To follow up from the previous Let’s Chat focusing on the experience Ashley Harrison had had so far with the Xbox Series X, this time around we are putting our attention onto the PlayStation 5 that released shortly after the Microsoft console. Sony released two versions of the PS5 – one with a disc drive and one without – however that is the main separation in contrast to the much more dissimilar Series X and S. As with the Microsoft machines, excitement and demand for the new PlayStation was very high, and whilst I personally have not gotten one yet, I know someone who does: Stephen Brown, who once again rejoins Let’s Chat to share his time with the new console. Enjoy!
William Robinson: Hi Stephen, thanks for joining me! For this article we are going to be going over your experience with the PlayStation 5 so far – another case of me not getting an order in, but with you here it all works out! This is your first time getting a PlayStation, so why was it that you decided to jump in to the ecosystem?
Stephen Brown: Hey Will! Thanks for having me; it is great to discuss something other than Pokémon for once, not that I am complaining. Yes, I was one of the lucky ones to grab a PS5 on launch and, wow, what a console! I have been a Nintendo gamer for years now and after seeing the trailers for the next generation consoles, I decided that it was time to experience a more powerful system. With a library of games and series I had heard amazing things about, as well as some subtle peer pressure, I decide it was time to take the leap and enter the world of PlayStation.
WR: OK, so as with the Xbox Series X article, this is going to be a lot of me asking you questions aha! So to start with, we will begin in a similar way to that article. How were your initial impressions upon finally getting the package into your hands and setting it up? As with Ashley on Series X, you had to make a new account for your new system, so was that all efficient and straightforward?
SB: My initial impressions of the package was that of excitement and disappointment. I was so excited to have this console and the packaging was so slick and clean; however, I was disappointed they did not do something as creative or unique as the Xbox Series X did with theirs. It could have been made more special, and an experience to open. Instead it was just standard packing which was quite delicate in places; I actually ripped the outer sleeve when trying to get the PS5 box out of the delivery box. The PS5 packaging itself is impactful and heavy, but nothing spectacular. In terms of initial set-up, it was a breeze. I had already been advised to set up a PlayStation profile beforehand – which took 5 minutes – so once I had set up the PS5, linking my profile was easy and simple. Furthermore, the PS5 UI is streamlined so that new players can easily work out the initial controls and features in a matter of minutes.
WR: So, the hardware itself – it is clear that the PS5 is larger than the Series X, and is quite different in design; less clean edges in favour of that curved outer shell. It appears as though it would very much stand out in a room, and whether you are into that is down to your own preference. Having seen it in person, though, your opinion on this? Any other details we may not know?
SB: Yes, much larger! I think it is the biggest gaming console yet at 39cm high, 10.4cm wide and 26cm deep when it is stood vertically. Personally I like how bold and unapologetic it is. From the curved edges, to the contrasting white shell, to the sheer size of it, the PS5 was meant to stand out and be the first thing anyone sees walking into a room. It is it’s own thing and not just another console; it requires its own space. This is probably a ploy to get you to notice it more and thus interact with it more, but it really does feel like it was designed to be ornamental in a way and not something you could easily slot away and stack with your other black boxes. I think another feature I personally love is how it lights up and feels as though it is coming alive, both on the console and the controller.
WR: That sounds neat, similar to the green glow in the Series X. With the sheer size of the PS5, how did you approach fitting it into your set-up? Have you got it horizontal or vertical, as it can do either?
SB: I went with the vertical set up, it stands next to my TV and is not overshadowed by the screen. It all sits nicely on top of my dresser drawers.
WR: Furthermore, have you had any issues with it running hot or loud, or any other unexpected issues? You have played a variety of games now, right, so have a decent idea on how it is performing.
SB: No issues with the console itself, it is virtually silent. Obviously when you put in a disc you will hear the initial whirl, but after that it is so quiet, and I have not experienced any excess heat yet. I have had a couple of hard freezes when playing Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales which forced me to unplug the PS5 in order to restart it, but I put that down to the game itself as apposed to the console. Other than that, the console performs beautifully. Graphics load in seamlessly and actions perform instantly. It is very responsive and that is reflected in the new controller too, which is honestly next level.
WR: Yeah, I have had a couple instances where Miles Morales has either crashed or gotten stuck in an animation. One of the exciting innovations of the PS5 is that controller, which I am excited to try out one day; the haptic feedback all over it seems very innovative and a pleasure to control.
SB: Similarly, I had a full crash when doing a stealth takedown, and the other time I phased through a building and started falling towards the sky. Anyway, that seems like a specific game issue as I have played two other games on my PS5 with no issues at all. The haptic feedback is next level. It adds to the game immersion and makes you feel more connected to the game, especially in a game like Miles Morales when you can feel the web stick to a building. ASTRO’s PLAYROOM, a free game pre-installed on the PS5, does a fantastic job of showing the capabilities and features the new controller has to offer.
WR: Sticky controller, nice, aha! So is it as though you are feeling the same as the character is feeling? How would you describe it? It seems to be an extension of the HD Rumble on Nintendo Switch, in a way?
SB: Exactly, not sure how it will feel in other games but so far I am very impressed. Not sure how to describe it; the controller pushes back in a way that feels responsive to your in-game actions. For example, in ASTRO’s PLAYROOM you get a monkey suit that allows you to rock climb, but some of the rocks break if you apply too much pressure, so you have to ease your R2/L2 triggers down gently to find the safe amount of pressure to let you hold on and not fall.
WR: That sounds awesome! As I say, I am eager to try one out someday. How has it been getting used to a different controller layout after playing for so long on Nintendo consoles, where A is on the right in comparison to X on the bottom for PlayStation, aha?
SB: It was weird at first and took some getting used to, but once I got going I was all good. It does feel weird going back and forth between the two consoles though, and having to remember the buttons are in different places haha!
WR: Right, so onto playing the console itself! You mentioned the UI before, but could you give us a rundown of how it is structured and your impressions on it? The PlayStation 4 has a slick row of squares you scroll through with the menus for Friends, Trophies, and more on a level one step up. Is it similar on the new console?
SB: From my experience, the UI is very slick and easy to navigate. Your games, screenshots, PlayStation Plus, and PlayStation Store are all located on one scroll menu and are easy to access with just a few inputs. Your settings and profile are all located in the top right, and a media and game option are on the left allowing you to easily switch between gaming, music, and videos with ease. The use of the PlayStation button on the controller allows you to bring up a command centre that allows some customisation, making it easy to access things like downloads, friends online, devices, and power all from the touch of a button. I am not sure how this compares to the PS4 UI, but I am very impressed with how efficient the navigation is.
WR: That actually sounds a bit different to PS4 then; I guess your main recent comparison is Switch, which goes for the clear approach with not many extras around your games. How would you compare them?
SB: Yeah, it is definitely a more sophisticated leap from the more friendly Nintendo UI – on those systems, it is very much what you see is what you get, whereas PS5 has progress reports, Trophies, and latest news located conveniently below to remind you of your success.
WR: We will get onto the games themselves in a moment, but now you have been exposed to Trophies, the question is, are you feeling yourself being sucked into being a Trophy Hunter aha? I was when I got the PS4…
SB: I have to admit, I think I have been struck by the Trophy Hunter bug. I have had the PS5 for a little over a week and I already have 3 Platinum Trophies (humble brag). I love unlocking ones unexpectedly for being inquisitive and exploring the surroundings. I also like seeing ones I am yet to unlock in the UI below before I hit play, it gives me another objective to achieve for that gaming session.
WR: Uh oh, Stephen is a Trophy Hunter everyone! Haha, so have you currently got a 100% Platinum frequency so far? I really enjoy collecting them for games that I adore and can put that Platinum next to on my profile. Very satisfying! Have you played around with the Store? It is quite clunky on PS4; I hope it has been streamlined on PS5.
SB: Haha, so far, yes, I have played ASTRO’s PLAYROOM, Bugsnax, and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. All 100%, and all worth the lack of sleep, haha! I can not wait to collect more Trophies, especially for a game I love. I have explored the Store a little, and from what I have found, it is very straightforward. You can scroll down and see popular, latest release, current deals, and even filter by PS5 or PS4 titles. There is obviously a search bar as well that allows for voice input, making searching games quick and easy.
WR: Is it responsive and snappy? One of the issues on PS4 I have found is it can lag quite a bit trying to browse around.
SB: I have only explored it a little, but from what I have experienced it has been very responsive and snappy.
WR: So, game time. Run us through those games you have played again, and which you dived into first?
SB: ASTRO’s PLAYROOM was free, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales came with the console in a bundle, and Bugsnax was free with my purchase of PlayStation Plus. The first I played was ASTRO’s PLAYROOM, a fun pre-installed game where you play as a little Robot inside your PS5. The game highlights the history of PlayStation consoles, as well as featuring lots of nods to games throughout the PlayStation history that made a huge impact! From The Last of Us to Heavy Rain to God of War and a couple of your personal favourites, Horizon Zero Dawn and Tomb Raider. Very fun, and a great way for someone new like me to slowly get used to the controls and learn all the new tricks of the DualSense Controller.
WR: After playing these games, and after playing so much on Switch, has the visual and performance upgrade been very clear for you? For example, Miles Morales is visually proficient on my PS4, but I imagine it is phenomenal on PS5.
SB: Yes, there is definitely a massive difference in visuals and performance. Everything loads in smoothly and seamlessly, so that when playing a game like Miles Morales it felt like there was no limits to what I could see or do. The PS5 definitely delivers in terms of rich, in-depth details that immerse you more into the gameplay. That is not to say the Switch is bad but in comparison because it is a lot smaller and does not have the same processing power, the PS5 wins on realistic gameplay. If I was given the option of having a realistic, open world style game, like The Witcher, on Switch or PS5, I think I would go for PS5 because of the next level visuals. However, the Switch will always win with the more artistic, aesthetic style and indie games in my opinion.
WR: Yeah, similar to how Ashley spoke of the Series X, the SSD and no/short load times sound very impressive. Whilst we are on this point, which has been your favourite of the three games you have played so far? Have they delivered to your expectations?
SB: Oooh that’s a tricky one… I think I am going to have to say Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. The visuals are beautiful, the controls are amazing, the storyline is brilliant, and I love that it give you options. Whether that is which missions you do first or how you take down enemies; personally I love stealth and choosing which suit you wear, it felt like I was always in control and deciding how I wanted to handle things. That was reflected in the cutscenes and progression of the story.
WR: I imagine it helped that you went into this very fresh, not having played the 2018 precursor Marvel’s Spider-Man – so the map was new to you. I really enjoyed the extra finesse and options in combat, compared to the relatively limited moveset in the prior game that was repeated too much. The story in Miles Morales is emotional, there are energetic set pieces, and the music is fantastic – it is a great game to sink into at this time of year. I hope for the next game they find a way to mix up the combat more, as it seems there is a gunfight every block – just how many criminals can there be??!
SB: Yeah that was probably a factor. I think having it set in the winter time helps separate it from the 2018 version and changes the landscape a lot visually. Whoever programmed the snow deserves an award and probably lots of sleep! I could listen to the music all day, superb choices! It really amplifies your game experience. I think in terms of combat, that is why when battling the two main factions, Roxxon and The Underground, there is a variety in enemy weapons, with gauntlets, shields, swords, and even electromagnetic bombs. So I am okay with the smaller crimes being more gun-heavy.
WR: Especially after the first game, I would appreciate more variety of encounters, as it breaks the immersion for me just how many samey fights there are. It is almost as though there are as many of them as there are civilians in this world! Overall it is a very fun game, but did have a bit of a DLC feel to it with the similar map. Which games are you planning to play next?
SB: Yeah, I can see what you mean about it feeling like a bigger DLC, especially if you played the first one. As someone new to the game series it is a great one to get stuck into. I think next I’ll play either The Last of Us Remastered (finally!) or the new Assassins Creed: Valhalla! For now though, I am going to give my Switch some much needed love and attention.
WR: Aha yes, share the playtime! After having the PS5 for a little while, is there any aspect that surprised you or you were not expecting to be such a factor?
SB: Well, I did not expect my eyes to hurt as much as they did. Not sure if that is down to the upgrade in graphic quality, or the fact I would send hours playing, but they do not feel strained when I play for hours on my Switch. Either way, it is a small thing and after some sleep and more moderate gaming time, my eyes felt better haha!
WR: Sounds as though you have been putting in the hours! I reckon I may know the answer, but are you glad you chose to get the PS5?
SB: Yes, for a few years now I had been jealous of the range of exclusive games PlayStation had and that was a big draw for me. Many Xbox exclusives did not appeal to me and the ones that did were usually available on the Switch after a while. I am excited to finally up my game playing to more intense games that require a lot of hours to complete, like Persona 5 for example.
WR: Also, with the PlayStation Plus Collection, you have access to a vast library of great games from the PS4 to play! I am excited to hear your opinions on them. Before we finish up, is there any other aspect of the console which stood out and you would bring up?
SB: Exactly! Very excited to get stuck into a majority of them. Nope, I think we have covered everything, it is all still new and exciting so there is not anything else that stands out at the moment. I will say, and I think some other people have experienced this, that I have had a couple of crashes when playing some PS5-specific games. Whether this is a software issue or a bug that will be patched out we shall see but overall the PS5 has been truly amazing and definitely solidifies itself as a next generation console.
WR: Oh yeah, we should also mention that it seems there is an issue with viewing PS5 Trophies, as we have had issues trying to view them on your profile. Hopefully this is fixed swiftly! My plan is to get a PS5 – I reckon it shall be next year now, when there is more stock and in time for Horizon Forbidden West. I am so, so excited for another game with Aloy! Right then, I guess it is time to end. Thanks so much for joining me Stephen; next up shall be a Let’s Chat discussing my Series S after it arrives.
SB: Yes, it seems gameplay and Trophies for PS5 games are not available to view on profiles at the moment. PS4 games and Trophies appear on profiles but it seems they need to update their system. I promise I have got 3 Platinums though, and I shall be attaching an image for proof! Yeah, hopefully they do a cool Horizon themed console for the release (as if you needed another reason to get a PS5 haha). Thank you for having me William, always a pleasure!
WR: Awesome, until next time!
I hope you enjoyed this summary on the PlayStation 5 experience so far and the findings from it. If you have been playing one of the new console releases, you can let us know your thoughts in the comments below! For more Let’s Chat, you can click here. Have an awesome day!