Dec 13 2021

Late PS5 Review – Not A Boast…

Not a boast, just a fact that I’ve owned a disc edition PS5 for awhile now at retail price. So get over it already, just cos you’re all stuck on 8 year old PS Four/Poor garbage (FYI, I have only a mattress and TV on the floor of my room, currently eating out of a tin of beans heated over a tea light candle).

So I’ve had my PS5 since July, purchased via a Very.co.uk deal in which I could only purchase the PS5 if I also bought a £100 bundle that included an extra controller and the PS5 game Ratchet & Clank. Not sure if there’s something there for the ombudsman to look at, as I already had an extra controller from having purchased one to use on my PC, so I’ve now got 3, but atleast Ratchet & Clank was fun enough to play and a good tech demo for the hardware. For everyone else out there, it’s down to you if you’ll enable the scalpers out there, though I can’t imagine them making much of a profit if selling on ebay, who are the real winners here. But in truth and in short, there’s yet not enough PS5 exclusives to really drive anyone away from just still playing on PS4 (Pro) if you’re happy enough with 30fps in certain games etc.

So onto the new technologies provided in the PS5, the biggest being the new Radeon chip in the PS5. Quoted as being 2.5x more powerful than the PS4 Pro and 5x more powerful than the original PS4, now capable of 4K 60fps, I’d say it’s certainly achieved that target, having so far only played the two PS5 exclusives that are built purely for the PS5 hardware, Ratchet & Clank and Astro’s Playroom. For me, the baseline for any gaming experience is to play at 60fps (it doesn’t even need to be any higher than this, as I seem to actually struggle to notice the difference beyond this), which was why I opted for a £200 update at the time to a PS4 Pro for those games that supported higher frame rate. I’ve also been trying to achieve 4K 60fps on my Gaming PC, but trying to even run games on a GTX 1070 in this day and age, means I’m struggling to even achieve medium graphic quality at 1080p.

The inbuilt PCIE Gen4 SSD and bus means loading times no longer exist. Rachet & Clank has you flying through unique world biomes, essentially between the smushy refresh rate of your eyeball, with no discernible, noticeable frame drop when transporting to the new world, with hundreds of new textures loaded instantly. It was both a scary and beautiful experience to see how far we’ve come. Again, something I’d hoped to achieve on my PC, having compiled a custom motherboard firmware for it to support NVME drives at PCIE Gen3, but seeing as Microsoft are now requiring TPM 2.0 to upgrade to Windows 11 for Directx 12 Ultimate, which will make the most of RTX IO for texture streaming, whenever they finally get round to supporting that feature in games, and because I also can’t be bothered at the moment to look up work arounds, means my PC is dead in the water with attempting to give the i7 3770K 4.7Ghz CPU a new lease of life if I can ever acquire a 3080.

The PS5 does have the ability to support ray-tracing, but I don’t think it’s quite upto scratch other than taking screenshots. Does nothing more but drop performance down to 30fps and seems to take ages for scenes to calculate the rays and draw in their effects, lagging by a very noticeable margin against the rest of the scene updating, making it a blurry mess. It ticks a box for Sony, but not for gamers.

The elephant in the room is the PS5 itself. It’s fucking chunky. It takes up pretty much all the space I had reserved in my cabinet for it, whereas my PS4 Pro only took up about 60% of this space. As you can see below, it’s the same size as an Xbox One S and Wii U side-by-side. It also weighs a tonne, so installing it was actually quite difficult. I have mine resting horizontal, with the much-required stand underneath it. Since its announcement, I’ve always considered the curvature of the PS5 ugly, and I still agree with that. Whilst it may appear futuristic and organic in nature, I’d rather just have the straight lines a piece of hardware is supposed to have for simplicity and stacking shit on top of it. The first thing I did was change the faceplates from the original white to some 3rd party black plates. Whilst I prefer this look at least, I’ve since seen the v.2 of Dbrands dark plates, and probs would prefer the PS5 without the collars as long as this doesn’t lead to the PS5 case LEDS blinding me, which you have no control over with colour or brightness. I’d certainly say there is enough airflow for cooling, though the fan at idle speed is noticeable, about the same as the PS4 Pro if idling, but it probably is better when playing intensive PS4 games the Pro struggled with.

PS5 size compared to Xbox One S and Wii U.

IO on the PS5 means we have 1x 2.1 HDMI, 2x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type A, 1x USB 2.0 Type A, 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C (which I currently have a 1TB Samsung T5 SSD hooked up to for storing PS4 isos). Sadly, we have the omission of a Toslink port for older surround systems such as my LG HT554PH for my 5.1 setup, but having since acquired a 4K HDMI passthrough digital audio extractor, this has worked fine in extracting Dolby/DTS 5.1 alongside ensuring the video signal remains HDCP compliant with no noticeable audio processing delay. What I really think all these fucking new gen consoles require though is an additional HDMI output! Have Sony and Microsoft not seen how everyone is using PCs, with atleast dual monitor setups. There’s plenty of scenarios this would have benefitted the new consoles, with providing increased screen real estates for those games that support dual monitors, for streamers that want to stream directly from their console, monitoring chat and stream quality on the second monitor, to being able to look up guides online or playing video on this second monitor, with all audio only coming from a single audio source on the PS5 such as a pair of headphones which no other setup is going to conventionally allow. I’ve noticed having a second monitor playing a 1080p stream on my PC makes it take a 5 to 10% hit in performance, surely something Sony could brace for in impact to gameplay, whilst having potentially something over Microsoft, who fucked up with their second HDMI port on their previous gen Xbox, only using it as an input to allow passthrough for a PS4 console. Whether they ever support video out of the USB C port for an additional monitor other than supporting the PSVR V2 through it.

The PS5 dualsense controller is a leap from the PS4 dualshock controller. Whilst unfortunately it still suffers using the same basic ass analogue sticks by ALPS that have been in use I think since PS3, probs PS2, which are still prone to having an annoying click if you move the stick slowly to the right, completely killing any immersion, the feedback triggers are definitely next gen immersion and the greatest thing since the wandering cursor wii remote. Shooters really benefit from the force feedback, with Ratchet & Clank having a very smart system of allowing you to have dual gun modes by only pulling back the left trigger half way or all the way, with a noticeable click in between and extra force required to activate. I still can’t believe people complained about built-in controller vibration in the last generations, as long as it was done properly, it was great, and this gen, vibration sensitivity has only gotten more defined.

The user interface is sadly a little cut down from the features the PS4 sported, and whilst they’ve added some things that were supposed to make navigation easier and released some updates to fix how trophies displayed from cards back to a list format, the PS4 had the best UI of all consoles so far. For a start, the PS4 supported themes, which meant you could personalise your PS4 to your own preference, something I’d consider quite mandatory now in our woke society. Games could be bundled into folders, rather than swept constantly away into a library, losing track of. There was an in-built web browser, which I used to use all the time for watching Korean TV. I’ve yet to find a decent work around other than having to dust off and boot up the old Xbox One. The trophy menu always now seems to take me an extra few steps to get into, though there is atleast the inclusion of a trophy tracker (but this tbh could now exist on the PS4, which I’ve fallen out of touch with). What is nice is how quickly you can navigate straight into the Appstore, browsing through titles rather than waiting around for the delay it took to launch on the PS4 and if anyone can recall, the hour long wait it used to take to load on the PS3.

Now I definitely opted for the Disk Edition of the PS5, as I’ve got a massive backlog of physical PS4 games to still play through, sat to one side, alongside expecting to be able to pickup plenty of cheap games going forward and also of course for the ability to resell any PS5 titles. The additional £100 difference, I’d consider is worth it in the long run, and who knows, I might one day buy a 4K blu-ray movie to watch on it. What’s been quite interesting are the PS4 original games that come with the free PS5 upgrades. The upgrades are substantial, but essentially it means these ‘PS4’ games are currently quite cheap on the market with a free performance boost. Having said all this, it’ll be interesting if Sony do something similar to Xbox game pass and essentially provide a massive library of games for a tenner a month, which whilst I don’t think there’s an argument for buying a digital edition PS5, as you’re locked to only paying for overpriced digital games or just stuck playing fortnite for free, which you can play anyway on an old beat-up PS4, I do think the Xbox Series S, omitting a disc drive, but for the cheap price, 1440p support and Game Pass sub, is essentially the best gaming deal money can currently buy if you’ve neither a gaming PC or looking for a new console.

Gaming has been a treat on this console. PS5 titles I’ve played so far, including the ones with free PS4 upgrades, have been butter smooth. Ratchet & Clank and Astro’s Playroom were great fun as tech demos. Astro’s Playroom was a great tribute to Sony’s past, and was nostalgic looking back over the last 25 years. Sadly, there has been a lack of PS5 exclusives that I’ve any interest in at the moment. Other than having played Immortals Fenyx Rising, Watchdogs: Legion and Division 2, everything else I’ve played has been PS4 titles such as Far Cry 5, New Dawn, Annie etc. Atleast with backwards compatibility, I don’t have to hang onto my old consoles, as I’ve had to do with my PS3, or at least means I can give them away to none-gaming family members, ie they’ve acquired new 4K video entertainment boxes.

I’m looking forward to what the future of the PS5 has instore. I don’t think I’ll be buying into the PSVR ecosphere once the second headset drops, as I did with the first one and was never impressed with the quality, whilst I’m perfectly happy with my Oculus Quest 2 and linking that to the PC. I’ve yet to see the need for acquiring an additional NVME drive for the PS5 as some have my friends have jumped to obtaining as soon as the PS5 supported it, as I’ve yet to have any actual PS5 games to store on even the internal storage never mind external. I do want to see some improvement to the quality of parts used in the dualsense controllers, and it’ll be interesting to see what the next iteration of the PS5 console will look like/perform in a few years, by which hopefully everyone will be able to jump onto the next gen bandwagon without the scalpers trying to make a buck.

Again, I may currently have a PS5 console at retail price, but that’s just a fact, it’s not a boast, at all.

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Anything attract your attention?