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First impressions: How are reviewers reacting to the PlayStation 5?

November 6, 2020 | By Chris Kerr




The next-generation officially arrives next week. Gamasutra has already been hands on with Microsoft's forward-thinking duo, the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, and dutifully jotted down some musings for your reading pleasure

How though, is the PlayStation 5 shaping up? Although we won't be getting our mitts on the colossal console until next week at the earliest, the reviews have started to trickle in and it seems like the super-sized machine is making quite the impression. 

There's plenty of focus on the DualSense controller, which is looking to replace and outshine the veteran DualShock with the addition of all new technology like immersive haptics, dynamic adaptive triggers, and a built-in microphone. Many reviewers claim the re-imagined pad is the most 'next-gen' thing about the PS5, suggesting it manages to make good on its promise of sensory immersion. 

As with the Xbox Series S and X, however, there's some skepticism regarding the PS5's launch line-up. Despite plenty of praise for exclusive titles like Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Demon's Souls -- both of which, reviewers seem to agree, look absolutely stunning on the PS5 -- the launch library is still glaringly limited. 

To give you an idea of what else is being uttered in the various corners of the internet, we've trawled through a bunch of PS5 reviews and posted some of the most insightful impressions below. Oh, and props to everyone who managed to churn out a console review during election week -- we feel your pain. 

Jason Schreier - Bloomberg

"It’ll be up to game developers to implement the PlayStation 5’s hardware flourishes. Even promising features can be forgotten, as was the case with advanced rumble technology in previous generations. Going up against the Xbox Series X, which hasn’t brought much to the table beyond better specs, Sony’s controller is the only thing that really feels next-gen."

Kyle Orland - Ars Technica 

"For now, we can say the PS5 is an intriguing evolution in the PlayStation line, with a lot of interesting and experimental features on top of the expected hardware improvements. Today, though, many if not most of the PS5's biggest titles are also available in largely similar, only slightly worse-looking forms on the PS4. Given that, it's hard to wholeheartedly recommend spending $500 for feature upgrades that are more pleasant than transformative."

Keza MacDonald - The Guardian

"The PlayStation 5 is quite expensive. The console itself is £450 (£350 without a disc drive), and new games are selling for £70 each. This will surely decrease in the coming years, but the price of being an early adopter is high. It does at least feel expensive and novel, different enough from the PlayStation 4 to give that shiny-new-thing feeling, and the inclusion of Astro’s Playroom and 20 upgraded PlayStation 4 classics for PlayStation Plus subscribers does ease the pain of the price."

Devindra Hardawar - Engadget

"With the PS5, Sony has managed to deliver a truly next-generation console, even if it went a bit overboard on the design. Its controller is genuinely innovative, and it actually has a bunch of new games you’ll want to play. But I won’t say that Sony has won the next-gen war just yet -- maybe just the launch battle. Microsoft remains a strong competitor, especially with Game Pass, xCloud streaming and Bethesda under its wing. But in the end, it doesn’t even matter if there’s actually a decisive winner -- just be happy you’ve got two solid consoles to choose from that can take on gaming PCs."

Dan Ackerman - Cnet

"I'm extremely impressed with the entire PS5 package. The design is bold. The new controller is a big step forward, both in ergonomics and features, and the addition of the new built-in controller mic (and sold-separately new HD webcam) will no doubt send many new streamers to Twitch and other platforms to show off. If you're a PlayStation fan, or especially like the kinds of exclusive games (such as Spider-ManFinal Fantasy VII and Horizon Forbidden West) the platform offers, you're going to get one eventually, whether now or when it's easier to buy in stores."

Brian X. Chen - The New York Times

"There are different audiences for each console. Here’s what I think it boils down to: For game enthusiasts who choose only one console, the PlayStation 5 is a safer bet for now. The hardware and software are solid, and the system looks poised to get strong games in Year 1. (If you rarely buy discs, save 100 bucks and get the digital edition, which lacks a disc drive.) Budget-conscious people and casual gamers will probably gravitate toward the $300 Xbox Series S, which runs games at a lower resolution and can play a plethora of older Xbox titles available for a low cost."

Elise Favis - The Washington Post

"The PS5 launch lineup doesn’t offer much in terms of new IPs, but it does have a strong selection of games, including Demon’s Souls and Spider-Man: Miles Morales. This is a step up from the PS4′s launch, which featured a small pool of mediocre titles like Knack and Killzone Shadowfall. It also blows Microsoft out of the water on that front: the Xbox Series X/S have a tiny launch library with mostly cross-platform games. Game Pass and that console’s power are the bigger selling points. For those looking for an immersive, sensory experience that pulls them deeper into virtual worlds, the PS5 accomplishes this in flying colors with its combination of 3-D audio and the DualSense controller’s new functions."

Mike Williams - USGamer

"I'm a bleeding edge consumer, so I would've purchased the PS5 regardless. But if you own a strong gaming PC and a PS4 Pro, the mental math here is a little fuzzier. Demon's Souls is a true graphical showcase for the PS5, but its other touted exclusive, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, is basically a standalone expansion that's also available for PlayStation 4. The same can be said for several future games, including the much-anticipated Horizon: Forbidden West. The lines between the previous generation and the next are blurred at the moment. The PS5 is a purchase of potential. But Sony has largely delivered on that potential in the past."



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