Sony released their new-gen video game console yesterday, November 12th. We’re here to share the PlayStation 5 launch impressions.
Needless to say, the device suffers from the same shortage issues we’ve seen on other tech releases. If you weren’t able to pre-order the console, odds say you won’t be able to buy it for some time.
The stock is out on most retailers. What’s more, you can only buy it online, and we don’t know when the PS5 becomes available again.
That said, fans, video-game journalists, and streamers alike have talked wonders about the console.
We already covered the Xbox Series first impressions. You can check both articles, back to back, if you’re unsure of where to spend your hard-earned money.
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The PS5 proudly joins ranks, even though its $499 price tag is unreal given its actual stock.
Remember, the PlayStation 5 has two versions, one being the All-Digital console. The difference between the two relies on the lack of the BlueRay Disc-tray on the $399 PlayStation 5 All Digital.
PlayStation 5 launch impressions
The PlayStation 5 is competing against Microsoft’s Xbox Series X/S consoles. However, they do two things differently.
Sony’s offer is about top-tier, single-player experiences that come with a price. Most PS5 games are going to cost $69.99 instead of $59.99. Moreover, they won’t sell a budget console version, much less a gaming bundle like Xbox Game Pass.
So, rather than a service, like Microsoft’s offering, the PlayStation 5 is more of a “select” device.
Here’s the latest advertising spot of the console:
We must start our PlayStation 5 launch impression by its design. This console is big, and many users have stated it may not fit in your entertainment center.
Moreover, the shipping box is quite hefty, which may increase the price heavily if you’re looking to ship the PS5 overseas.
That said, you can place the console either horizontally or vertically. If you want to put it horizontally, you need to screw off the base and place it underneath. That’s because the PS5 is curvy instead of flat.
Then again, the design is striking. It looks vastly different from the PlayStation 5, and it certainly catches your eye.
Also, you can screw off the white baseplates of the PlayStation 5. Sony explains users can 3D-print or order customized body-plates to decorate the console.
Here’s a video detailing how to change the PlayStation 5 base:
Moreover, the device has a settings menu where you can customize the newer features of the console. For example, there’re options for DualSense’s haptic feedback.
Noise & temperature
The console’s towering size brings a significant advantage: the PS5 runs quiet and runs cool.
However, some users have stated that the disc-tray does tend to make some noise. Other than that, the machine runs as intended.
“Our goal is for PS5 to be quieter than PS4. This is due to changes in the power delivery and cooling systems, as well as custom engineering work including a custom heatsink and a liquid metal-based thermal interface material.” – PlayStation 5 blog.
Here’s the PS5’s teardown video, where you can take a look at its cooling system:
Power & performance
Once again, we’re not going deep into the technical jargon of the PS5 specs. Instead, we’re sharing how it performs in real life.
So, in real life, the PlayStation 5 is what Sony advertised. It’s fast; it runs 4K on smooth 60fps, it’s smooth, and has average ray tracing features. By average, I mean something you’d get out of a $500 GPU.
Either way, here’re the specs of the PS5:
The PlayStation 5 is a 4K machine. It runs games at constant 60 frames per second and hardware-accelerated ray tracing. At the same time, it supports HDR, improving the sharpness and contrast ratio of the image on compatible screens.
It can also upscale the mage up to 8K via a 2.1 HDMI cable. Otherwise, it can support up to 120Hz refresh ratio on 4K TVs.
Now, 8K support is a non-issue right now, given that 8K TVs are out of reach for most people. Still, the performance of the PlayStation 5 is as intended: smooth and beautiful.
More importantly, it can keep up with consistent 60 frames per second. In comparison, Xbox Series testing has seen some frame drops on some titles.
In terms of real-life performance, the PlayStation 5 runs Assasin’s Creed: Valhalla at dynamic 4K (upscaled resolution), 60fps, and moderate ray tracing.
The native resolution would be 2K. That’s the same performance as the Xbox Series X, I must note. I advise you not to take 4K performance as the bar to measure new-gen consoles, though.
Naturally, achieving 4K-either dynamic or native- with 60 frames per second is a massive improvement over the PS4. Plug the right 4K TV, and there’s plenty of eye-candy to eat.
The PlayStation 5 makes every game look beautiful. Details are sharp, ambient occlusion is spot-on, depth is defined, motion is precise, and ray tracing is gorgeous. There’s nothing to complain about regarding graphics.
I should note many games allow two different graphical modes. “High Fidelity” pushes ray tracing -lighting, shadows, and reflections- to the limit of the console but caps the visuals to 30fps. “High performance” delivers subdued ray tracing with 60fps.
Speed and load times
In paper, the PlayStation 5 falls behind the Xbox Series X in terms of GPU and SDD power.
However, we saw the performance of both machines is pretty similar. The same is to say about the load and boot times of the machines.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales demos have showcased the impressive speed of the PlayStation 5.
For example, booting the console and jumping to your Morales’ campaign takes you about 22 seconds.
Moreover, loading screens are so fast that you don’t even notice they exist. That’s how the game transitions from one scenario to the next in an instant, harnessing the power of the PS5 to render instantly.
While the speed is about 5 seconds slower than the Xbox Series consoles, they are significantly faster than the PS4. The PS5 is, at least, twice as fast as the older console. Titles that better harness the new console’s power can load 12 times as quickly as before.
Here’s a Miles Morales gameplay showcasing what I explained:
Storage-wise, the console comes with 825GB of fast and custom SDD storage. After the operative system, you end with about GB to play around with, which might not be enough for many.
The Xbox Series X comes with 1TB of a newer kind of storage (4th-gen instead of 3rd-gen). After the OS, Xbox users get 812GB. The difference between the two is about the file size of CoD: Cold War – Black Ops.
I must also note that the PlayStation 5 is currently not compatible with any SDD storage upgrades. Sony says they will arrive, but we don’t know when or how much they will cost.
Xbox storage upgrades sell for over $220, do keep that in mind. Also, remember you can only install PS5 games on the internal SDD.
The third storage option is using external USB HDDs. You can use these units to store any game you’re not using, as well as playing PS4 titles.
You can also use a USB to transfer save-files and games from your PS4 to your PS5.
However, you can’t play newer games from the external option.
Here’s a video showcasing how to transfer PS4 data towards the PS5.
Without a doubt, the strength of the PS5 over the Xbox Series is its catalog of exclusives. Right now, the selection includes Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Demon’s Souls: Remake, Devil May Cry 5 (PS5 version), Sackboy, and AllStar Destruction.
Aside from these heavy-hitters launch titles, Sony is also working on titles like Ratchet and Clank: Rifts Apart or Returnal. There’s Arkane Studio’s Deathloop as well, which will be a timed PS5 exclusive despite Microsoft buying the studio’s owner, ZeniMax.
Do keep in mind the price of each title. In particular, if you get the All-Digital version, you won’t be able to trade games with your friends.
Aside from the PS5-exclusive games, the console will also be compatible with 99% of the PS4 titles.
That’s a vast catalog right on the get-go. The list of first-party titles for the PS4 includes games like Ghost of Tsushima, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and the Uncharted series.
However, the console won’t be compatible with PS3, PS2, or PS1 games. In comparison, the Xbox Series is compatible with all Xbox generation games, which results in the biggest game catalog ever.
Be that as it may, you may re-download any PS4 game you own on the newer console, or you may insert the disc on the BlueRay tray.
Lastly, I must note the PlayStation 5 Game Boost feature increases the frame rate of PS4 games. Moreover, if you play them via the internal SDD, they are also going to load faster.
The exclusive catalog is only going to expand from here on now. Currently, PlayStation Studios are working on God of War: Ragnarok.
However, Sony has some censorship issues regarding Japanese games, so the Xbox is gaining terrain in Asian countries.
Moreover, Microsoft is gathering an impressive list of studios to work on future exclusives. We expect the competition of first-party titles to be better for this generation.
Do keep in mind that Microsoft is releasing all of its Xbox Series games for PC as well. Some will even reach Steam. Even Halo: The Masterchief Collection is currently on Steam.
Value & price
Whereas the price of the PlayStation 5 is the same as the Xbox Series X, the aftermarket value is, in a way, worse.
In other words, the PlayStation doesn’t include a financing option like the Xbox All Access. Similarly, it doesn’t have comprehensive gaming bundles like the Xbox Game Pass.
As I said, the console is about superior single-player experiences you can play for $69.99.
Not all games are selling for the highest cost, though. For example, Miles Morales (a 12-hour experience) sells for $50, whereas Sackboy carries a $60 price tag. The price for the newer heavy hitters seems to be increasing towards the new limit nonetheless.
That said, most of its upcoming catalog relies on short single-player games. While Microsoft Studios are working on expansive open-world titles like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 and Avowed, Sony’s line is about shorter games like GoW, Spider-Man, or Sackboy.
Even so, the value for a 4K/60fps/ray tracing/fast loading machine is superb. It brings new-gen gaming to the table, given that you can consistently afford to buy new tiles.
Yet, even the 3-D platformer Sackboy looks fantastic!
The PlayStation Services do present themselves as great value, affordable options.
First, we’ve got PlayStation Plus, which now includes a collection of select PS4 titles for PS5 owners. You’ll find games like Uncharted 4 or The Last Of Us: Remastered as part of the lineup.
Then, it delivers two free games every month. November additions even included a PS5 title, Bugsnax.
Aside from games, PlayStation Plus also opens-up the multiplayer features of every game and delivers discounts for the PlayStation Store.
However, the collection won’t add new games or recently released games.
There’s also the PlayStation Now service. Even though it’s not very popular, it’s quite valuable: it has over 100 games you can stream or download for a monthly price.
Not every title is exciting, though, albeit anyone could find something to play. From Days Gone to Tomb Raider, the selection is varied.
The PlayStation 5 is also compatible with many video and music streaming apps. Netflix, Disney+, YouTube, or Spotify can become parts of the console’s entertainment hub section.
Other than that, the console can connect directly to your Twitch or Youtube account to stream a game instantly.
Now that we’re here, let me share an image with the PlayStation 5 features:
PlayStation 5 accessories and other features
The last part of our PlayStation 5 launch impression article details the accessories.
We must note that the console ships with a base, a power cable, HDMI cable, a controller, and a Type-C cable to charge the controller. Also, the console itself comes with the 3-D platformer Astro’s’ Playroom game already installed.
The DualSense is receiving a lot of praise from streamers fans and video game journalist. First, because it features a sleek, comfortable design that pours quality.
Secondly, because of PlayStation’s new controller features. The haptic feedback is a more advanced vibration mechanism that triggers according to your game actions. Then, there’s also the adaptive triggers, which put force against your fingers depending on the game’s actions.
Astro’s Playroom showcases these features quite well. Even gathering coins creates a reaction on the controller as if you were absorbing the items.
However, developers would have to integrate the feature into their games. Right now is a gimmick, a possibility to make more immersive games. But we’ll have to wait and see how it translates into real-life applications.
There’s not much word on the rest of the accessories. For example, there’s no demo of the PlayStation 5 on VR titles, although we already know VR gaming doesn’t have a lot of reach.
Also, Sony is selling a pricy spatial audio-compatible headset. You can find much cheaper aftermarket alternatives, though, so I wouldn’t recommend the item to anyone.
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All things considered, the PlayStation 5 is a powerful, valuable new-gen console.
The gaming investment is considerably higher on Sony’s alternative compared to the Xbox. Yet, the single-player games you can get are of higher-quality than most Xbox exclusive alternatives.
Things might change in the future, though, when Xbox first-party developers yield promised results. Moreover, every Xbox exclusive game will launch on the Game Pass service.
Currently, though, the PlayStation 5 remains the king of single-player, select games. As always, the company aims for hardcore gamers who won’t settle for anything but the best.
Furthermore, playing on 4K/60fps and ultra-fast load times is always going to feel incredible, even if you own a modest 1080p TV. A great controller also helps!
Let me know what you think in the comments below. Which console are you going to buy, and which games are you going to play?