After years of rumours, speculation, leaks, and teases, the Playstation 5 is out. But the real question: is it worth the $499 price tag?
The short answer is: yes, if you can find one. The console is sold out practically everywhere, and with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s unsure when new editions will be in stock. But if you can get your hands on one, the PS5 is not only a strong upgrade, building on what the Playstation 4 and Playstation 4 Pro did successfully, it’s a complete next generation reinvention of the Playstation branding.
In terms of power, both the PS5 Disc Edition and the PS5 Digital Edition have an 8-core, 3.5 GHz CPU and a 10.3 Teraflop GPU. For comparison, the PS4 and PS4 Pro both featured a similar 8-core CPU, but had a 1.8 Teraflop and 4.2 Teraflop GPU respectively, so the PS5 is a large graphical upgrade to the previous generation. It can play at up to an 8K resolution up to 120 frames per second. The PS5 Disc Edition has the ability to play 4K Ultra High Definition Blu-rays. Both the CPU and the GPU are slightly less powerful than the Xbox Series X, but the difference is not notable, especially this early on in the console generation.
While the Xbox Series X is more powerful, the PS5 has two things going for it that the Xbox doesn’t: its controller and its game library.
The PS5 comes with a new controller: the DualSense. The Dualsense is the first video game controller I’ve used in a long time that feels legitimately innovative. The DualSense is a complete and total reinvention of the Dualshock, Sony’s long running Playstation controller style. It features haptic feedback vibrations, which are used to build immersion. The triggers of the controller are also called “Adaptive Triggers” which are able to do a variety of things, such as pushing back like a trigger of a gun would when in use. When playing Spider-Man Remastered, the triggers push back against you as you web swing, forcing you to wrestle with wind resistance as you swing.
The DualSense is a complete game changer, but it’s difficult to describe. It’s loaded with cool features, but it will be up to developers to utilize. When I played Astro’s Playroom, a 3D platformer designed to show off the DualSense, it was used brilliantly. For example, at one point I stepped in mud and I was so immersed that I looked down to make sure that my hands weren’t covered in mud. But again, Astro’s Playroom is designed to show off the DualSense, so that doesn’t mean that every game will effectively utilize the DualSense to its full potential. But for now, it’s a stellar first impression.
So far I’ve played three games on PS5. The aforementioned Astro’s Playroom, which is a delightful romp absolutely loaded with easter eggs, cameos, and references to Playstation’s history. The game is short, it took me maybe four hours to complete, but it was well worth the time I spent playing it, and I would strongly recommend that anyone who gets a PS5 start here, especially because it comes pre-installed on the system.
Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered plays wonderfully and feels like a legitimate remaster of what was already a phenomenal game. The utilization of the DualSense combined with the large graphical upgrades makes it feel like a whole new game. And because the PS5 used a custom SSD hard drive, the lengthy loading times from the first game are no longer present. The original, running on my PS4, would take around three minutes to boot up. The remaster, running on PS5, took 9 seconds.
Lastly, I played Bugsnax, the game that has the internet abuzz. A charming game set on Snacktooth Island where you catch “Bugsnax” to feed to the people of Snacktooth Island, the game is cute, fun, and utilizes the DualSense controller very well. I’ve heard some people online complaining that this doesn’t feel “next gen” enough, which is just silly. Bugsnax is a cartoonish game with a silly premise. It’s not meant to be a technical showcase, it’s meant to just be a fun game.
While I enjoyed these games, this is where I ran into my first issue with the console: as video games become larger, there’s less storage available. The PS5 utilizes a custom SSD hard drive to play games, and while that SSD is impressive, it only offers 825 GigaBytes of storage, and after the UI is installed it’s less than 700 GigaBytes. So you’re not going to have a lot of storage to work with, especially seeing as an average game like Spider-Man Remastered is 60 GigaBytes.
Despite this one flaw with the console, the PS5 still delivers an incredible next generation experience, and I cannot recommend it enough.