Getting my hands on the PS5 was a pain in the ass, but boy was it worth it. I would have never secured one on launch day had it not been for the help of a close friend, but I’m happy to report that it was totally worth the headache.
The PlayStation 5 is an awesome piece of tech with great games, and my first weekend with the thing was honestly unforgettable.
After the longest car ride of my life, I unboxed the console and set it up inside one of the shelves of my TV stand. I was honestly grossed out by the design of the console when it was first revealed online, but I’m glad to say that it’s a slick looking machine in person. The white arches that sandwich the console give it a premium and futuristic look, kind of like what you’d imagine Elon Musk’s house looks like. And even though it’s massive, the added space gives the console airflow, so it runs much cooler and more quietly than the PS4. In fact, the machine is virtually silent when playing games at their most hardware intensive settings.
PlayStation 5’s upgraded hard drive is a pleasant surprise as well. It reduces load times to virtually nothing, and makes the console’s menu systems feel far snappier than any console I’ve used before. These reduced load times drastically streamline the experience of certain games as well. One of the PS5’s exclusive launch games is a remake of a 2009 PS3 classic, “Demon’s Souls.” In the OG version of “Demon’s Souls,” you die a shit ton ’cause the game is hard, and it sends you back to the beginning of the level after every death. On the PS3, it would take upwards of two and a half minutes to load back to the beginning of a level, but thanks to the PS5’s new harddrive, the remake’s load times are usually about five seconds.
I have to mention the Dualsense as well, which has to be the best gaming controller I’ve ever used. Its feel is a bit bulkier than the PS4 controller, but its face buttons, triggers, and thumbsticks all feel much more tactile and responsive. The controller also brings two new transformative features to the table: dynamic triggers and haptic feedback. The dynamic triggers can be programmed to take more or less pressure to push depending on the design of the game. For example, if you’re playing “Spider-Man: Miles Morales” and Spider-Man launches a web, the triggers will increase in pressure as your character arches their swing to simulate the feeling of swinging on a webbed rope.
The haptic feedback works similarly, in that it simulates what the player character is experiencing on screen. For example, if you’re playing “Demon’s Souls” and an enemy strikes a sword against your shield, the controller’s internal haptic feedback motors will simulate the feeling of metal clashing. If an enemy launches an explosive and it hits the ground to the left of your player character, the left side of the controller will simulate the feeling of the explosion. It’s hard to explain with words, but these features are a fucking trip and one of the most rewarding innovations in gaming hardware since the hybrid design of the Nintendo Switch.
A console would be nothing without its games, and the PS5 has some great ones, specifically its exclusive launch titles “Spider-Man: Miles Morales” and “Demon’s Souls.” Both games take advantage of the console’s new features and provide a thorough first impression of what to expect from this new generation of games.
“Spider-Man: Miles Morales” is a sequel to “Marvel’s Spider-Man” from 2018, and even though it’s smaller in scale, it still brings enough gameplay and story improvements to the table to make it a worthy sequel and an even better game than its predecessor. The power of the PS5 makes swinging around NYC pop more than ever thanks to new “ray tracing” lighting technology. This new tech allows extremely detailed lighting effects, so the glow of neon signs and passing cars realistically reflect off the puddles in the street as you zip through the city.
My favorite of the launch games I’ve played so far is the remake of “Demon’s Souls,” an extremely difficult medieval fantasy dungeon crawler. It also has to be the best looking console game I’ve ever lain my eyes on. The level of detail in its character models, environments, sound design, and overall presentation are consistently jaw-dropping and bring a whole new level of polish to an already classic game.
The mechanics of the game are basically unchanged from the 2009 version besides aspects of its presentation, but this is a good thing since its gameplay didn’t need much revision anyways. Don’t play this game unless you’re in for a brutal challenge, but if you like that sort of thing, “Demon’s Souls” might end up being one of your favorite games.
I’m happier with the launch of the PlayStation 5 than I ever imagined I would be. The speed of the system, its controller, and its incredible launch games make this my favorite console launch that I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. If you have the chance, go out and get a PS5; you’ll have a good time.