PlayStation 5 Sort of Review – How is it 3 months in?

Three months later, what do I think of the new Sony console?

I was one of the lucky ones that managed to pick up the PlayStation 5 on launch day. Getting my preorder in was not an easy task, but I managed it and have been happily playing on it since.

Now that the initial honeymoon period is over, I thought I would talk about the experience and if I am still happy about my purchase three months later.

So how is it?

The PlayStation 5 is probably my second favourite launch console. It only is just pipped by my Nintendo Switch, but it is a very close call.

Is it perfect? No. The PlayStation isn’t even what I would call necessary. It’s a games console, and it plays games well. What more can you ask?

Well, a few things, but that’s later .

I still really like the look, maybe not white though

Day One Problems

The first day I got my console, I had a few issues. The PlayStation 5 kept going to sleep, not an excellent state of affairs when setting it up.

The solution was simple – turn off the HDMI link. Because the feature isn’t enabled on my Sony Bravia, something about it was just telling my PlayStation 5 to go to sleep. That was nerve-wracking, but I worked out the issue and was playing straight away.

I did take a very early precaution after the shut-down mishaps, and that is I did a full system format and reinstall. I have no evidence that this was the right thing to do, but I have had no issues with the console at all since.

It's hard to be frustrated when Enzo was being this adorable

Day One Positives

I am an old man. Well, in gaming terms. But I am old enough to remember when you got a game to go with your new console. You would get Tetris on the original Game Boy. NES had Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt, even Alex Kidd on the Sega Master System.

I miss those days, and apparently so does Sony. When you get the PlayStation 5, you get Astro’s Playroom. With just the console purchase, you actually everything you need (minus TV). The console, controller, and a game all included!

And Astro’s Playroom is a great way to get to know your PlayStation 5. You can read my quick thoughts on the game here, and a full review will come!

Didn't even set everything up properly - just straight into gaming!

If you go PlayStation Plus, you also get the PlayStation Plus Collection

As cool as it is to have a game included, you will want more to play. And the games can be expensive. This is one of the reasons I love Xbox Game Pass – for the full RRPish of a game a year, I have access to a changing library of titles to try.

Enter PlayStation Plus. For less than the RRP of a game a year, you get free games each month that stay in your library. Realistically, people buy Plus because you need to for online play, but I don’t really play multiplayer. But I still buy Plus for the games.

And when you join PlayStation Plus the first time, you can add about 20 great games to your library. This means that even if you join for just a month, you get access to a few hundred dollars worth of games that cover many genres. And not just any budget titles – each one is considered a classic in some way!

You probably won't like every game, but it's a great start to find out what you do like

And that brings me to – the DualSense 5 Controller.

First off the bat – I don’t really like the white controllers. They look great but show dirt even easier than the glossy black ones. But they are white, and I won’t be lining up to buy different coloured ones if/when the time comes just for that.

But playing on the DualSense – that’s the difference. I have always preferred the DualShock PlayStation controllers, but the Switch Pro Controller has slowly grown on me.

Looks wise, they just look like controllers. Once you use them, different story.

The DualSense is very comfortable, and when playing in ‘normal’ mode responds well. I haven’t experienced any of the drifting that has been reported, it just feels like a more comfortable DualShock.

The one big negative for me is the incompatibility with the DualShock Back attachment. I like having L3 and R3 mapped to the back of the controller, and after a few months of being able to use the add on is sorely missed.

It seems stupid, but this was the best controller mod ever in my opinion

But when you play a game that takes advantage of the haptic feedback, the game changes completely. Not just in terms of use, but the feeling of playing the game. I could go on describing the feeling of rain in Astro’s Playroom, or resistance pulling the trigger in Control: Ultimate Edition. Words don’t do Sony’s haptic feedback justice. It is truly something that needs to be experienced.

Longer Term Benefits

The original PlayStation 3 essentially had a PlayStation 2 built in to get backwards compatibility working. Once the PlayStation 3 was revised though, backwards compatibility was a pleasant memory on Sony consoles.

Expensive as hell, but people forget it was the backwards compatibility king

I was worried about all the hush-hush about backwards compatibility in the lead up to the PlayStation 5’s release. These concerns were unfounded.

Pick almost any PlayStation 4 game, and playing it on PlayStation 5 is the best way to experience it. Frame dips, the visual crispness, load times – pick the metric, and PlayStation 5 is the clear winner. And it just works!

Best of all, especially compared to the original PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro, the PlayStation 5 is super quiet. Sitting a couple of meters away, I can’t hear it at all when playing games. Disc loading is still noisy, but when the game is loaded, it’s definitely not loud.

Taken before the PS5 patch, this looks better than any shot from my PS4 Pro

What about those load times?

The vaunted PlayStation 5 SSD definitely cuts down the load times. Dying in Control is no longer a couple of minute break – it loads in less than 15. And Spider-Man was virtually instantaneous, with loads in the 3-5 second range.

Is the new drive architecture the future? Yes. Is the future here? I don’t think so. I think we are still 6-12 months from seeing games take full advantage of the PlayStation 5 design, with games like Ratchet and Clank being the first ‘true’ next-gen games.

I do not see this loading screen for very long these days

Until then, I think we are seeing benefits. But we are seeing new hardware heavy-lifting for ‘old’ designs, not games that genuinely push the latest tech. Looking at you, Cyberpunk 2077. This isn’t unusual though, and I don’t mean this to be negative.

But speaking of negatives…

Things that are still feeling off.

These are things I have mostly gotten used to, but still don’t feel right. Luckily, they are all things that can change in future updates. But when you first turn on the console – wow.

Turning off your PlayStation used to be holding the PS button and selecting rest/power off from the quick menu. That’s gone. Now you have to press the PS button to bring up a different menu, go over to the power heading and then choose to rest/power off.

The process works, it's just no longer intuitive

The PlayStation Store is now integrated into the menu, which sounded nice. I am having trouble finding anything in the store now, and I am not alone.

Worse is finding what is installed on my console. I have about 10 titles installed on the internal and an external drive. I can see a few of them, then I get to see my entire purchase history and search there.

From the installed games to all of them, and you need to switch to installed? Strange Default options plague the UI

And an old annoyance from PlayStation 3 onwards is back – the Media Player – or lack thereof. You can watch/listen to items from a USB drive, but from a network or a wide choice of formats – nope. Historically this has been enabled after about a year. Third time out it would be nice to have this enabled out of the box.

Speaking of waiting for things to be enabled, what about expanded internal storage? 650ish GB is not much these days, and the vaunted ‘smaller install size’ isn’t around yet.

And a very ‘JohnHQLD’ problem.

After a long delay, I finally got my PSVR adaptor. Unfortunately, I am probably never going to use it.

The adaptor is a USB adaptor, and I have my headset adaptor and an external drive plugged in at the back. This means I would need to use the front USB port, which I am against.

The reasoning can be seen as stupid. If you have something plugged in long term, to me it should be plugged in at the back. The front should be for temporary cables only.

Oh, and in terms of things to plug in, this is just for the PSVR. I would still need another plug for the PlayStation 4 camera.

This is a great bundle - just don't buy it for the PS5

So, I have nowhere to plug in my PSVR. Except for my old PlayStation 4 Pro of course, which is mainly what it will be used for now.

One day I will probably pull everything out and set up PSVR on my PlayStation 5 to see what it’s like, but VR is already extra effort. Sony may have told everyone PSVR is compatible, but they seem to have made sure it’s not a comfortable experience.

But overall, I love my PlayStation 5.

The PlayStation 5 includes many technical innovations I could drone on about for hours. In terms of playing experience, it feels like a natural continuation. Even with launch ‘hiccups’ like those mentioned, I still enjoy sitting down and playing.

That play experience is what counts, and PlayStation 5 has been the smoothest launch in that sense.

So should I get a PlayStation 5?

That is always a tough question and doubly so these days.

The ‘PlayStation vs Xbox’ debate will always be around. My advice for if you should get a PlayStation or Xbox remains as it always is – pick the games you want to play, and get the console you can play it on. If you only want to play Halo, don’t get a PlayStation.

It's not VS - Both are good consoles Image Source: Youtube.com/ProductNation

Then there is the unique situation of the world at the moment. Let’s be frank – stock just isn’t there, and it’s not getting better soon.

Do I love my PlayStation 5? Yes. Do I think the RRP is reasonable? Yes. And that is the catch – the RRP is reasonable. Scalper and price gouges are not.

Would I have paid someone AUD$1000+ for my PlayStation? No. Scalpers and Bot agents should not be rewarded for helping exacerbate the stock situation. Retailers that take advantage by inflating prices should likewise not be rewarded.

The PlayStation 5 is good, but it’s not ‘everyone must have one’ good. Sony may say otherwise, be careful who you listen to.

ebay.com.au screenshot taken Feb 18 2021. Not as bad, but still ridiculous

I do recommend the PlayStation 5 as a great console, but do not pay over retail prices. It’s not worth it, and only encourages people looking to take advantage of others.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD
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