Review: the PlayStation 5 is a baking beast with a brilliant controller | NOW

Sony’s latest game console is gigantic, but therefore also very quiet. The biggest innovations are in the included controller.

The PlayStation 5 is the largest game console Sony has ever made, with a height of no less than 40 centimeters. The device requires a large TV cabinet to be able to place it properly.

This format has a reason: a large part of the machine consists of cooling, so it makes little noise when playing large games. A big step forward compared to the PlayStation 4, which generates a lot of noise with many recent games.

That does not alter the fact that the design of the game console is controversial. He is bulky and with crazy designed curves, with a small foot at the bottom on which everything balances somewhat shakily. It is not worth a beauty prize.

The PlayStation 5 is loud when a disc is put in, but that sound is often temporary. A disc spins in the drive only when a game is installed, after which it will only make intermittent noise. When playing a blu-ray, it makes continuous noise. It means that the cheaper PS5 without a disc drive is also quieter.

Graphically a step forward

Although it is predominantly quieter, the PlayStation 5 has made a leap in graphics. The difference isn’t as clear as with previous console generations, but games on the new machine often run at a 4K resolution at sixty frames per second. As a result, games are razor-sharp and smoothly animated.

The PlayStation 5 also supports ray tracing. This technique reflects light in a natural way so that reflections are also displayed realistically.

It ensures that, for example Spider-Man: Miles Morales looks stunning. The game is set in New York during the Christmas season, where sleet, mood lighting and skyscraper windows create special lighting situations and reflections.

Thanks to ray tracing in Spider-Man: Miles Morales, light effects that are visible in the game in the dark winter months in New York are extra displayed. (Photo: Marvel)

Choose graphic options yourself

You cannot make that graphic leap without sacrifices. Bee Spider-Man ray tracing is only possible if you opt for a speed of thirty frames per second. If you want to game with sixty images, you must turn off the visual option. The same is true in Devil May Cry 5, where you can choose between 120 frames per second or ray tracing. Some gamers swear by a higher frame rate, because games are more smoothly animated. However, that difference is not equally noticeable for everyone.

This forced choice is unfortunate but understandable. Developers must make a distinction if they want to get the most out of the game console. But as a result, players are faced with all kinds of technical choices that feel like hassle.

Much shorter loading times

A special type of SSD storage ensures shorter loading times than on previous game consoles. That’s at Spider-Man quite noticeable: where the original on the PlayStation 4 had to load about a minute and a half, the new edition was completely started up in just under twenty seconds.

Supplied free of charge Astro’s Playroom not even a single loading screen is visible while they are in Devil May Cry 5 stop by sparingly. With this, Sony, like Microsoft, removes a major pain point during gaming.

Old PlayStation 4 games still need to load, but in many cases started faster. The Last of Us 2 for example, needs a minute instead of a minute and a half. A good step forward, although competitor Microsoft seems to optimize old games better.

Impatient players can enjoy the faster loading times. This is also a major point of improvement for PlayStation competitor Xbox Series X. (Photo: NU.nl/Bastiaan Vroegop)

DualSense gamepad is a great addition

Sony is taking great strides forward with its new DualSense gamepad. Haptic feedback lets you feel subtle taps and vibrations that games can use in many ways. A game must support this.

Astro’s Playroom serves as a demo to demonstrate this technology. You can feel the footsteps of your robot vibrating alternately in both sides of the gamepad, while raindrops come in as small taps.

The triggers on top of the controller can also provide resistance. A strung bow feels heavy and a fired machine gun vibrates with the recoil.

A built-in speaker simultaneously plays sounds that accentuate what you feel. You quickly forget that you feel a vibrating motor while gaming. A great addition that you must feel to fully understand it.

Astro’s Playroom comes standard on the PlayStation 5. The vibrations from the DualSense controller play a big role in the movements that the Astro Bot makes. (Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

A jumble of buttons

Where the interface of the PlayStation 4 had an easy to understand interface, the PlayStation 5 often feels a bit confusing. Buttons are not where you expect them to be and screens are filled with game information and buy buttons that you often do not need. That may take some getting used to, but many changes seem anything but intuitive.

Nice is the addition of a special hint system. Those who are stuck in a game can now open videos directly from the menu with tips on how to proceed. A system that you can only use in combination with a PlayStation Plus subscription.

Conclusion

The PlayStation 5 is a baking beast, but therefore a lot quieter. Combine that with the shorter loading times and graphics upgrades and you have a machine on which it is simply nicer to game on.

The biggest step forward is in the gamepad, which realistically makes certain actions tangible in games. That sounds like a gimmick, but it isn’t: we can never go back to an old-fashioned vibrating controller.

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