From the moment you turn on a PS5 console, it feels like a next-generation experience.
An over-the-top boot screen looks beautiful on our OLED TV, and from that moment you know you’re about to experience something quite special. A criticism we made in our review of the Xbox Series S was its lack of new interface; it’s exactly the same as Xbox One. It even has the same power-up sound. Regardless of how great the console is, it’s underwhelming not to get anything new.
The PS5 user interface, on the other hand, has been redesigned from the ground-up. It’s immediately recognisable for anyone familiar with PS4; everything is in roughly the same place, but it feels a bit more intuitive. Your most recent games and apps still appear in a row on the home screen, but your library feels easier to browse. Games are organised in a more logical manner, and you can filter them by genre, or where you got them from. So you can see just your PS5 games, or just the games you’ve acquired via PS Now, for instance. It makes managing your own games, especially if you have a fairly hefty digital library, much easier.
We’ve only had a few hours with the PS5 yet so we can’t go into too much detail, as we’re still exploring it ourselves. But it’s safe to say that we are impressed. The huge, two-colour console looks nicer in the flesh than it has done in promotional pictures; though it is big. Our thoughts are with everyone who has a small TV unit. But whether it’s stood up or laid on its side, it looks like a quality piece of kit. Its blue accent lights are stylish without being over the top. It’s like a modern art sculpture.
The DualSense controller is a feat of engineering in its own right. It’s very similar to the DualShock 4 in terms of shape and functionality, but everything has been refined and improved. It’s more comfortable to hold, with a slightly tweaked shape making it fit more comfortably in your hands. But it’s the technology within the controller that has really changed. The haptic feedback is impressive, and the adaptive triggers – which can fight back by providing varying levels of tension – are intriguing.
Astro’s Playroom, which comes bundled with the console, showcases the DualSense’s functions perfectly. It’s a fun little game in its own right, too – a fully-fledged platform game that sees you take control of those familiar and cute Astro bots. We’ve not played much of it, but just enough to see the DualSense in action. With every step Astro takes, the corresponding side of the controller rumbles. Even the touchpad rumbles as you drag your finger across it.
It remains to be seen just how many games will utilise the full functionality of the DualSense, but it’s an impressive piece of hardware – if perhaps a little unnecessary. The downside is the battery is never going to last particularly long. Be prepared to charge it up every couple of days (or more) if you’re an avid gamer. Thankfully though, with USB-C, it should charge quicker than a DualShock 4 did.
In terms of next-gen games, we’ve only seen Spider-Man: Miles Morales so far, but it’s all we needed to see to be sold on the power of the PS5. It looks incredible; true 4K visuals, high-quality textures and one of the best implementations of ray-tracing we’ve seen to date all add up for a truly jaw-dropping experience. It really makes us excited for what this generation of gaming will have in store for us in the years to come. Read more of our gushing thoughts on Miles Morales here.
We’ll have more to say on the PS5 in the coming days, but needless to say: after less than 24 hours with the console in our hands, we think it has been worth the wait. It’s huge in size, sure, but it also has a huge amount of power and even more potential. This new generation of gaming is going to be a good one.