PS5 Review: Size Be Damned, This Is A Game-Changing Next-Gen Experience Worthy Of Your Pre-Order Cash

I've only had the PS5 in my hands for one whole night, which means I've had just a few hours toying around with the console itself and playing Astro's Playroom which comes preinstalled.

Naturally then there's only so much I can say in this brief review of Sony's next-generation PlayStation console; not least working within the parameters of Sony’s NDA restrictions.

There's no doubt that a lockdown imposed weekend with the machine, will open up a floodgate of opinions over the next few days.

Yet from what short experience I have had into the wee hours of Friday morning, it was clear that Sony's not so subtle white tower - and the controller that comes bundled with it - is something truly special.

The Unboxing

Last year, Sony made a rather public commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and it's pleasing to see that ethos has also transmitted into the PS5 packaging.

Despite the console's high cost, the PS5 is not wrapped in the sort of protective styrofoam we've come to expect most high-end tech these days. Instead, the console is held together by some sort of recycled cardboard. We'd naturally advise caution to anyone merrily skipping along the road after they collect their PS5 later this month.

There's obviously more to be done in the future, but this is a good start and it's pleasing to see the console giant take these commitments seriously, starting with the console's packaging.


Once out the box, it doesn't take long to assemble the PS5's new stand. A 2-minute job that requires' users to attach the base using a flat head screw, it's not particularly taxing. In fact, I even managed to attach it using a 2p piece in lieu of grabbing my screwdriver.

However once attached (for vertical positioning, naturally) it was a damn sight more sturdy.

It was also surprising because, whilst I know the PS5 is a beast, and I know it’s bigger than any consoles to come before it, there’s something actually rather deceptive about the console once you plonk it down and stand back.

In the cold light of day, this is a huge console, but compared to the big black VHS design of the original Xbox One, the size of the PS5 didn’t actually bother me all too much once I’d turned it on and started playing.

Dare I say it, I don't really care.

Although it’s worth stressing the wife’s first reaction Friday morning was something akin to ‘what on earth is that and why is it so big?’.

So maybe I’m just too love-drunk on the new machine to care how big it is sat next to the TV unit, with the keyword here being 'next to', as to be fair, the PS5 is also too big for my now worthless IKEA TV unit.

The DualSense

I won’t delve into the console itself today, because there’s still so much I’m yet to uncover, but a quick play with Astro’s Playroom - the free platforming game that comes bundled with the PS5 - did show me the incredible potential of the new controller.

For some months now Sony bosses have touted the Dualsense as a true ‘next-gen controller’ and even after a quick hour of two playing Astro, it’s clear they really weren’t just talking a big game.

This is something wholly different from what the Dualshock was capable of.

Putting form factor aside, the main features of the DualSense boil down: the haptic feedback which deliver subtle vibrations across the controller depending on what occurs in-game, and secondly the adaptive triggers, which are meant to create tension when performing certain tasks.

There are also a few other neat bits like a built-in mic that you can blow into for certain tasks and the same gimmicks from last-gen like the touchpad and motion sensors.

But it's the first two which are truly groundbreaking based on my limited time with the game.

Whether it's the tingling sensation of the controller as you walk through a sandstorm, or the triggers fighting you as you attempt to power up jumps with your little bot, these two features, coupled with all the other sensations going on, really help sell the gameplay more than ever before. You're no longer just watching a character slowly move on screen as they trudged through sand - now you actually feel it.

Admittedly, in a game designed as something of a tech demo, all these perfect moments perfectly illustrate the potential of what's on offer, but I hope for the first time we see these features implemented properly by first and third parties in the future.

Imaging playing FIFA, but the controller tingling because it's bucketing it down on a cold wet windy night in Stoke.

Or having the triggers fight you, as your gun jams in a tense Call of Duty shootout. The potential does feel endless and truly worthy of the tag 'next-gen' hardware.

Gfinity will be adding to this review in the coming days as we explore and experience more of the console.

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