PlayStation 5 Review | A True Generational Leap

Definitely a massive upgrade over the previous gen PlayStation.

Earlier this month, the PlayStation 5 was launched in the Philippines, and we were lucky enough to finally get our hands on one. In our first impressions of the new Sony console, we found that the PS5 was a beast, both in terms of size and because of its gaming performance.

Of course, that’s based simply on a couple of days with the new console. Now, we’ve had enough time to play through various PS5 launch titles, as well as test out its backwards compatibility with PS4 games and the usability of its user interface.

So, does the PS5 deliver a true next-generation experience based on its gaming performance and overall usability? Find out here in our full review! Though take note that this review will focus more on its gaming and overall experience. For more on the PS5’s design, check out our first impressions.


PS5 Games

The PS5 launched with a range of games, four of which are PlayStation exclusive: Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Demon’s Souls, and Astro’s Playroom. Of the four, the first two are cross-gen releases, meaning they were also released on the PS4. Meanwhile, the latter two are true PS5 exclusives, though Demon’s Souls is a ground-up remake of the original Souls title on the PS3.

Starting off with Miles Morales, the PS5 version of the game comes with a number of improvements over the PS4 version. The biggest difference is the incredibly fast loading times; unlike the PS4 version, the PS5 version of Miles Morales loads in just a couple of seconds, whether it’s just starting the game or when fast traveling.

Another major improvement is the inclusion of different graphics modes. While the PS4 and PS4 Pro can run Miles Morales at 1080p and 1440p respectively with 30FPS, the PS5 version of the game can run at true 4K with ray traced reflections using the Fidelity mode. Other modes for PS5 include Performance and Performance RT mode, the former being a 4K60FPS mode without ray tracing, while the latter renders at 1440p but features ray traced reflections and a 60FPS framerate.

Thanks to these improvements, Miles Morales on the PS5 provides a much better experience over the PS4 version, especially if you have a high-resolution TV or monitor. Though even if you only have a 1080p display, the 60FPS framerate is a game-changer for a game like Miles Morales.

Moving on to Sackboy, this game does not feature extra modes for PS5 unlike Miles, and both versions even run at a full 60FPS. Though the difference in graphics between the PS4 and PS5 version is massive. For example, Sackboy on PS5 looks way sharper and has more details compared to the PS4 version. The PS5 version also has more “natural” lighting, making for a better-looking game overall.

Up next is Demon’s Souls, the PS5 exclusive remake of FromSoftware’s PS3 classic. While the game plays exactly like the original, the remake features improved graphics, blazing fast loading speed, and improved animations. At first glance, Demon’s Souls might not seem like a highlight PS5 title given that it’s a remake, but once you play it, you’ll discover that it offers a true next-gen experience. In fact, I found myself gripped by the game’s opening hours even though I’m not a big ‘Souls’ game fan.

Finally, we have Astro’s Playroom, a 3D platformer that comes free with every PS5 console. Even though it’s a freebie that’s designed to showcase the capabilities of the console and its new controller, Astro’s Playroom doesn’t just feel like a glorified demo. Sure, it’s fairly short, but it’s just a blast to play, especially if you’re a PlayStation fan. Astro’s Playroom is pretty much a love-letter to PlayStation as it features practically all of Sony’s consoles and accessories, as well as the iconic games that have graced PlayStation consoles.

While Astro’s Playroom is already a must-play for its fun gameplay, it’s also recommended for every PS5 owner as it’s the game that fully takes advantage of the new DualSense controller. In Astro’s Playroom, players will be able to experience the added immersion that the controller’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers offer.


Backwards Compatibility

On the exclusives front, the PS5’s launch lineup is already impressive, but what makes the PS5 worth getting early is its backwards compatibility with over 99% of PS4 games. This means practically all major PS4 titles are playable on the PS5.

So how do they perform? Well, for the most part, the PS5 is able to play PS4 titles on a similar level as the PS4 Pro. For example, Yakuza 6: The Song of Life still runs at just 30FPS and at an upscaled 4K resolution, though it is much smoother on the PS5 compared to the base PS4.

There are exceptions though. Some PS4 games have received patches that make them play much better on the PS5. One such game is God of War; on the PS4 Pro, the game runs at around 40-50 FPS on the Performance mode. Though on the PS5, God of War plays at a stable 60FPS on Performance mode—a massive improvement. Other PS4 games that can run at 60FPS on the PS5 include Days Gone, Ghost of Tsushima, and more.

Of course, there are only a couple of games that are patched to run better on the PS5. Still, the PS5’s backwards compatibility is excellent overall, especially for players who only have a base PS4, or for those who have skipped getting one altogether.


User Interface

For its user interface, the PS5’s UI is an improved version of the PS4’s, with the home screen displaying the list of games installed on the console. Though unlike the PS4, the PS5 features smaller game “tiles,” not to mention that media/streaming apps can now be found on a separate Media tab.


Moving to the settings, the PS5’s menu also looks pretty much like the one on the PS4, though I did find the PS5’s settings to be a bit more streamlined compared to the previous PlayStation console.

Visual upgrades aren’t the only improvement made for the PS5. The PS5’s UI is also much faster and snappier to use. This is especially apparent in the PlayStation Store as the PS5 is smooth to scroll through various games, while the PS4 is often choppy on the digital store.

One interesting thing about the UI of the PS5 is its Activities feature. This feature lets players easily jump into objectives that are set by developers. These Activities are helpful for players who have a limited amount of gaming time as they can instantly jump into objectives that they want to accomplish.


Overall Experience

Aside from a noticeable step up in power over the PS4, the PS5 also has several improvements. For one, the PS5 runs whisper-quiet, something that you can’t say for older PS4 or PS4 Pros. The PS5 also doesn’t run too hot, as it only gets slightly warm when under load. Of course, this is just based on a couple of weeks of playtime, it remains to be seen if the PS5 will not run into heating issues or if it will have noisier fans as it gets older.

Another improvement over the PS4 is the controller’s battery life. The DualSense controller lasts a couple of hours more compared to the PS4’s DualShock 4. Though the DualSense does tend to run out of juice faster when playing games that take advantage of haptic feedback and adaptive triggers such as Astro’s Playroom.

There is one thing that could be improved with the PS5, and that is its internal SSD. At only 825GB and with a usable space of only 667GB, the PS5 likely won’t be able to fit your whole library. This problem is confounded by the fact that there are a number of games that are over 100GB. While the PS5 will support an extra internal SSD, currently there are no PlayStation-certified SSDs available. Players also currently cannot store PS5 games on an external storage device. The relatively low amount of storage may not be a problem for some, but at least 1TB of storage would’ve been nice.


Final Verdict

Thanks to its strong launch lineup, impressive backwards compatibility, and innovative DualSense controller, the PS5 is definitely a console that delivers an impressive gameplay experience. Coupled with the fact that the PS5 has a much improved UI and a great design (albeit being quite flashy), the PS5 is definitely a true next-gen upgrade over the PlayStation 4. Sure, it has some weaknesses such as a fairly low amount of internal storage and a massive size that may be a bit much for some living room setups, but the PS5 is still a console that’s well worth getting if you want to jump into the next generation of console gaming.

The PlayStation 5 is priced at PHP 27,990 for the Standard Edition while the PS5 Digital Edition has an SRP of PHP 23,990.

Not sure if you should get the PlayStation 5 when it comes back in stock in PH retailers? Here’s what we think: