PlayStation 5 Review: Truly Next Generation

By Kieran McEwan
on 24 April 2021

Released all the way back in November, it’s still basically impossible to buy a PlayStation 5 from an authorised seller even 5 months later. If you can’t wait, it’ll likely cost you double the retail price of AUS $599/$749 (digital/disc editions) from a reseller. So, is the hype worth it? And when’s the right time to buy?

Next Gen Hardware

PlayStation 5
PlayStation 5

While undoubtedly hype is playing a large role in the massive resale price of the PS5, there is another good reason why it’s in such high demand: what is hidden inside the spacey smooth curves and sharp wings of its body. The hardware of the PS5 is impressive, and helps it punch well above its price, especially for the digital edition which, despite being $150 cheaper, compromises only on giving up its disk drive, and not at all on power.

The first thing you’ll notice is the load times: starting up, resuming, and switching between games or other apps like Netflix is a total breeze. You’ll usually be waiting less than a minute for a game to load up for the first time, and even less to switch back to it later on. This is all thanks to the ultrafast 825 GB SSD onboard the PS5, which, due to the more specialised hardware of the console, allows it to surpass even top of the range PCs. It also means that loading screens in games are not nearly as much of a drag as they used to be, so travelling between areas in game, or respawning, is not nearly as much of an immersion breaking experience.

Things become a little more tricky when talking about the graphical quality of games. Because the PS5 uses specially made hardware, and uses that hardware in a specially designed way, it’s hard to judge how well the console will stack up down the line, as games become more and more graphically intensive. Right now though, you’ll struggle to find any game that won’t run on full settings at 60fps and 4K on your TV.

An approximately equally powerful PC, that will still struggle to match the loading times of the PS5, is likely to cost you upwards of $1500, even if you build it yourself. That’s an amazing feat for a console selling at $599, and goes a long way to explaining why it is in such high demand.

PlayStation 5
PlayStation 5

The Controller

By far the most surprising part of the console to me was the controller. As someone who has spent the vast majority of their life gaming on a PC, you can pry my keyboard and mouse from my cold, dead hands! But…even I might buy a DuelSense controller. Games that require careful aiming still feel clunky to me – as with any controller, it won’t be able to come close to the precision of a mouse. Still, even then, it was hard to deny that it was still more fun to use the Dualsense, even as I was getting my ass handed to me in Call of Duty.

For starters, using a controller is just more intuitive. Joysticks feel good to use, especially when moving in 360° – helped by nice, tactile rubber under your thumbs. This speaks to the DualSense’s general good quality. It feels nice and sturdy, and even for someone like me who isn’t used to controllers, was natural to use.

Adding to this tactile feedback, the PS5’s controller also features haptic feedback in the controller and triggers. When something happens in game – you drive over rough ground, a grenade explodes nearby, etc. – the controller vibrates satisfyingly, in a way that never felt gimmicky like the old rumble motors of last generation controllers. Draw back a bow an arrow, and the trigger will become noticeably more difficult to press down as the drawstring tightens.

Overall, the Dualsense creates a tactile experience that makes you feel more physically connected to the in-game environment than ever before.

PlayStation 5
Demon’s Souls on the PS5 is a leading exclusive on the platform

The Games

Of course, the games you’ll be able to play are the most important thing about any piece of gaming hardware. Inevitably, however, this early in the release of a new console game developers are still coming to terms with how best to utilise the next generation hardware available.

At time of review, the triple A games available to me were The Last of Us Remastered and Demon’s Souls. Both these games are, more or less, polished versions of games almost a decade old now. While both were a pleasure to play, and the polish was applied impressively, they surely don’t represent the full experience the next generation has to offer.

Such is the case with most, even new released games, available on the PS5. Most still have at least one foot in the door of the previous generation. As such, we’ll all have to wait and see what the next generation has to offer. I, for one, am excited to see what developers can do, especially with the exciting tech inside the DualSense controller.

PlayStation 5
The Last of Us has been given a fresh lick of paint for the PS5.

So Should You Buy It?

When it comes to getting bang for your back in gaming, patience is the best virtue you can have. If your last generation console or PC just set on fire…it might be worth it to jump on the bandwagon right now if you really can’t wait. For the rest of us though, we’d be well advised to wait. The supply chain issues causing a global shortage in computing parts are bound to ease as the threat of Coronavirus hopefully lessens over the year (touch wood).

With the price of new games now driving up towards the $125 mark, and online access costing $12 a month, your budget will thank you for saving some money on the price of the console up front. At $599/$749, the PS5 and its excellent DualSense controller are a serious bargain if we can all just hold out a little longer.

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