Well, after much fanfare and a fairly messy pre-order window, the Playstation 5 is officially here, and it’s massive.
After landing an early pre-order due to sheer luck, and with no small amount of help from Twitter user Wario64, my console, games and accessories all arrived yesterday without incident.
Cracking it open, I found the usual layout of the controller and necessary cables at the top of the box, and the console stored in the other, larger section.
In addition to the power and HDMI cables, there was also the stand, which helps accommodate the PS5 when laying it on its side.
There’s been a lot of buzz around the new controller, and I must say that even before I set up the system and started playing, I really enjoyed the heft and feel of the updated controller.
The other accessory that I was particularly interested in was Sony’s new Pulse 3D wireless headset.
At $100, the Pulse headset offers some great value considering the quality of the spatial audio in-game. We’ll get to that a bit more later but for now, note that the box includes the USB dongle for wireless use, an aux cable to connect to the controller directly, and a USB-C to USB cable for initial setup/updates.
I connected the PS5 to my 4k TV and began the setup. I really like the approach for social controls, from being completely open to keeping your username and other information restricted to only people that you actively share it with. I opted for an “in-between” setting that gives my friends and contacts a bit more visibility, but still keeps me off the broader network.
I had already sold off my PS4, so I didn’t get a chance to take advantage of the data transfer option. Still, it was easy enough to begin re-downloading games that I wanted to see on the PS5 in all its glory. Bloodborne, Horizon Zero Dawn, etc.
When it comes to software, I picked up the following games for launch:
Spider Man: Miles Morales
I also downloaded Bugsnax because it was free, and it seemed like fun.
The first game I fired up was Demon’s Souls. I had played the game long, long ago when it first arrived on the Playstation 3, before I really developed a taste for the “souls borne” genre. I played it for a handful of hours and grew frustrated with the difficulty before selling it and moving on.
Now, over a decade later, I eagerly welcomed the challenge, and admired the staggering beauty, of this refreshed title. Demon’s Souls is easily the strongest entry in the PS5 launch lineup so far, with dozens of hours of gameplay, haunting backgrounds and tight controls.
It was really during Demon’s Souls that I was struck by the quality of the Pulse headset. When a dragon, mouth stuffed with corpses of soldiers, made its iconic appearance in one of the early segments, I could hear the beating of its wings, its distant roar…it was a thoroughly immersive experience. Furthering this was the fact that as I navigated through the broken castle ruins I could hear the grunts and moans of enemies all around me. Very happy with the Pulse headset so far, and while it can be difficult to find at MSRP right now, it’s certainly a great value at $100.
After some time with Demon’s Souls I launched Godfall – a launch title that seems to have lost a lot of steam in the time since it’s initial announcement. Many saw Godfall as Destiny for the new generation, but with more hacking and slashing and less pew-pew laser action.
While the controls are crisp, and it boasts great environments and sound design, the narrative is painfully predictable in the early hours, and missions appear to be fairly cookie-cutter as well.
Finally, there’s Spider Man: Miles Morales. Fans of Insomniac’s superb web-slinging title will no doubt be sucked back in, with a solid 8-12 hours of new content featuring the one and only Miles Morales. Swinging through New York has never been so smooth, and with new outfits to unlock and even a feline companion to assist in takedowns, it’s a worthwhile add for any launch library.
I haven’t had a chance to explore Astro’s Playroom, but have heard some great things, so I’ll be doing some poking around later today and will report back on my thoughts.
When it comes to the PS5’s latent capability, notably its loading times, I am extremely impressed with what I’ve seen so far. The machine does get loud at times, but the peaks don’t last very long before it finishes loading the environment and returns to an inaudible hum. I’m currently loading in Ghost of Tsushima and will be interested to see how the already impressive load times are enhanced further on the new hardware. Admittedly, with a limited launch library, it’s hard to give a thorough accounting for what the PS5 can do. Indeed, much of the excitement in new generations of hardware is seeing how creative teams can push the hardware to its upper limits and deliver experiences that nobody could think possible in its current state. I, for one, am excited to see what those limits look like.
It’s no mystery that finding a PS5 right now is tough. Inventory is flickering in and out at major retailers like Target, Wal-mart, Amazon and Gamestop. That being said, many reports are saying that the goal is to have plenty of inventory handy for Black Friday and relevant holiday sales. So, don’t lose heart! And definitely don’t pay $800-1000 or more for one on eBay!
The next generation of gaming is here, and while the launch library is thin, there is plenty on the horizon to be excited about: Cyberpunk 2077, Horizon Zero Dawn: Forbidden West, Ratchet and Clank, Resident Evil 8 and many more.
Overall, I’m thrilled with the PS5 so far, and I know that many millions of gamers out there will share in my excitement as well. Here’s to a fun-filled holiday season, and even more exceptional games to get excited about!