This is it. After months of waiting, we’re finally in possession of the realisation of Sony’s vision for the next generation of console gaming. PlayStation 5 features cutting-edge AMD CPU and graphics technology combined with ultra-fast solid state storage, ground-breaking innovations in the user interface, a revolutionary controller and, of course, 3D audio. The promise is enticing and by and large, the end product delivers. We’ve only had just over a week with final hardware, but from my perspective, PlayStation 5 is a home run.
It starts with a press of the power button, eliciting the same ping as PS4 – but the similarity from one console generation to the next ends there. From a cold boot, PlayStation 5 is ready for use in less than 14 seconds (halve that if you’re coming back from Rest Mode) and right off the bat, you’re good to go. Yes, there’s a system software update to download – but it’s not mandatory and you’re free to examine Sony’s early UI if you want to. It’s certainly a treat visually, rendering at native 4K with precision text, artwork and iconography. In many ways, I’m reminded of the utility of the PlayStation 4 front end and the pristine, high-end feel of the PS3’s particle-heavy XMB. Sony’s vision of delivering the next generation of gaming entertainment is perfectly encapsulated in a UI that feels futuristic and deluxe, and polished to the nth degree. The fact that everything is presented in high dynamic range adds to the quality of the presentation.
Of course, Sony has already revealed plenty about the user interface – but the emphasis has very much been on the activity cards for use in PlayStation 5 software, designed to give you more access to any given game and to aid in discovery. Popping into the settings icon on the top right, it’s clear to see why: the nuts and bolts functions are very similar in nature to the PlayStation 4, with just minor tweaks. There are some interesting options, however. For example, if a game has quality or performance modes, the user interface allows you to choose which one you’d prefer the game to boot in. Perhaps this is indicative of a wider push for choice in game presentations? Certainly, the function works just fine in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.