There are many reasons to feel fortunate living in Australia but the biggest this week has been that we are included in Sony’s initial release of the PlayStation 5, one week ahead of Europe. Pre-orders here have been equally difficult to get hold of it seems, so I was lucky to secure my next (current) gen upgrade for release day. And having had a couple of days getting familiar with it, thought I would share my early impressions with the GameCentral readers.
First of all, let’s talk about the elephant in the room here. The PlayStation 5 is big. All the news sites have commented on its size and this was evident when picking it up from the store and I was advised they didn’t have any bags big enough to fit the box into! Unboxing the console made me reassess where I had planned to house it due to its bulk.
I’m of the opinion that having it standing upright will help maximise the ventilated design, essential as my PlayStation 4 ran incredibly hot and loud through the Australian summers. I game on a projector and screen and thought I would have plenty of space for this but it is quite obtrusive, particularly with the lights emanating from the top of the console, which reflect into the screen. I was pleasantly surprised that fitting the stand is straightforward though and seems solid enough to avoid any risk of wobble.
Turning the PlayStation 5 on for the first time takes you through the expected range of set-up menus, which is largely painless. Within a few minutes I was set-up with my existing PSN profile transferred over. Even more straightforward was using the external hard drive that has hundreds of games downloaded. It required no more effort than simply plugging in and everything was instantly recognised, no transfers or additional set-up required. And Sony have finally blessed us with a USB port at the rear of the console. Incredible!
Jumping into the pre-installed Astro’s Playroom is an instant delight. Largely an extended demo to show off the features of the DualSense controller it delights throughout and borrows the Nintendo approach to game design by introducing a new gameplay element each level. It is short but it’s a celebration of the history of the PlayStation brand with numerous nods to systems, games, and peripherals of yesteryear. The game is over quickly but there are speed runs unlocked as you progress and plenty of collectibles to keep hunting for the completionists out there.
With all the features of the DualSense shown off during Astro’s Playroom it truly feels like a significant step forward from the Dualshock 4. The increased haptics in the rumble provide real feedback based on the circumstances of the game, from battling against a wind storm to feeling the gentle patter of rain to gliding around on ice, you feel the game world as much as see it. And the adaptive triggers feel like such an obvious advancement it will surely become standard in all controllers moving forward. The possibilities for platformers, first person shooters, but especially driving games seems huge.
Finally, the super-fast SSD. It’s a game changer right? Well… yes. And possibly no. Load times are drastically reduced for sure. Astro bounces from world to world with barely more than 3 seconds transition. It is very impressive. And then you forget it’s a feature and almost immediately take it for granted. I can see that I won’t be wowed by the fast loading for long, but will be massively jarred when staring at load screens on older platforms.
There are a few small quirks. I never had an issue with the light bar on the DualShock 4 but am finding the lights on the DualSense more obtrusive as they point upwards and so I’m much more aware of them than I ever was with the DualShock. There’s also an issue I’m finding when using YouTube, as the videos are incredibly slow to load and buffer when playing, which is not an issue I have on any other device.
It’s fair to say though that my early impressions of the PlayStation 5 are overwhelmingly positive. I look forward to the experiences that it will offer over the coming years and hope that the GC readers manage to get theirs on the 19th.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention. So far it has run super quiet and remained cool to the touch, so fingers crossed that continues through the upcoming summer months.
By reader ProEvoSan78 (PSN ID)
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