Recently, the PlayStation 5 finally has been released, following the Xbox Series X. We spent almost a week with the new Sony console, playing new items like the remake of Demon’s Souls and Spider-Man: Miles Morales and old PS4 games that have no problems launch on PS5, and have collected all our impressions in this roundup. In short, yes, the PlayStation 5 is much more like a next-generation console than the new Xbox, but that doesn’t make it a clear winner at this stage of the confrontation.
Appearance is perhaps the most controversial point in the case of the PS5. The console is really very large, it looks like it is either a spaceship, or a smaller copy of an airport with a futuristic design. One way or another, the new Sony platform looks too unusual and knocks out of the interior. Neither the fourth PlayStation nor the third, with its rounded lines, was so hard to combine with anything in the house. It’s funny, but out of all my equipment, the robot vacuum cleaner looks best next to the PlayStation 5 – it is also white and glows blue when it is charging at the station.
However, we cannot say that the console design is bad. Unusual – yes, but it still looks great. And if the Xbox Series X is a device that immediately merges with the interior, then the PS5 is a console that can easily shape this interior – it is possible that guests will compare the rest of the appliances in the house with it in the future. In other words, it may turn out that this is not a PS5 that will not fit everything in your apartment, but vice versa.
It is difficult to understand the practical benefits of such a design – the architects of Sony probably could have come up with a much less flashy appearance, while retaining all the technical features, but the company nevertheless decided to impress everyone this time. She did it, you can’t argue here – only now buyers will obviously have to think about where exactly to place the console.
This can be done, as is the case with the Xbox Series X, both vertically and horizontally. And, unlike Microsoft’s device, the PlayStation 5 looks good either way, although it is obvious that according to the canon it should be placed vertically using a special round stand – this is the only way to see the Roman numeral V on the front of the device.
Wherever you decide to put your new Sony console, remember that it needs as much space around it as possible so that during operation it can easily blow out streams of warm air from the holes that are located between the white plastic covers.
Sony has come up with a completely new interface for the PS5, which, however, has not gone very far from the old one. The main idea is still to constantly “highlight” icons of the last running applications or games on the screen. Only these icons are now much smaller, and they are located in the upper right corner of the screen, and the rest of the space is occupied by contextual images and menus (if there are any, of course) – screensavers of the same games, information about trophies and previously taken screenshots, news and so on.
There is also a button at the top to switch between games and media (here – apps like Netflix and YouTube), and in the upper right corner you can find your profile icon and “Settings”. By pressing the already familiar PS button on the gamepad at the bottom of the screen, several more icons appear – those that were in the upper half of the screen in the PlayStation 4 interface (friends list, download queue, and so on).
Everything works very quickly thanks to the SSD, and the launch of the PS Store now does not take a second – it has been integrated into the interface and, in fact, turned into “another page with icons”.
There are two problems with the interface, in my opinion. Firstly, on PS5 it is slightly less convenient than on PS4 (say, to get to the same friends or find a download queue, you have to go not the most logical way), but this is most likely just a matter of habit. Secondly, at the moment PlayStation 5 can … well, run games and go to Netflix? It does not have a browser, you cannot change the theme, and the PS Store does not even display individual sales pages yet. The latter is strange, since PS5 is backward compatible with PS4 – why can’t I go to the “Offers” section on the new console?
On the other hand, the PS4 interface also did not immediately become the way we know it today – it was gradually updated and brought to its current form only over time. And in the case of the PlayStation 5, we suspect it will be the same.
Starter lineup and backward compatibility with PS4 games
The PS5 launch lineup includes two platform exclusives and two PlayStation exclusives. The first are Astro’s Playroom, installed on each console by default and designed to show the capabilities of the new gamepad, and a remake of Demon’s Souls (2020), the game with which the well-known Souls series began. The latter are Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Sackboy: A Big Adventure, also available on PS4.
We will soon devote separate articles and reviews to each of these games, but now we can say that everything is very good with everyone. Yes, even with Astroʼs Playroom, which turned out to be not just a stupid tech-girl, but a very long-running platformer with tons of cool game design solutions. It’s funny, but just from the point of view of these very solutions, Astroʼs Playroom looks like the most breakthrough game – but here the point, of course, is that the game is designed to demonstrate the capabilities of the new console.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales, on the other hand, creates a great New Year’s mood thanks to snowy New York, and Demonʼs Souls is just an incredibly beautiful action RPG and so far the only game that guests can play to show the nextgen. Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a suitable game for younger players who are not ready to save the land of Boletaria from the terrible fog.
At the same time, of course, the entire multiplatform on which we recently tested the Xbox Series X is available on PS5 – this is Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, and Watch Dogs Legion, and DIRT 5, and Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War, and Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition, and many other games. And also – all (with the exception of ten unnecessary) PS4 games that run on PS5 for backward compatibility. Some of them even got performance patches. So, God of War, Days Gone and Ghost of Tsushima work on the new console at 60 FPS. The same cannot be said about Bloodborne, unfortunately, but it too may soon be improved.
The battery-powered DualSense wireless controller is definitely the core technology of the new generation of consoles. In the sense that the devices themselves are cool, but still just boxes with “hardware” for running games, and there are no fundamentally new technological breakthroughs like Kinect or PS VR yet. Microsoft decided not to change anything in the gamepad either (just the appearance – quite a bit), but DualSense is exactly the thing that makes the new generation “new”. It would seem that we are only talking about triggers with recoil and resistance and detailed vibration, but we’re sure that for many it will be much more important than beautiful graphics or HDR technology.
With vibration, we think, everything is more or less clear: with the help of the built-in motors, the gamepad really conveys all the subtleties of the gameplay. True, this feature of DualSense is so far manifested in full only in Astro Plays Playroom, where by the impact of the gamepad you can even determine the surface on which the hero is walking – be it a metal platform, snow, mud, grass, ice or sand. Each of these types of terrain feels differently in your hands – a subtle tingling sensation and a very soft motor operation. And with the help of vibration, the authors of Astroʼs Playroom transmit the impact of raindrops on the umbrella, the work of powerful rocket engines and much more.
In conjunction with very detailed vibration, adaptive triggers also work, which in different game situations can resist pressing. In the same Astroʼs Playroom, when the hero pulls the bowstring, they become tight, and when firing from a toy cannon, they imitate recoil – that is, they literally bounce back and lightly hit his finger after each projectile fired. And launching rocket engines is generally a “killer feature” of the controller, which all guests generally pay attention to.
In other games, such an emphasis on recoil and adaptive triggers is not yet made – for example, Demonʼs Souls very honestly vibrates all the actions of the hero, but does not get carried away. But the developers of Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War decided to use adaptive triggers when shooting, and it looks impressive. We can only hope that other studios will also use these bells and whistles, otherwise why all this.
It is important, we think, to note that both vibration and adaptive triggers work in moderation – that is, in especially dynamic gameplay moments, the gamepad, of course, does not try to shake your soul out of you, and triggers, even if they resist pressing, with a little more efforts give in without problems. At the end of the day, the idea is still to have fun with games, not swing your fingers.
DualSense differs not only in what we described above – it, like the gamepad for PS4, still has a gyroscope that tracks the position of the controller in space, and a touchpad, which is now much more responsive and accurate, and a Share button , working on the whole on the same principle as before.
At the same time, DualSense has a built-in microphone: it can be used in online games, where it, however, picks up almost all extraneous sounds along with your voice. The developers can also use the microphone in the gameplay – for example, in Astroʼs Playroom, you should blow into it in order to spin up the mini-fan inside the game. However, again, other studios do not do anything like that yet.
As in the case of the Xbox Series X, it seems pointless to me to describe in detail every subtlety of the PlayStation 5 architecture, but it is important to indicate the key technical characteristics.
- The new Sony console features an 8-core AMD Ryzen Zen 2 CPU up to 3.5GHz and an AMD Radeon RDNA 2 GPU. Total power is 10.3 teraflops, slightly less than the Xbox Series X’s 12 teraflops. …
- RAM – 16GB GDDR6.
- For storage, a custom SSD with a capacity of just over 800 GB is used, although 660 GB will be available for you to use.
- The console supports 4K resolution, HDR technology, can output up to 120 frames per second (not in all games, of course), and is also compatible with 8K monitors.
- On the back of the console there is a connector for connecting a power cable, one HDMI connector, an Ethernet connector for connecting a wired Internet (Wi-Fi, of course, is also supported) and two USB ports (one more on the front side).
Noise and heat level during operation
At this point, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X have complete parity: both consoles are very quiet. We tested the Sony platform on the incredible beauty of Demon’s Souls and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, God of War and Days Gone running at 60FPS, Doom 2016, and a few other games that turned the PS4 into a loud heater – none of which the PlayStation 5 was quiet. Again, as with the Xbox Series X, you can hear the console if you put your ear to it.
As for the degree of heating, there are no surprises here either. The rear of the console warms up the hottest – its temperature, according to Digital Foundry tests, can reach 45-55 degrees – that’s about the same as the Xbox Series X.
General impressions and conclusions
PlayStation 5 is the classic next generation console. With exclusives and a gamepad that offers a new experience and changes the perception of familiar gameplay mechanics. A powerful and quiet device with an unusual design. We have no doubt that Sony in this generation will continue to rely on expensive single-player games like God of War and The Last of Us, and therefore PlayStation 5, if you want this from a gaming platform, is a great option. And for those who have been with Sony since the second or third PlayStation, buying a new console is all the more a long-standing issue. There is nothing to disappoint fans of the brand on the PS5.
Nevertheless, at the beginning of the review, we wrote that, despite all the advantages, the PlayStation 5 can hardly be called the clear winner of the new console war. And the reason for this is the cost of games and the lack of an analogue of Game Pass. We will not argue about why the games for the PlayStation 5 cost as much as they cost, but there is no escape from the facts: a remake of Demon’s Souls – $69 in the basic edition, Spider-Man: Miles Morales (and this is, though large and independent, but still an addition) – $69 and so on.