With the power to load games super fast, play exclusive titles, and boasting an eye-catching new look, Sony's new Playstation 5 aims to kickstart the future of gaming—as well as take on its chief rival, the Xbox Series X.
That futuristic focus clearly informs the overall PS5 design. Gone are the squared edges and plain black plastic form that Sony’s embraced since the PS2. Instead, wild curves replace flat edges, simultaneously turning heads but also making it difficult to fit into many entertainment centers.
When mounted upright, it’s far taller than any previous console that’s been released. When horizontally mounted, its long form seems to float in mid-air. Either way, when planning to find a home for it among an entertainment center, plan for the PS5 to take up more space than the average cable box.
That large footprint houses an abundance of power that gives the PS5 its impressive graphical prowess and upgraded speediness over the PS4. Raytracing and a locked-in 60fps were instantly noticeable, as the norms on the PS5 and loading times were completely mooted. Even when playing PS4 games, load times were noticeably diminished over previous experiences with the same game. There’s still much to see in terms of what the PS5 can actually do but, on initial inspection, this is a big advancement.
How PS5 handles games is as important as what games are here for it to handle. While Xbox has pushed their Game Pass Ultimate as a stand-in for a proper console launch lineup on the Xbox Series X, PS5’s backward compatibility with previously purchased games is nice, but does leave something to be desired, especially since Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Godfall and Sackboy: A Big Adventure are the only major PS5 exclusives that’ll be available at launch.
Make no mistake, other Sony exclusives (Spider-Man, Ghost of Tsushima, The Last of Us 2) are playable on PS5 but the ones that fully utilize the PS5’s power instead of just being playable on a PS5 will come at a premium. It’s a nitpick and there ARE big titles incoming like Horizon Forbidden West and Ghostwire: Tokyo but, for a launch of a console that’s being treated so thoroughly as next-gen, Sony's launch lineup feels a bit scant.
Thankfully, third party games are here to pick up the slack. With terrific series like Yakuza, Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed getting the next-gen treatment at launch and Cyberpunk 2077 following on their heels in December (barring any more delays), good games abound to put the PS5’s power on full display.
These games, as well as all of Playstation’s own exclusive lineup, are easily accessible on the revamped marketplace, seamlessly built into the PS5’s UI. This new UI and marketplace are an impressive feat in itself. Both are lightning quick and can switch from browsing through new games and then go right back to gameplay and it’s instantaneous.
Whether navigating the PS5’s UI or having a hardcore gaming session, the all-new DualSense controller offers up the best controller experience ever on a Playstation, period. Channeling the touchscreen and familiar configuration from the PS4, the new controller is more significant in every other sense.
It’s actually bigger, feels better in your hand, weighs enough to not feel like a cheap plastic toy and, when the force-feedback triggers kick in, creates a feeling that’s unique and more interactive than any video game rumble could ever hope to be.
The DualSense controller is also joined by several other accessories that will be available at launch on the PS5. That includes a Sony-branded wireless gaming headset that performed admirably in testing, a charging station that can handle two DualSense controllers simultaneously and a revamped PS Camera that adds personalization capabilities to the baked-in social streaming components of the PS5.
Sitting on the precipice of the PS5 launch, the new hardware truly is the culmination of a gaming heritage almost three decades old and an even longer history of Sony’s expertise in tech.
With so many fantastic games coming down the pipe and a deep back catalog of top-notch exclusives ready to play at launch, the Sony faithful will undoubtedly be fans of everything the Playstation 5 has to offer...if they can actually get their hands on one this holiday season.