PS5: Day 3 Review

Mon, Dec 7, 2020 7-minute read

Yes, I'm one of the lucky few who managed to get a PS5. No, I'm not going to sell it to you, or to anybody else. Yes, you're welcome to come join me for an afternoon/evening of gaming at my place if you want to test it out. Gaming should be social right? Right! So anyway, here it goes, my day three review of the system.

Unboxing and setting up

The box is boring, little to no plastic, cardboard mostly, good for the environment. Nice touch from Sony!

And then you get the console out of the box and attach the baseplate on it and put it next to your TV and suddenly your TV doesn't look that big anymore. Suddenly the original Fat PS3 is not so fat anymore. Oh my God, this thing is HUGE. I know every reviewer and everybody out there says it, but that's because it's true. It's freaking huge! And it's weird, and the glossy black is going to attract a lot of fingerprints and dust, but the white plates are nice to the touch. Overall, the console feels plastic-y. It's pretty heavy, and once it sits down it's sturdy, but it feels cheap, even though it isn't.

Setup is easy, there's a booklet that basically says to plug in the power, hdmi and ethernet cable (last one is optional) and power it on. Next a few instructions come on the screen, it installs some updates and you're good to go. Noteworthy: you get the chance to opt in to advanced data/metrics gathering or to stick to basic metrics (good for privacy minded people). And you get a chance to review your privacy settings with regards to the Playstation Network. Again: nice gesture to the privacy minded people! (I'm looking at you Google, I know you're watching!)

The DualSense controller

So after the initial installation, it's time to give Astro's Playroom a shot. First thing that happens is a bunch of playstation related stuff is thrown in your direction on the screen, and you can feel the stuff passing by through the controller. That's the haptic feedback showing what it can do. Nice improvement over the rumble from the previous DualShock 4 but nothing groundbreaking here.

And then you give the adaptive triggers a shot. And this is the part where my jaw actually fell on the floor. I thought my controller was broken, it shouldn't be this hard to press a trigger right? It shouldn't be possible that the adaptive triggers generate that much resistance to the muscles in my trigger finger? Right? Right? No, you're wrong! Holy shitsnacks, this is amazing! More on this later!

PS5 games

Alright, then we play some Astro's Playroom, nice platformer, but a little too childish for me. So we insert our copy of AC Valhalla (for the PS4) in the console, let it install, grab the free PS5 upgrade and boot up the game. The game boots a lot faster as on the PS4, nice! That's the SSD hard at work here. And then you load into the game, and you're standing on top of a sync point, and my jaw drops again. This looks amazing! A lot smoother, sharper, more visually pleasing than the PS4 version of the game.

Next up: Watch Dogs Legion. Same process as before: pop in disc, grab free PS5 upgrade, install updates, start the game. And Hello London! On the PS4 you looked good, but holy shitsnacks you look amazing on the PS5. Even better than AC Valhalla, because hello Ray Tracing! Reflections, neon lights, London at night has never looked that awesome. And then the DualSense's adaptive triggers at work again: if you fire a gun, you need to actually apply some force to pull the trigger. And every time a bullet fires, you get a little recoil/jolt in the trigger that you have to overcome to fire another bullet. I've never fired a real gun before, but I'm thinking this feels more like that.

PS4 games

That's all the PS5 games I have for the moment, so let's pop in some stuff from the previous generation:

God of War: I've played it on the base PS4, it looked amazing in 1080p/30fps, but here you get the option of 4k/30fps or 1080p/60fps. And I can't decide which one I like more: jawdropping visuals at 4k, or that smooth axe throwing at 60fps. I'll definitely replay this game soon on the PS5

Ghost of Tsushima: It loads fast on the PS4, it loads even faster on the PS5. In God of War, you have to choose between resolution or framerate, in Tsushima you get both: 4k/60fps. And boy, timing standoffs and parries in 60fps is soo much easier, and prettier as well! I've not yet played Legends, or gone through the New Game Plus option, but I'll do both, this game deserves a replay on the PS5.

The Last Of Us Part 2: I remember this one on the PS4, loading times where through the roof. And it came out in the summer, overheating my room, overheating my PS4, making my PS4 sound like it was about to take off. Nothing of the sorts on the PS5. You get all the goodies from the PS4 Pro version: 4k/30fps, and improved loading times. This game looked amazing on the base PS4, it looks even better on the PS5. I'm already back at Seatle day 1, playing through the prologue with my jaw on the floor the entire time. Fingers crossed there'll be a full on next-gen update for this game which adds 60fps, the combat could use it.

Warzone: This looked bad on the PS4. I sucked at it, I was bad at it. On the PS5 however, in 60fps (and soon in 120fps hopefully, not that my TV can handle that) and with the slightly larger analogue sticks: I'm a killing machine! There's no annoying texture pop-ins that distract me from the combat, it's smooth, it's epic, I like it!

4K on a 1080p monitor?

So, all of these games pump out some kind of 4k (full 2160p or some 1800p wannabe 4k or something else) image, yet my TV can only handle 1080p/60fps. That's OK, the PS5 just supersamples it down to 1080p. Your picture looks a lot better, and you get the improved framerate for free as well.

The bad and ugly?

So, as you might have noticed, I love my PS5! There's gotta be some gotcha's right? Yea, a few. Let me go over them:

The noise: the PS5 is marketed as a silent console, but the bluray disc drive is still kinda like a jet engine right before take off if you want to install a game and if the console boots/comes out of rest mode. Other than that, the console is pretty silent. Notice how I said pretty? There's still a fan in there, it's silent, but it'll probably still wake up your girlfriend/wife if she's sleeping right next to it. Is it annoying? Maybe, depends on how easily you're annoyed by sounds like a spinning hdd or fan of a laptop.

The size, the looks: It's big, and it's white. It does not fit in my entertainment setup, because it's too big, and because it's not black like every other entertainment device since 2000. Does that matter? It does not to me, I don't game on the living room TV, so my wife doesn't complain about it.

The SSD: It's blazingly fast, and tiny. 825GB, About 600 of it useable. All the games I've mentioned above pretty much fill up the SSD. Right now there's no way to move PS5 games to some kind of external storage (usb connected external hdd for example), I'm hoping that comes later. But you can store and play PS4 games from an external drive. And more than that, you can share that external drive with your PS4. So I've got 1 external drive with pretty much all my PS4 games on it, and I can attach it to my PS4, game for a couple hours, then go to my PS5, and game some more! This also speeds up the installation.