Following twelve months of using Sony's latest system, we 've prepared a short recollection.
A year ago, we entered the next-generation of console gaming. It was twelve months ago when we welcomed both Microsoft's Xbox Series X/S and Sony's PlayStation 5 into our homes, and while both had turbulent releases thanks to the the ongoing supply and scalper issues, the devices brought a significant leap in hardware that levelled the playing field considerably between console gaming and what is on offer in PC gaming.
Now that we've had the luxury of really putting these systems through the ringer for a full calendar year, it's time to look back and see how the devices stack up, in particular for this article: the PlayStation 5.
Sony's flagship system on a hardware level is still impressive, yet you can clearly still see the cracks where Xbox Series X has an advantage. Despite having similar tech under the hood, there are plenty of games that run at a slightly lower resolution of the PS5 than they do on XSX, even with both consoles either offering 60fps or 120fps modes in a lot of titles.
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And then there's the memory expansion, which for the PlayStation 5 is just bizarre. You have to physically take apart the device, ground yourself, and buy a specific supported SSD, all to make sure you can store more than three Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold Wars on your system. A hot-swappable SSD memory card is undeniably the better alternative.
Hardware aside, the PS5 also misses the mark when it comes to its menus, which are quite frankly an absolute pain to manage at times. Let's be clear, the Xbox menu isn't fantastic at all, but in comparison, what Microsoft has created is far more streamlined and tidy than what is available on Sony's system, hence the frustration.
But, with this being said, the still most jarring part of the PlayStation 5 is still its physical design. The sheer size of this console makes it an absolute hassle to fit into any home setup, and its unusual look is also vastly different to most other tech, to the point where it can either be perceived as an eyesore or rather some widely misunderstood abstract art. Sony has always leaned towards unconventional appearances with its consoles, with lots of curves and less of a top-box look, but the PS5 takes this approach to a new level, and it can be hard to appreciate this choice at times.
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Yet with these thoughts in mind, the PlayStation 5 also does a lot of things incredibly well. Take the general improvements the system offers over the PS4, and the near-instant load times, faster frame rates, and more detailed resolutions make it hard to even consider a last-gen system these days.
Then there are the new features as well. The Tempest 3D Audio system makes games feel far more immersive and engaging, and the DualSense controller and what that brings to the table with its haptic feedback (adaptive triggers have become a bit of a nuisance) also serve to vastly improve the way we experience games, to the point where we've even favoured playing a game on the PS5 just to see how the haptics perform. It's these inventive and unique features that take the PS5 from being a handy upgrade to an essential system for someone who frequently plays video games.
However, while these were massive boosts for the PS5 at launch, and remain so twelve months later, as is often the case with Sony's consoles, it's not necessarily the system itself that should make you excited to grab one: it's what you can play on it. And for the PlayStation 5 that means an array of Sony Interactive Entertainment titles that very rarely disappoint.
So, with this in mind, how does the PlayStation 5 stack up twelve months later? It's hard to see this console as anything but an essential upgrade for PS4 owners. Between the leap in hardware performance and the brilliance of the DualSense controller, matched up with the array of exclusive games, you get a product that is hard to really sneer at, even if some features and designs are incredibly difficult to stomach. Long story short, if you aren't already fortunate enough to have a PS5 in your home setup, and have the chance to get one (for a reasonable price!), then this is still a recommended and pretty fantastic console that should serve you well for the foreseeable future.