-tier exclusives and excellent partnerships, all on a console that allows players to create, share, and be entertained.

It hasn’t always been smooth sailing when it comes to tech and gaming, but there’s no denying the PS4 hasn’t lived up to its hype.

With the PS5, Sony is changing its tagline from ‘For the Players’ to ‘Play Has No Limits,’ building on the PS4’s legacy as the genuine home of console exclusives. This idea of breaking down boundaries between gamers and games has now become a recurring motif in both PlayStation and Xbox’s new generation of console gaming.

But these new consoles are about more than just slashing loading times and enabling greater resolutions and framerates. It’s also about how they’re presented and how easily they’re accessible from the time you turn them on.

What PlayStation is doing with the PS5 is new, fresh, and exciting, all while ensuring the core player base in mind. Although the new generation of PlayStation is just getting started, every aspect of what is presently available is a confident promise of a bright future.

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PS5 HARDWARE AND DESIGN

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It all starts with the design. With just one look at the PS5, it’s clear that this sultry alien beast is unlike anything PlayStation has done before. We’re no longer talking about a console that fits neatly between your Blu-Ray player and set-top boxes in your TV media unit. The PS5 design is new, fresh, and exciting, yet it’s a massive hunk of a console that many people will struggle to enjoy, let alone fit into their existing TV setup.

Although the stand can be positioned horizontally, it looks best when it is positioned vertically. This, as well as the Xbox Series X, is more akin to living room PCs than typical console consoles. I’d never lay my gaming PC on its side, and I believe the same is true for both next-generation devices.

These consoles have been enlarged larger to allow for greater ventilation and larger fans, which should (hopefully) prevent the PS5 from sounding like a jet engine in the future, as my launch PS4 Pro currently does.

The PS5 is now silent – except for the whirrs of a disc spinning if you bought a physical copy – and has never become hot to the touch, even after extended gaming sessions. Just make sure there’s enough room for air circulation to keep it that way.

The PS5 practically screams for your attention, whereas the Xbox Series X is more of a subtle matte black 2001 Space Odyssey monolith that just hums away in the background – the Xbox logo glowing with power, and the subtle green hue of the fan vents only calling to you from certain angles – the Xbox logo glowing with power and the subtle green hue of the fan vents only calling to you from certain angles.

It’s massive — my rough measurements put it at 400mm x 104mm x 280mm all-in standing upright – but it’s stunning. Even in a pitch-black environment, the delicate LED illumination surrounding the fins shines softly while you play, and it’s a great conversation starter. Whatever you think, I guarantee it looks better in person than it does in press photos.

The white areas of the console have a roughness to them, and the finish has a shimmer to it, so it’s not quite as bright white as the photographs show. The matte white fins contrast beautifully with the glossy black midsection. It has an oddly elegant quality to it.

The outward design, however, is only one part of the hardware considerations. A USB-C and normal USB connector, as well as slim pill-shaped buttons for turning the console on and ejecting a disc, are located on the front black panel.

Two USB ports, an HDMI 2.1 out (supporting new tech like variable frame rate, automated low latency mode, and 120Hz – assuming you have the correct TV), power, and an Ethernet connector are all located on the rear. The PS5 supports Wi-Fi 6, which is a strong sign for its ability to be future-proof in terms of connectivity, and it outperforms the Xbox Series X in this regard, as Microsoft’s console only supports Wi-Fi 5.

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That means the Xbox Series X’s Wi-Fi networking will be limited to a maximum download speed of 6.9 gigabits per second, whereas the PS5’s Wi-Fi 6 improves that to 9.6 gigabits per second.

Aside from the physical specifications, there’s an 825GB SSD for storing all of your games on the inside. Unfortunately, only 667.2GB of that is useable, as the operating system, system settings, and other items – including the wonderful Astro’s Playroom – take up a significant amount of space.

Thankfully, you can plug your storage by connecting an external hard drive, and if you connect your PS4 external hard drive to your PS5, all of your games will automatically operate and be ready to plug. Regardless of storage capacity, the internal SSD is quick, with games booting up in seconds.

Goodbye Twitter browsing or making a cup of tea while you wait for your games to load. Surprisingly, the PS5 will only allow external SSD/HDD drives for installing PS4 games at launch, rather than PS5 titles.

The ability to upgrade the internal SSD storage through normal stick-shaped M.2 SSDs is likewise disabled for the time being, according to PlayStation, and will be available in a “future update.” As the months pass and people’s games outgrow the console’s storage capacity, this will be something to keep an eye on.

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PS5 CONTROLLER

DualSense wireless controller | The innovative new controller for PS5 |  PlayStation

Regardless of your feelings about the console’s look, there’s little to dislike about the DualSense controller that comes with it. It’s almost unbelievable that a controller can define a console, but the DualSense does exactly that with the PS5.

It’s easy to dismiss the new features that have been promoted as gimmicks – notably haptic feedback and adaptable triggers – until you receive one in your hands. Haptic feedback isn’t new, and it’s difficult to predict how successful adaptive triggers will be until you try them out.

However, after spending time with DualSense, I can see why the PS5 is such a departure from previous consoles.

Give Astro’s Playroom a try before you do anything else with your PS5. It comes pre-installed on your PS5 and is the best demonstration of the complexities of both major controller technologies. Whether it’s the glug of a muddy bog or the clattering of robotic legs on sheet metal, you’ll feel all of the surfaces that your small bot walks across via haptic feedback through the controller itself.

It also brings the planet to life, particularly in terms of weather. Hail pelts the pad, lightning strikes recur, and the haptics and built-in mic bring the wind to life. One chilly breeze was so real that I had to press my face against the pad to see whether the air was coming through the controller itself. It’s a truly immersive experience.

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The DualSense also impresses with its adaptable triggers, which may restrict resistance and travel in R2 and L2. A gachapon machine can be found in Astro’s Playroom, where you must pull down a lever to release the balls inside.

As you press down on the left trigger, you can feel the resistance of the metal grip, and then you can temper your press of the right trigger to crush a ball in your robotic hand. Your small bot is also given a bow and arrow, which you can use to feel the tension in the bowstring as you pull it back.

It may appear overpowering at first, and it is, primarily because it is so different from anything we’ve experienced previously. The combination of the built-in speaker, haptics, and adjustable triggers creates a physically immersive gaming experience.

The DualSense is a true ‘game-changer,’ allowing you to build a genuine connection with what you’re seeing on screen and experiencing through the pad in your hands. You can also reduce the strength of certain components in the options if it becomes too much.

However, only time will tell how often these features are used by cross-platform developers. From what I’ve seen so far, each developer in this launch window has made the most of each capability, and it’s been fascinating to see DualSense technology implemented in a variety of genres.

It was a delight to discover the clickety-clack of subway tracks as Miles rides about New York on the title screen of Spider-Man: Miles Morales, with the haptics in-game adding to the sense of speed you’ll receive as you swing around NYC.

But it’s not just the technology within the DualSense that makes it so popular; it’s also the design. Overall, it’s a lot bigger than the DualShock 4 pad on the PS4, with far better ergonomics and a nice light textured grip on the back – albeit those PlayStation emblem Easter eggs are extremely tiny.

Everything familiar, from the shoulder buttons to the trackpad, is a little larger this time around, making the DualSense a lot more comfortable fit in your hands than the DualShock 4. (which now has a soft matte finish).

The analog sticks haven’t altered much in terms of appearance or functionality, although they now have a little more grip around the rim. The clear plastic finish on the D-Pad and face buttons, in particular, adds a touch of sophistication to the overall design.

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The choices button is still there, but the Share button has been renamed to Create, and it now allows a lot more flexibility in terms of screenshots, game capture, content sharing, and streaming. There are a lot of options there as well, with personalization available through the settings menu, so be prepared to fiddle about a little to get your Create button to work the way you want it to.

The PS5 pad even has a mic built-in, which can be utilized for instant party conversation or broadcasting without a mic, as well as interacting with games. Thankfully, there’s a handy mute button right on the controller for filtering out anyone who might be listening, or you can hold it down to totally mute all audio – great if you suddenly need some silence.

To be honest, the only issue I’ve had with the controller is that it’s rather picky about which chargers it prefers. Charging via the PS5 is ideal, however, charging via a phone or laptop charger from the wall is significantly more fickle.

It’ll just be a matter of figuring out which cables work best for you because the DualSense is an excellent pad that elevates PlayStation gaming to new heights.

PS5 USER INTERFACE

PS5 user interface revealed - Polygon

UI experience comes with the PS5 since it is the most customizable PlayStation UI ever. It resembles an extension of the current PS4 UI in that it retains some of the presentations but divides it into much more user-friendly groups. The media apps have been relegated to a separate section of the PS5 home UI, leaving the core of the UI dedicated solely to your games.

This makes everything much easier to navigate, especially if you’re a frequent PS5 player. Each of your games has its dedicated place, similar to the Xbox UI, where you can find things like the trophy page, popular broadcasts, additional material, and more. This part is the most identical to what any PS4 owner is used to, and it can be accessible at any time by pressing the PlayStation button on the controller long enough.

The menu reached via a brief press of the PS button, on the other hand, modifies the UI in a variety of ways. This is the Control Centre, which provides contextual information based on what you’re doing on your PS5 at any given time. It may provide you immediate access to things like your alerts, friends lists (complete with quick launch for parties), music, your mic, controller information, and more, and it’s highly customizable.

There’s even a Switcher section right next to the home button that allows you to quickly switch between recently played games. Although games aren’t held in suspension like they are on the Xbox Series X, the speed with which they start – even from disc or external SSD – will fool you into thinking they are.

But, more crucially, it will provide information about what you’re doing in-game. These small Activities cards appear in the form of colorful tourism board signs, directing you to your next prize, recent screenshots, or additional information about the assignment you’re presently working on. It’ll even allow you to switch to a different in-game activity if you choose.

These Activities cards will also appear in each game hub, acting as a form of Quick Resume, returning you to the task or a connected area in a matter of seconds. It’s truly remarkable technology, zipping you right through loading windows and menus.

Everything you want from the PS5 UI is suddenly always within reach. There’s a settings menu for diving deeper into individual components, but you’ll quickly discover that everything you need — and more – is just a button press or two away.

Because it’s all contextual, you’ll never be forced to watch something you don’t want to see, and you might even learn something along the way. These activity cards’ built-in guides have even gotten me out of a bind on a few occasions.

The UI on the PS5 seems truly next-generation the moment you turn it on for the first time. Going back to the PS4 makes that familiar area feel congested and muted since its presentation has clarity and simplicity to it that feels extremely minimalistic. This total overhaul is a clean, quick, and much-appreciated addition to the PS5 experience.

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PS5 PLAYSTATION PLUS

Two free games per console is returning to PlayStation Plus members again |  TechSpot

PlayStation Plus has undergone some changes with PS5. When it comes to multiplayer and free monthly games, everything remains the same as before, but now you can play games from the PS Plus Collection. This is a fantastic package of some of the best PS4 games available, only for PS5 owners who subscribe to PlayStation Plus.

Days Gone and God of War are PlayStation exclusives, while Fallout 4 and Resident Evil 7 are significant third-party titles. Some of them will also receive free PS5 upgrades, which will include features such as 60fps framerates and dynamic 4K graphics.

It may not be quite the same as Xbox Game Pass’s selection of titles, but it is a significant perk for those considering a PS5 right now, and it appears that games will rotate in and out over time, just as the greatest Xbox Game Pass games do.

The controller’s built-in mic is another cause to laud its virtues. Apart from blowing into it to solve Astro’s Playroom riddles, it may also be used for online party conversations with friends and strangers.

The mic and speaker are of incredible quality, allowing you to jump into chat without having to reach for a headset, which feels like yet another huge benefit for PlayStation gamers looking to get more involved in online multiplayer or simply an easier way to connect with their friends while playing.

It’s quick, easy, and possible to share your screen, just speak, or get right into a game together without any additional tech.

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PS5 GAMES

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This leads us perfectly to the reason you’re reading this in the first place: the games. While we haven’t gotten access to the entire PS5 launch game lineup, I’ve spent a lot of time with Astro’s Playroom and Spider-Man: Miles Morales to see what the PS5 graphics have to offer.

Astro’s Playroom is mostly notable for showcasing the DualSense, but it’s also a lovely game in its own right, in its colorful, cartoonish style.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a great pleasure, and it’s here that the PS5’s attraction begins to separate itself from the Xbox Series X. While Miles Morales is playable on PS4, it was designed for the PS5 and serves as a showcase for the system’s capabilities.

Running up the side of a skyscraper and having New York mirrored back to you using ray tracing is an incredible experience, not to mention the snow technology that transforms sunny NYC into a winter wonderland throughout the game. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, yet the loading screens are so quick that you might miss them if you blink.

Even having a core launch game like this makes the PS5 feel like a true leap from the PS4 — a true demonstration of next-generation PlayStation gaming’s capabilities. And, with more on the coming, including the PS5-exclusive Demon’s Souls Remake, the PS5’s more traditional launch means there’s a lot more reason to buy it now than there is for the Xbox Series X.

Without a showcase launch title to call its own, as our own Josh points out in his Xbox Series X review, there isn’t much that shows off what the Series X is truly capable of.

Some titles have been optimized for these new consoles, such as Days Gone, to include some of the benefits of switching to the next generation, such as improved resolutions and framerates, as well as the removal of lengthy load times.

These are excellent ways to dive into games you already know and love – or want to catch up on – but nothing beats a launch game to pique your interest in a new console and get you excited for what’s to come in the years ahead.

COMPATIBILITY WITH PS5 BACKWARDS

Thankfully, despite some reservations, it’s quite simple to access advantage of PS5 backward compatibility. Do you have a PS4 external hard disk full of games? Simply plug it in and start playing. You can also use a Wi-Fi connection between the two consoles to transfer everything.

But, even if you wish to start over, you can be certain that your entire game library is available for download in your Game Library. All of your PS4 games are listed there, exactly as they were on PS4. You can also filter by platform, which is useful for separating your PS3 games from your sparkling new PS5 games.

If you do choose for an external hard drive, you can enable all PS4 games to automatically download to it, rather than wasting valuable internal storage space that could be better used for PS5 or PS5-optimized games that would fully utilize that super-fast SSD.

It’s heartening to see PS5 backward compatibility integrated so effortlessly into the UI and your library, especially given how hazy the early information on the matter was. PlayStation has finally caught up to Xbox in terms of ensuring that you can still play the games you bought on PS4 and PS3 despite the hardware access.

PS5 SETUP

Another plus is that the PS5 is quite simple to set up. When you take your big boy out of the box, putting the stand together is a breeze — whether you’re on team vertical or horizontal. Then all you have to do is follow the instructions, which include questions about how you prefer to play (such as switching between several privacy profiles to limit who you can communicate with) and what power settings you want to utilize.

What matters most from an accessibility standpoint is that the screen reader (audio description) be turned on by default the first time you turn on the PS5. It’s possible to turn it off in the settings, but the fact that it’s enabled by default is a nice touch for recognizing a wider range of gamers right away.

You’re set up once you’ve checked in with your PlayStation account (with the inevitable day one upgrade, of course).

It’s only a matter of waiting for your games to download and watching Astro’s Playroom while you wait. Take some time to fiddle around with the settings menu and the control center’s customization choices, as it’s a lot of fun to be able to tune and prod various aspects of the PS5 until they’re just right for the way you want to play.

There’s even a menu for game presets in the settings, so you can always start new games with your preferred settings – from the default game difficulty to whether you want to use Performance Mode or Resolution Mode. If a game has an in-game option for it, there’s even a toggle for whether you prefer first- or third-person views.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON PS5

The PS5 is already performing admirably. PlayStation has unlocked the next generation of gaming by risking a total redesign of its hardware, controller, and key UI features.

While increased graphics and framerates are unquestionably beneficial – and something we’ll undoubtedly see evolves in the following years – it’s the improvements to gaming immersion that truly characterize the generational jump.

Say goodbye to loading screens and hello to instant access to more information about your games. There are a slew of quality-of-life enhancements here, all wrapped up in a console that looks and feels like the future – even if the design isn’t for everyone.

PlayStation’s decision to go with a more traditional console launch over Microsoft’s has also paid off handsomely. It’s a tremendous help to be able to point to games as clear launch titles when displaying what the PS5 can achieve. I’m already amazed, and this is only the beginning.

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