I have a shameful confession: despite having written for GamEir for over a year and keeping my ear to the ground on industry gossip the launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X completely snuck up on me. With the ridiculous rush that led to PlayStation 5’s completely selling out, I thought it would be some time until I had a chance to journey into the unknown regions of next-generation gaming. Well, current-gen now!
Luckily a friend of mine had long pre-ordered a PlayStation 5 so this dream quickly became a reality! Armed with some games generously provided by Sony and Ubisoft I went on a next-gen adventure. Or as adventurous sitting on a sofa can be at least!
The most striking aspect of the new console is the sheer speed. As we tested the Marvel’s Spider-Man remaster I couldn’t help but remember the decent loading times of the PS4 original. Now, these times are utterly negligible, borderline instantaneous. Spider-Man was bitten by a radioactive bullet train in this edition it seems.
From watching this title it seemed like there were massive upgrades to textures, NPC density and reflections also, as well as an incredibly smooth frame rate. I hate focusing so much on tech bits but it’s truly a remarkable upgrade to an already impressively optimised title.
However, the game that truly flexed the hardware was Astro’s Playroom. This charming 3D platformer perfectly showcases the new controller features. A segment where the robotic hero turns into a spring is especially wonderful – you can feel the tension as you coil in the triggers!
The built-in microphone is used for blowing fans, a feature DS players may remember from similar launch titles. Fun gimmicks aside this is a terrific little game, utterly gorgeous with new amazing worlds loading almost instantaneously. As a pack in-game? Incredible stuff.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla may not be as obviously impressive but it’s a great metric for the value of cross-gen games. The improved load times and frame rate set it apart from its PS4 version but with Sony’s first-party titles more familiar with the hardware it’s no surprise that this doesn’t have the same impact. Still, the prospect of the next Creed game being built with this hardware in mind is an exciting one.
Finally, the Playstation Store is now built into the UI and now loads incredibly quickly. Especially compared to the godawful PS4 store! (Every time I mention loading times take a shot – that’s almost how quick it is!) This may sound like a minor improvement but quality of life changes are always welcome and making it easier to, y’know, buy the games is a good idea for Sony!
That’s all for now! I’m currently playing Demon’s Souls so there will be a full, belated review to come! Hey, the game is hard as hell, I would rush it if I could! I’m still a long way from ever being able to get my own PlayStation 5 (unless Sony gives me a Christmas present…) but it’s a remarkable machine.