We swing by a thread from building to building as a wintery Harlem whizzes past us. Snowflakes flutter, the glow of neon lights the night. The game is ‘Spiderman: Miles Morales’, the one with the main character from ‘Into the Spiderverse’, one of the best Marvel movies of recent years. It’s also one of the launch titles that takes full advantage of the potential of the PlayStation 5, Sony’s latest gaming console.
What does that mean in practice? Better visuals, haptic feedback and almost non-existent loading times. Light and reflections are rendered more realistically, where possible in 4K resolution. You can see that in Miles’ reflection as he runs into a glass building, and in the glow of (we don’t want to give too much away) the many electrical attacks that are being thrown around. During combat, Miles’ heart, in the form of the controller, starts beating loudly in your hands to indicate that you are losing heavily. Do you need a break, two clicks into another game, or your notifications, and it all runs seamlessly, with no waiting or loading.
That’s pretty much the gist of the experience PS5 is trying to deliver. Innovations are aimed at more realistic images, an unobstructed interface and a much improved controller that is larger than the previous one, but still fits well in the hand. So much for the overview, now for the details.
Let’s start with the striking new look of the PlayStation 5. Where the previous three consoles came as standard in a sober black version, Sony opted for two striking white panels that envelop the piano black console like a kind of sandwich. The thing looks a bit like alien technology in terms of aesthetics, and that sci-fi vibe is undoubtedly done on purpose.
However, what’s hard to imagine, even with comparative photos, is how staggeringly large this console is. It towers above the other game consoles, and it’s a good thing televisions come in giga format these days, because then at least there’s something that takes away attention. We’ve rarely seen a console so… present. It even feels a bit sluggish at times. That’s a combination of size and design that we could describe as ‘the expensive electronics in a Sims house’, but it’s also in smaller things, like the waiting light. Also in rest mode there is an orange glow from the folds of this console that we never get out completely unless we turn off the device completely. In comparison: with the PS4 you knew when the controller had finished charging, because the device then went dark.
We appreciate that Sony is so confident in its design, but this does mean that you have to be a fan, or need a cabinet or TV somewhere to place the thing behind. We didn’t get used to it even after two weeks. If you are an enthusiast to play games and want to find information then do not miss our web like Torrify.
We can of course hardly blame Sony for choosing a more spacious device, if that means that the cooling of that box works better. Where previous versions sometimes had heating symptoms, we did not notice this with the PS5 in our test, partly because it does not fit in our cabinet and therefore always had enough ventilation.
And admittedly, under those white plates is a whole lot of heavy hardware. The console runs at 3.5 GHz on an AMD Zen 2 CPU with eight cores, and a memory of 16 GB. Storage is done on a dedicated SSD drive with standard 825 GB. That should be partly responsible for the short loading times. External storage is possible via USB, but would only work for PlayStation 4 games (more on that later).