PlayStation 5 Review

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from Pole Position to first place at the beginning of this seven year marathon, the PlayStation brand remains atop the gaming world with its newest evolution in home console hardware,
the PlayStation 5.

Dan Rizzo - DashGamer.com

PlayStation 5 Review

Do Not underestimate the Power...

There was an auspicious aura heading into the next generation. After the PlayStation 4 dominated the last cycle of home console hardware, rising anticipation for what the Japanese mass multimedia conglomerate had in store for its PlayStation brand was in question. It was game of poker, and Sony certainly had their poker-face on from the beginning. Lead Engineer Mark Cerny, had teased us briefly with the PlayStation 5’s potential with his dulcet tones, inspiring a litany of ASMR videos scattered around YouTube, speaking of PlayStation 5’s capabilities with the hardware implemented in PS5’s complex main frame. While we salivated, Cerny had spoke of Audio enhancements that would promise an enriched experience that would revolutionise the way we comprehend our surrounding environments.

Personally, audio was the last thing on my mind but it was interesting to note that they devoted an entire presentation set on 3D audio, which in turn had me questioning what else the unit could bring? The underlying omission of backwards compatibility will always underscore PS5’s legacy, however the inclusion of PlayStation 4 games impacting its overly successful launch will be noted with an incredible offering for PlayStation Plus users. But its not just an accessible line-up of high calibre titles that pushed its acclaim; the PlayStation 5’s launch window is incredibly solid A library of heavy hitting properties available within its first year has gamers on the edge of their seat. Then there’s the real game changer in this mix, the controller. A radical turn in stereotypical gaming. PlayStation’s first slogan was “Do not underestimate the power of PlayStation”, and it’s fitting that it no doubt encapsulates the brand’s entire estate.

PlayStation's Poker Face...

Keeping things familiar yet refreshing their infrastructure, the PlayStation 5 takes a leaf from its aesthetically sleek dashboard designs in previous iterations, and amalgamates them to manifest its polished user interface. From cold boot to sign in, the intent is to make PlayStation faithful feel right at home with a sense of homespun intimacy. Assigning multiple users to one console, and generating new user ID’s for anyone making the leap to the blue brand is as seamless as it was in prior years, if anything a steady streamlined approach has been upgraded to make these features easier to utilise. Of course, using the PlayStation App on your Mobile/Cell phone to customise your display picture makes things a lot easier to identify the allotted user from the onset. I do miss having Facebook be apart of the PlayStation user experience, but anything that diverts attention away from social media these days is a massive plus in my books.

Getting acquainted with the PlayStation 5’s new UI menu is as easy as it was with the PlayStation 4. Not much has changed other than placement of recently played title’s and applications. The commonplace of disc insertion and data installation is all recognisable, but it’s the digital front that makes a huge, if anything an emphatic difference; one that I assure you, will be appreciated from many of the PlayStation 4 devout. It was no secret that the PlayStation Store on the PS4 was a buggy mess. At times it was difficult to load the storefront, find titles, and the task of downloading a game became a chore in itself. Taking a page from XBOX, PlayStation have baked in the entire digital store right from the main menu. Simply hovering over the PlayStation Store Icon and browsing through a myriad of PlayStation exclusives is quite the noticeable improvement.

PS5 SPECS

Price: $749 (Standard), $599 (Digital Edition)
CPU: 3.5GHz, 8-core AMD Zen 2
GPU: 10.3 teraflop RDNA 2 GPU
RAM: 16GB GDDR6
Storage: Custom 825GB SSD
Expansion: NVMe M.2 SSD slot
Disc drive: 4K Blu-ray player
Dimensions: 39.2cm x 25.9cm x 10.5cm
Weight: 4.5kg (10lbs) 

This attributes to four key factors within the hardware’s architecture, that has made PS5 user experience vastly superior to its generational counterparts. Doubling its memory from the PlayStation 4 Pro, the PS5 entails a meaty GDDR6 16GB RAM, allowing the hardware to run everything at optimal speeds with some bank leftover for heavy lifting later in the console’s lifecycle. A fraction behind XBOX Series X’s GPU, the custom built RDNA 2 processor, runs at a whopping 10 Terraflops of Raw unmitigated power, and an astonishing 32 compute units placing it side-by-side with the most incredulous graphics available. To put in perspective for those who follow the PC gaming market, an RTX 2080 entails 11.1 TFLOPS. While a graphics card’s compute units (CU) depends on a number of variables including texture buffer, lighting and shading, a home console pre-renders things a little differently, but I digress. The point is, the PlayStation 5 is a powerhouse.

On a performance level, the PS5’s custom NVMe SSD excels the unit’s overall speed, marrying itself intimately with software from both current and previous generations quite perfectly. However, its stock standard storage capacity is abysmal. 826GB out of the box (667GB usable after OS Installation) without an option to install a secondary NVMe M.2 without a necessary software update is confounding to say the least. Sure it’s handy to have an external pocket drive to plug in, but its ability to only run PS4 titles nulls its cooperation with the unit itself. PlayStation desperately need to release this firmware update as soon as possible, as it has become an inconvenience to many that keep their library installed to their system. Excuses such as “delete it once you’re done” are simply that, excuses; they contribute no betterment, nor do they criticise the issue at hand.

With 3x the Memory Bandwidth of the PlayStation 4 Pro, the PS5’s 448GB/s read speed supersedes load times that are incomparable – the old apples and oranges adage would be applied here. Load times are almost non-existent, with instantaneous leaps made from home menu UI, to in-game within a matter of seconds. Spider-Man: Miles Morales takes the meritorious mention, with a prime display of PlayStation’s powerful potential. Then there are performance tweaks made to PlayStation 4 titles such as God of War and Final Fantasy VII: Remake, that run at an optimal 4K/60FPS native. If you thought those games were gorgeous on the PlayStation 4 Pro, then you haven’t seen them at their greatest on the PlayStation 5. While next gen’s vocational advancements have been to unequivocally overtake the last generation gaming, there is a fraction of semblance that seeps through.

Sporting titles such as NBA2K21 on PlayStation 5 echo its PlayStation 4 counterpart with identical gameplay, however differentiates itself with aesthetic adjustments to elevate its simulation. EA’s FIFA21 on next gen consoles has taken a minimalistic attempt in wowing its audience by introducing realistic hair follicles that would make Sephiroth jealous, while other third party titles such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla primarily focus on shaders and the addition of the Dualsense’s incredible capabilities. Of course owning a next gen home console, it’s imperative to have home internet and the PlayStation 5 may have finally perfected one of the PS4’s biggest flaws, connectivity. With speeds capable of reaching up to 10GB/s down, the PS5’s online experience obliterates its fathered generation’s measly 100MB/s down (dependent on data location), once again a contributing factor that meshes with every aforementioned puzzle piece in designing Sony’s home console, making the confident construct a computer engineer’s wet dream.

Out of the box...

Let’s not kid ourselves, aesthetically speaking we expected more of the same in terms of the PlayStation 5’s build. Housing hardware of such high magnitude in such a small unit calls for a contemporary, if anything simple look. From the PlayStation 2, Sony’s trademark big black box with the obligatory “PS” symbol embroidered across the top/front/side had become the manufacturer’s calling card. Deviating from the norm, PlayStation once again took a sharp U-turn and surprised fans with its unconventional design. Not since the PlayStation 3 had Sony perplexed its userbase with an unordinary take on its home console line-up. Sure, it has the PlayStation Logo imprinted right atop the towering mammoth, but the disparity in its unique form factor highlights PlayStation’s prospect in advancing the gamer’s inwardness towards its branding.

Standing at a whopping 39.2cm tall, a lengthy 25.9cm deep, and a mere 10.5cm wide, the PS5 makes a bold statement in real estate. Dwarfing not only its generational counterparts but its competition, the PlayStation 5 weighs in at a bulky 4.5kgs (10lbs) and is kept upright (or on its side, depending on preference) by the included stand that adds another 2cm to the colossal chassis’ height. Unlike other home consoles that will sit comfortably on you entertainment unit, the soaring extravagance of the PS5 will have you playing Tetris with existing devices in hopes of having everything sit neatly. In short, its best to pack away any unused homes consoles and make way for the PlayStation 5’s paramount dominance. If you don’t have room for the PS5 on your cabinet, my best advice would be to get yourself a small table or chair to sit it on, do not place this on your floor – no matter the material, it will attract and vacuum dust like no one’s business.

The mainframe of the unit includes 3x USB Type-A ports (one on the front, and two at rear of the unit), along with a USB Type-C port, which we can only assume is the access point for PlayStation’s rumoured next iteration of PSVR. Then it’s simply a self-explanatory 2.1 HDMI slot, an I/O Ethernet port for gamers that prefer an immaculate online experience (CAT6 Cable recommended), and the universal Figure 8 power port, which came in handy for myself as I have three built-in to my entertainment unit for ease-of-access. With ventilation a top priority after the PS4 Pro’s airflow mishap, Mark Cerny strived to promise players a welcoming experience from Boeing-747 like fan noise the last home console disposed. Reports of base models climbing towards a steady, yet loud 55dB and Pro units topping a roaring 65.3dB, gamers were pessimistic at Cerny’s promise of an intimate, silent home console demonstration.

from Pole Position to first place at the beginning of this seven year marathon, the PlayStation brand remains atop the gaming world with its newest evolution in home console hardware, the PlayStation 5.

It’s no secret that I have been a critic of the PlayStation 4 Pro’s fan noise, but was it ever welcoming to finally sit back and experience a graphically intense title such as The Last of Us Part II, or Final Fantasy VII: Remake without my entire entertainment unit vibrating from the sheer potential of my PlayStation chartering for international flight. Coupling with the CPU’s liquid metal cooling solution, the PS5’s custom fan mould is inspired by the critically acclaimed Noctua brand for PC builds that exhibit an exquisite balance of quietness and performance. There has been a reported disparity between early press units, and retail units with differentiating models of the “silenciuex” fan (23 blades), but I can certainly state from using the “moins silenciuex” (17 blades) model that it makes as much noise as a pocket fan, quite impressive.

It’s vital to keep your PS5 in a clean, well ventilated space as you don’t want any mounting dust leading to possible hardware failure. With probability in mind, designers of the console’s housing included three dust catchers to allow access for owners in easily vacuuming their units with a regular dust buster, or for the experienced tech-head that may already own the slightly smaller, but highly operative and handy Datavac, primarily used to clean the internals of a PC or Laptop with zero static build-up. The top, sides and back of the chassis entails a number of vents included along the the curvature of its piano finish, allowing any warm air to be pushed out of the device instantly. Noting the sleek, reflective coating on the face of the machine, it’s guaranteed to attract any dust particles floating within its vicinity, like a magnet to a fridge.

Pet owners, beware. This will grab a hold of every cat or dog hair fibre and attach itself to every opening imaginable. Ventilation is protected by two off-white matte finish/patterned plates fitted for each side of the unit. The contrast of both white and black changes the dynamic of the PlayStation 5’s aesthetic, hoping to accommodate both fans of the white and black variants of previous generations. The removable plates suggest Sony are looking to release custom, or limited edition plates instead of mass manufacturing a variety of special edition home consoles. A welcoming addition for collectors that are looking at budget friendly options instead of spending exorbitant amounts on the exact same hardware with differentiated housing. The sacred symbols (Triangle, Circle, Cross and Square) are concealed nicely within the texture coating of both the PS5’s protective covers and Dualsense controller; a neat little easter egg.

Limitless potential...

Accessibility seems to mastermind the PlayStation 5’s limitless potential as it aims to welcome in players from all platforms, with gaming’s most innovative features to date. The Dualsense is PlayStation’s prodigy that will lead them towards prevalent and predominant period of success. Slightly tweaking its uniform DualShock design, the Dualsense leaps forward in the evolution of immersive gaming. A combination of four motors have been installed within the controller, matching their respective task in delivering haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. A spiral piece set below the triggers dictate the trigger’s resistance, along with a potentiometer soldered to their respective motherboards, sending signals for each trigger’s pressure point. It’s tech like this that I find quite impressive, defining next generation.

The two Foster branded motors placed within both handle points are designed specifically to mimic environments on-screen with 3D feedback applied in each rumble. Nintendo tried to pursue something similar within the Joy Con, but was never able to perfect it like the Dualsense has. The XBOX Controller certainly tried something different from the previous generation, including rumble feedback within their adaptive triggers but are certainly lacking the fascination that envelopes while pushing down upon each trigger on the Dualsense. An internal mic has been placed on the controller, presenting players with the option of foregoing a traditional headset and mic. Astonishingly, the mic itself is not half bad. The Quality is on par of the PS4’s Wireless Stereo Headset and does an amazing job with noise cancellation. However, I still recommend picking up the new PlayStation 3D Pulse wireless headset for a comfortable experience.

With these additions made on top of the returning PS4 onboard speaker and touchpad, there is cause for concern in the controller’s battery life. When the DualShock 4 hit the market, its industry standard 1000 mAh battery was hit with massive criticism for depleting at rapid rates. The DualShock 4’s light bar indicator, the touchpad, the speaker and its Sixaxis motion technology were all contributing factors that had fans disappointed, along with each analogue sticks poor durability. Learning from mistakes made last generation, the new Dualsense entails a 1560 mAh battery (50% larger than the aforementioned pak), leaving PlayStation fans with prolonged gametime without interruption. Is it perfect? Not quite, but it does the job. In my recent XBOX Series X review, I noted that the XBOX Controller remained the most comfortable gaming remote on the market. This has since changed.

The build quality of the Dualsense excels beyond anything either company has manufactured prior, and may continue to deliver. Acquainting myself upon my initial impressions, firmly taking grip of the icy white, matted texture of this revolutionary hardware, I immediately fell in love. Audibly gasping at its comfort, something I took issue in the DualShock 4 at first, before succumbing to its bargain like quality. Keeping its entire presentation uniform, it upholds the home console’s colour scheme. The sacred symbols have been stripped of their gaudy depiction, marrying with its simple delivery. The directional pad and the four main operative buttons are replaced with a clear polycarbonate finish, with much of the rest remaining similar to the PS4’s layout. The nubs on the analogue sticks call for heavy duty playtime, however do have the potential of wear and tear over a prolonged period. Stacking up every PlayStation controller conceived, there’s nothing that can match the quality, the potential and the technology the Dualsense brings.

The generation has only just begun, but the PlayStation 5 has certainly taken the lead with its astonishing technological masterpiece in the Dualsense. In that one piece of hardware alone, Sony have changed the game once again. Unequivocally discernible that the Japanese multimedia manufacturer continue to claim the gaming space as their safe haven, beyond any market they’re currently involved in. Direct competitors Nintendo and XBOX have a lot to learn with Sony’s distinguished application that excels beyond the conventional home console. The PlayStation 5 is the home console to look out for this generation. Sure, we’re just getting started and there still is hope for the green team to blow us away, but from Pole Position to first place at the beginning of this seven year marathon, the PlayStation brand remains atop the gaming world with its newest evolution in home console hardware, the PlayStation 5.

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PlayStation 5 - Sony

The PlayStation 5 (PS5) is a home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Announced in 2019 as the successor to the PlayStation 4, the PS5 was released on November 12, 2020 in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, North America, and South Korea, and November 19, 2020 onwards in other major markets except China. The console is scheduled to be launched in India on February 2, 2021.

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