The PlayStation brand has been around for a long time. PlayStation is a branch of Sony Interactive Entertainment who is also known for a lot of other things including; cameras, televisions, movies, music, and more. PlayStation has released so many products such the PSP, PS Vita, PS VR, and has launched many different home consoles including the PS1, PS2, PS3, PS4; along with all of the iterations and refreshes, and most recently the PS5. I have owned the PS1, PS2, PS4, and PS5, along with the Vita; so I have been with PlayStation for a lot of my gaming lifetime.
After the September 16th, 2020 showcase from PlayStation, they announced that there was going to be a digital console and a standard disc based console priced at $399.99 and $499.99 respectively. There wasn’t really much notice for these to go up for pre-order before they did, but it started when Sony announcing that pre-orders would go live soon. This unfortunately didn’t happen as one of the retailers posted the consoles early and then other retailers followed suit. It was chaotic and if you didn’t see they went up that day, it was almost impossible to find them before launch. Sites kept crashing, bots were all over the place, and refreshing the page every 5 seconds was something that I had to do in order to get one; thankfully I got one, but others were not so lucky. Scalpers and bots have been a real problem, even to this day, and the price is still way above MSRP since the console still have insane hype around it. The PlayStation 5 isn’t currently available in stores and it’s only available online, but most of the time it’s over priced bundles that people don’t want or in-store pick up only for the console. Maybe that is to combat the scalpers, but I think it is more annoying than helping. Sony has been releasing stock into the wild, so eventually it will be more readily available but it will take a lot more time; especially due to the semiconductor shortage that is plaguing the world currently.
The console has 825 GB of SSD storage on board; however, a good amount of that is partitioned by the system and the system updates so it really only leaves you with under 700 GB of storage. There is a way to store PS4/PS5 games through external memory, but PS5 games cannot be played on these currently due to the SSD that is in the PS5. PlayStation is working on this though and should have information about this at a later date about expandable memory through an M.2 slot. I personally have not had any big issue with the storage size but if you download a lot of games, you will notice that it is fairly small.
Besides the consoles, the games price was announced too. They announced that PlayStation Studio games, meaning first party games, would become $69.99 MSRP instead of $59.99 MSRP which made a lot of people unhappy, including myself. Look, I get that some development costs are increasing as more power comes in and with some situations, I am okay with it; as long as there is value within the games. In my opinion; some games shouldn’t be increased to $69.99, but most likely will as other developers are sure to follow eventually due to the market leader starting the trend. Games are what define a generation for what system you buy, and PlayStation has those quality games, but some games from third party developers should not be $69.99. Now some people may have to choose if they get a game day one even more than they use to when prices were $59.99.
The lineup for the PlayStation 5 launch included a lot of third party games complementing only a few first party games. The third party games included games such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Godfall, Watch Dogs Legion, The Pathless, Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition, and more. These games were also available on other systems like the Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, or PS4. Besides the newer games, the PS5 is backwards compatible for over 4,000 PS4 titles so you can bring over a lot of your library from the generation prior. I picked up three of the sony first party titles and just worked on my PS4 backlog since the third party titles weren’t something that I was dying for at the time. Third parties did help the system, but there was a few PlayStation Studios titles available at launch.
The first one, which was actually included pre-installed on the system, was Astro’s Playroom by Japan Studio and Team Asobi. This game was a mini platforming adventure that followed a robot through four different worlds. This game was not very long nor a very complex game, but it was more of a way to show off the PS5 load times, the different features of the DualSense controller, and also took a look back in time throughout PlayStation’s history. It was a fun little game that took me about 5 hours to platinum. There was also a speed running section which was optional, but was interesting to see since it took designs of the four main worlds and adapted them for speed running.
The other game that only came out on the PS5 as an exclusive was a remake of a cult classic from the PS3 system, Demon’s Souls. This was developed by Bluepoint Games who has also done other remakes including Shadow of the Colossus. Now, personally, I do not play Souls games since I know myself as a gamer, so I did not pick up this title. Saying that though, when seeing others play it, it is graphically amazing while at the same time very punishing and hard; but rewarding when defeating the bosses.
The third game was Spider-Man Miles Morales which was a game that starred Miles Morales as the main protagonist instead of Peter Parker. This game was also released on PS4. This game was developed by Insomniac Games which was acquired by SIE back in the PS4 generation. The gameplay was very fluid and was a solid experience overall from the combat to the story. The game was a lot shorter than the original Marvel’s Spider-Man back in 2018. Saying that though, it felt more complete as I noticed less filler in this game when comparing the two. Speaking of the 2018 one, if you wanted to you could also get a remastered version of it in the form of the Spider-Man Miles Morales: Ultimate Edition; only on PS5. Now, this included all of the DLC and the main campaign for $20.00 more than just getting Miles Morales at $49.99. However, if you wanted to just get the remaster for the 2018 game, that was not possible. Maybe they will change that eventually, but as of right now there is no way other than buying the Ultimate Edition of Miles for $69.99.
The final game that came out, where it came out both on the PS4 and PS5 systems, was Sackboy: A Big Adventure. Sumo Digital developed this game and it was a new take on the Little Big Planet franchise. This game is a 3D platformer that had gameplay which felt like a mixture of Mario and Little Big Planet. There were co-op only levels, speed running challenges, hidden rooms, bosses, and more; making it feel like a great 3D platforming experience. It was more enjoyable than I thought it would be, and it gets even more chaotic with friends. The online multiplayer was not the greatest as the connectivity wasn’t very solid when I played it with other, but when it does work it is a great time.
The PS5 took a lot of things from the PS4 and didn’t necessarily re-use them which I liked. The store page used to be its own separate app on the PS4, which made the system sort of slow from my experience. Now, it is baked into the system and you don’t need to launch anything to use it. When first using the store, you have to get use to the new layout as it definitely is different but it’s faster than what it was. The UI on the system also is brand new and it takes a little bit of getting use to. I really like the design and the layout but there are some things that I am missing that I haven’t noticed yet, including folders which I used a lot back on the PS4. Another new feature is the activity cards.
These are little cards that I personally don’t use much but they are able to allow you to enter a game at a specific level or specific quest to make things go a little quicker. I haven’t seen any real use for them this generation as the load times are so quick for games. I personally think that this is something that should have been implemented in the PS4 generation as some of those load times were really bad and it could have really helped there. It is also up to the developer if they use them or not and not all of them do from what I have seen. There are also hints for games like if you get stuck in a certain area; again though, it is if the developer chooses to implement it or not. There are a lot of new features in the voice chats including sharing your screen, inviting to your game, and more. There are new features not just in the console, but throughout the controller as well.
The controller has a lot of improvements from the Dualshock 4 (DS4) that was on the PS4. This controller has added a lot of features including a much stronger rumble motor than original. The DualSense is a controller that includes adaptive triggers. These triggers basically can resist your input on the R2/L2 buttons and they push pressure back towards you. Not every game uses them but there are some games that do, and they really are an amazing thing that PlayStation incorporated into the next-gen system. There is also a microphone baked into the controller that can pick up your voice which was a cool thing that they did. The rumble that is now in the controller is phenomenal and compares to the Switch Pro Controller and I didn’t think that was possible. Astro’s Playroom is a game that really shows the controller’s feature of the PS5. It has actually become my favorite controller to use when playing games.
In 2021, there are a bunch of different games that have come and are coming to the PS5 from many different third party studios, including a lot of different exclusives or timed exclusives. There are also a lot of first party games coming to the system throughout the year. Starting in February, we got Destruction All Stars from the developer Lucid for free with a PS+ membership. This was the car and foot destruction derby style game. This was a game that originally was going to come out at $69.99 with the launch of the console but was delayed. This game is multiplayer focused so having a large base of players who have PS+ was a very smart choice in my opinion. Then there was MLB The Show 21 on April 20th. This came out on PS4, PS5, and for the first time the Xbox systems (One and Series X/S). This is the yearly sports title that comes for MLB from Sony San Diego. At the end of April, on April 30th, we got Returnal. This was a new IP from developer Housemarque that received very good reviews overall. It was a third person bullet-hell shooter that also had psychological aspects, roguelike elements, along with First-Person narrative scenes.
We are getting Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart from the amazing developers at Insomniac Games on June 11th. This game looks to be an amazing game that continues the franchise that will incorporate the power of the PS5 using the dimensional rifts and world exploration. This year, we are also supposed to get Horizon Forbidden West which is the sequel to the 2017 hit Horizon Zero Dawn. This is being developed by Guerrilla Games. There isn’t as much information on this game at this time, but it looks amazing from the single trailer we were shown back in the June 2020 showcase and I personally cannot wait. Gran Turismo 7 from Polymorph was supposed to be this year; however, this was delayed to 2022 due to the Coronavirus and remote work. The untitled sequel to God of War 2018 developed by Santa Monica Studios was announced to come out this year but I personally think that is a reach and it is going to get a delay as well. Other than what has been announced here, the year is looking a little lighter than some maybe expected. We might get more announcements later down the line, but this is it as of right now for first party titles. It might be lighter now, but there are so many IP’s and studios that are owned by Sony, I think we have just begun to see what is cooking up for PS5 owners.
Besides the PS5 games that are coming out from the studios, PlayStation has been ramping up the PlayStation+ games a lot this generation. Starting in November of 2020 with the launch of the system, we got the PS+ collection which is a collection of 20 games that were on PS4. Some of these games were; Persona 5, God of War 2018, Monster Hunter World, Days Gone, The Last Guardian, inFamous Second Son, Mortal Kombat X, Fallout 4, Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy, and many more. It is just a nice little thing that if you are just getting into the PlayStation ecosystem, or if you didn’t pick these games up before, a nice value.
Also, the PS+ games on a monthly basis has been a lot better in recent months. Every month, PlayStation has been giving out two PS4 games, and also a PS5 game; and usually the PS5 games have been good. Some of the noticeable ones that have been given out in the past 6 months include; Bugsnax on PS5, Hollow Knight for PS4, Maneater for PS5, Shadow of the Tomb Raider for PS4, Destruction All Stars for PS5. We have also gotten Control Ultimate Edition for both PS5 and PS4, Concrete Genie for PS4, Final Fantasy VII Remake for PS4, Maquette for PS5, Oddworld Soulstorm for PS5, and more. In my opinion, they have seriously stepped up with the selection and value of games from what they were giving out for most of 2020. PS+ is $59.99 per year and if you have a PS5 or a PS4, it is required to play most online games; getting these games are just a plus… pun intended.
Okay, I personally wanted to get a PS5 because it would be the first time I personally have purchased on launch date with my own money. Usually it was either I got it later, or it was a early gift from family. It was a nice feeling to get. I was also wanting to play all of the games that I thought were coming to the system and not on the PS4, but again, some of them have and will continue to come out on. Do I regret buying one and getting in a pre-order? Absolutely not. Do I wish there were more exclusives that I want to play? Of course. Since the scalpers are making life harder for people who want one to get one, and the amount of value that PlayStation has been giving to their consumers, it’s hard for me to say don’t get one if you get the chance to at MSRP. It will continue to be hard to get one for a while most likely, especially with all of the chip shortages that are plaguing us currently.