It's been nearly 7 years and Sony's next generation console is finally arriving for eagerly-awaiting gamers. Considering I've been playing PS5 for over a week, it's time to share my first impressions and hopefully answer a few questions as well as whet some appetites.
Before we begin, keep in mind that I only experienced pre-launch access via a console provided by PlayStation Canada so some aspects may change on launch day. Will it be a huge difference? Probably not but I need to stress this for clarity's sake.
That's one big console
PlayStation 5 is huge. When I first pulled it out of its box, my eyes bugged out at how big it is. It's rather heavy, too, and is quite possibly the largest console that I've ever seen which is saying a lot because I've been gaming since the late '80s. Not only is it enormous; it has an odd shape so fitting it nicely on a shelf may not be feasible, especially if you have small shelves like I do. Thankfully, I have a super-thin 65" OLED TV that's sitting on a big stand so there's plenty of room behind it to store the PS5. This also doubles to hide it because it certainly stands out like a sore thumb from my contemporary living room decor. In fact, it looks like a computer that belongs on the USS Enterprise or something that an alien will hatch out of. That isn't to say that it doesn't look awesome; it's the most unique-looking piece of hardware that I've ever owned and its bold appearance is hopefully a reflection of things to come during the next generation.
The DualSense is a game-changer
In my opinion, PlayStation has always made the most comfortable and intuitive game controllers. The Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers as well as the Switch Pro Controller are fantastic, too, but if it wasn't for Sony's DualShock lineup, perhaps game controllers wouldn't be what they are today. With that in mind, Sony truly surpassed their previous efforts with the DualSense. Upon first inspection, it just seemed like a redesigned DualShock 4 but once I started playing Astro's Playroom which shows off the controller beautifully, I was amazed at what it's capable of. For starters, it features haptic feedback which makes the controller react according to what you're currently playing in a way that actually feels like you're in the game. I thought it would be like the Switch Pro Controller's HD rumble but that pales in comparison to how immersive haptic feedback is. Feeling every footstep as you run around is the bee's knees.
The other primary new feature is adaptive triggers which makes L2 and R2 incorporate various levels of resistance. I've only played 1 game which utilizes it so my experience with this feature is limited but I imagine that many games will incorporate it in clever ways. In Astro's Playroom, there's a claw machine that you have to pull a lever to activate and when I first did, it only moved a little bit and I thought it was stuck. Then, I pulled on the R2 button harder and that did the trick while simultaneously making it feel like I was actually pulling the lever. After that, I kept approaching the machine then backing away so I could feel how the triggers adapted and honestly couldn't believe the difference. Other than these features, the DualSense functions similarly to the DualShock 4 and it has a built-in microphone which is handy. I mean, the Famicom had the same thing back in '83 but I don't think that had any online games.
Is the PS5 really next-gen?
Yes, of course it is. Why else would it be called PlayStation 5? In all seriousness, it does feel like a significant step up from PlayStation 4. The most notable difference by far is its performance which allows for consistent graphical fidelity with virtually no load times. I've been playing a lot of Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales and soaring through New York City while fighting criminals then transitioning to indoor settings is absolutely seamlessly presented. Obviously, I've only played a couple of PS5 games so it's definitely hard to tell how amazing its graphics will be and if this amount of visual prowess will hold up in other games but I'm quite impressed so far.
That actually brings me to my main concern about the next generation of gaming: will the graphics be that much better than the current generation? In other words, when will we see a game that looks more impressive than something like The Last of Us Part II? It goes without saying that video game graphics are already stellar and beyond anything I could have ever imagined when I was a kid.
To be fair, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PS5 does look better than its PlayStation 4 predecessor but only marginally so. In the end, PlayStation 5 games will definitely have better performance with high framerates and resolutions as well as features like ray tracing and HDR support but we might have to wait a little bit longer to actually see in-game graphics that are truly amazing.
PlayStation 5 is an impressive piece of hardware. It's big and has a lot of personality and that description will hopefully reflect what's to come for the next generation of gaming with larger-than-life adventures that offer refreshing and bold experiences. I'm certainly excited for what PS5 has in its future because it's sure to redefine the virtual realm for at least another 7 years or so.