Sony PlayStation 5 review: Showcasing this generation’s potential

PlayStation 5

MSRP $500.00

“Sony’s PlayStation 5 is the next-gen console to purchase this generation.”


  • Speedy hardware
  • Excellent game load times
  • Attractive design
  • Several enticing next-gen titles
  • Recent controller with enhanced haptics


  • Limited cupboard space on all models
  • Console could be very large

The expectations for Sony because it went into the present console cycle were preposterously high. The PlayStation 4 was a rousing success, and gamers are anticipating the corporate will open latest, previously unimagined possibilities with its next-generation system.

The PlayStation 5 not only met those expectations, it made them seem conservative. With lightning-fast load speeds and progressive (and fascinating) changes to the DualShock controller, the PS5 sets the bar for the following generation of gaming.

Digital Trends initially reviewed the PlayStation 5 over the course of just below two weeks, but this review has since been updated in 2022. This review focuses on the larger $500 Blu-ray drive version of the console, but Sony says that’s the only difference between this model and its smaller $400 brother, the so-called Digital Edition. While we originally were only in a position to test a handful of games, we’ve since put the console through its paces via a string of exclusives and PS Plus titles. Nearly two years later, we’re still as high on the PS5 as we were at launch.

The hardware: It’s fast, and it’s huge

Playstation 5Dennis Cortés on Unsplash

Sony, from the very starting, has said the PS5 is about speed. But until you experience it, it’s hard to convey just how big a difference speed could make.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales loads in seconds — and when you’re in the sport, you’ll never experience a load screen of any sort, even whenever you take the subway. Want hints and suggestions for the sport that sometimes populate loading screens? You’ll have to search out them some other place.

That optimization can also be apparent in other Sony-published titles, like Horizon Forbidden West. It adds tremendously to the immersion factor of games, and it positively impacts the flow of the story in narrative titles. Jumping into games quickly is just as satisfying.

It’s interesting to notice this perceived difference in performance stems from software, fairly than hardware. Technically, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X is the more powerful console, though the PlayStation 5 has an edge in storage performance. The Xbox lacks a robust exclusive library, nonetheless, and comparatively few last-gen games take full advantage of the brand new console’s capabilities. This provides the PlayStation 5 an enormous advantage even two years on.

The PlayStation 5’s physical design generally is a problem. It’s a honking big piece of hardware, and should you opt to position it horizontally, the stand (which is essential to correct for the system’s curved sides) doesn’t lock onto the back panels. Because of this, you should have to fret about slippage should you’re adjusting the cables. You won’t wish to put anything on top of it, either. Do you have to select vertical positioning, you’ll have a mini-skyscraper near your TV, which, depending in your room layout, might be jarring.

Living room with Microsoft Xbox Series X (L) and Sony PlayStation 5 home video game consoles alongside a television and soundbar.Future Publishing/Getty Images

Microsoft’s Xbox Series X is a smaller, squatter console that isn’t quite as imposing, but its boxlike shape will still mean trouble for the common A/V cabinet. Gamers with limited space for a console may as a substitute consider the Xbox Series S, which is far smaller than the PlayStation 5 or Series X and has a more traditional slate-like shape.

Storage: There’s not enough

The PS5’s Achilles’ heel is cupboard space. Because of the proprietary solid-state drive and the scale of the operating system, players will only have 667GB of the 825GB hard disk available for games. That may be a paltry amount that can end in the identical headache players faced with the PS4. They’ll should select which titles to maintain on their system, and which to delete (even in the event that they can redownload them typically).

Most up-to-date PlayStation 4 owners little question bought the PS4 Pro, which shipped with 1TB of cupboard space. Discounting the storage reserved by the system, a PS4 Pro 1TB offered about 862GB of obtainable storage. The PlayStation 5 is kind of far behind that, despite the ever-inflating size of AAA games.

Owners can expand that quantity by buying and installing an NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD. The console has an open SSD slot for just that purpose, and we’ve put together a listing of a few of the very best options you’ll find. These are the one hard drives that can allow you to benefit from the PS5’s load speeds. A typical NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD is about $200, which isn’t low cost. On the plus side, it’s a bit lower than the $220 storage cards utilized by Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and S consoles.

You can even hook up an external HDD or SSD, but you won’t see the speed benefits of the system on any games stored there. And any PS5 games stored there won’t be playable until you transfer them to the interior drive, making external drives useful just for older games.

The controller: It’s a win

A person holds up a PS5 controller.Totte Annerbrink/Unsplash

If load times are the first weapon of the PS5, the brand new DualSense controller is the secondary. And it’s impressive.

Barely larger than the DualShock 4, it refines haptic feedback, incorporating a precise sense of touch into the video game experience that force feedback never did before. This might turn into hokey (and, in fairness, it would in years to come back), but for now, it adds one other layer to games, increasing player immersion.

Struggling to drag open a heavy door or draw a bow? The hand triggers can convey that tension. Had a rough landing as you drive over a hill or a slog through a muddy area? You’ll realize it. This latest haptic feedback is a subtle thing that, like the shortage of load screens, you’ll soon take without any consideration. You won’t realize how quickly you’ve gotten used to it until it’s not there.

To this point, the special features have been hit or miss. Some games are somewhat too overeager to play with the adaptive triggers, making them physically difficult to play. However the handful of games that basically benefit from the controller show just how special it’s. Returnal, as an illustration, uses haptic feedback incredibly well, letting you are feeling every drop of rain or simulating a parasite squirming in your hands. Moments like that make the PS5’s experiences unlike anything available on the market today.

A latest built-in microphone is less useful in most games but will help you briefly chat with friends with no headset.

The associated fee of this latest functionality is battery life. The DualSense has a chargeable battery (versus the Series X’s reliance on AA batteries), but we found that charge to empty quickly. Charging via the PS5’s USB rarely resulted in a full charge, whether in standby mode or if left on at full power. A separate charging stand, provided by Sony, did charge the controller fully.

PlayStation 4 controllers will work with the PlayStation 5, but only with PS4 games played through backward compatibility. Microsoft offers controller cross-compatibility that lets old Xbox One controllers work with the brand new Xbox.

Games and software: The star of the show

Microsoft found itself within the awkward spot of getting to debut a latest console with no first-party launch title, but Sony was in an enviable position initially.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is terrific fun that showcases many, if not all, of the PS5’s features. Its story is on the short side, but there are many side missions to stretch things along. The bundled Astro’s Playground is a hidden gem of a platformer, loaded with Easter eggs that hark back to a stripped-down Super Mario Bros., while still acting as a walk-through of the PS5 controller’s latest features.

Those games alone made for a robust launch, but Sony has done a superb job of pushing the momentum since then. The console has had several exclusives since then, all of that are prime quality. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is among the best platformers you possibly can buy, and it’s a technical powerhouse. Horizon Forbidden West is a mesmerizing open-world game, even when Elden Ring ate its lunch at launch. Gran Turismo 7 has some microtransaction hiccups, however it’s a superb racing simulator for many who wish to push the console’s power. The PS4 excelled because of its constant string of hits and that’s held up for Sony to this point within the PS5 era.

On top of that, Sony recently relaunched its PS Plus service, giving subscribers access to over 700 games. That features some retro titles dating back to the PS1 era. While it’s not as compelling as Game Pass, it’s a much-needed service that provides PlayStation fans something to do in between all of the big-ticket games. Sony has a greater ecosystem built now than it did at launch, which has only made the PS5 a stronger value.

The long run

The PS5 continues to be the system to beat on this console generation, but while previous cycles had a transparent path forward, this one is far cloudier. Specifically, cloud gaming is a delivery method that’s gaining traction amongst publishers, just as digital delivery did within the early 2010s.

Microsoft has embraced that technology, letting users play virtually any Xbox game through whatever device they own (as long as they’ve Xbox Game Pass ultimate). Sony has its own cloud integration with PS5, but despite buying two innovators available in the market (OnLive and Gaikai) way back, the corporate has did not do much to energise its base and construct that business.

Will cloud gaming make console power less relevant within the years to come back? It’s hard to say. Gamers are skeptical of the technology, fearing lag, however the spread of high-speed web could erase those concerns. And if cloud gaming truly becomes a major delivery method, Sony could find itself behind the pack as Microsoft brings Xbox to only about every device.

That’s the longer term, though. For now, Sony has delivered a terrific next-generation console, complete with at the least one must-play, system-selling game. It has managed to construct on the momentum of the PS4, innovate without reaching too far, and offers gamers a beacon of hope in a yr where that has been spotty at best.

Our take

The PlayStation 5 is the whole lot gamers wanted — and more. While cupboard space is an actual concern and Sony’s long-term view of industry shifts is questionable, there’s no denying that it is a true next-generation machine. It makes existing games more fun and has a robust library of exclusives that’s only expanding.

Is there a greater alternative?

No. The PS5 beats the competition handily and makes the PS4 seem almost archaic.

How long will it last?

Expect a protracted life from this method. The most important hurdle is the shift to cloud-based gaming. If that happens quicker than industry insiders expect, Sony could have a tough time maintaining with Microsoft.

Do you have to buy one?

Yes. The PlayStation 5 is a game system that lives as much as the next-generation label.

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