I’ve been playing PS5 for a year – and it doesn’t look like a next-gen console
More than a year has passed since the launch of the PS5. Despite the current global shortage of chips, Sony’s current generation system has exceeded all expectations. Since October 2021, The PS5 had sold 13.4 units and is currently the best-selling PlayStation console in history.
The PS5’s library of proprietary and third-party titles is extensive, especially when you factor in backwards compatibility with PS4 games. The PS5 DualSense controller is one of the coolest controllers ever. Objectively speaking, the PS5 is an overall solid gaming console, and it’s easy to see why it is so difficult when restocking the PS5.
I have owned a PS5 since its launch and am generally happy with it. Being able to play all of my PS4 games is handy, and the fact that almost all of the current generation titles run at 60fps made it difficult to return to gaming at 30fps. Super-fast load times are also a plus. On the performance side, the PS5 crushes the PS4.
While I’m happy with the latest console from Sony, I can’t help but think that this is more of an upgrade to the PlayStation 4 Pro than a true “next-gen” system. Yes, the console is a technological marvel and sells well, but it doesn’t look like a true successor to the PS4. Even now, a year after the PS5 was released, I don’t think it’s a must have system.
Before continuing, I want to make it clear that I am not trying to disparage the PS5. I’m also not looking to fuel the perpetual console war we often see on social media. Most of my complaints with the PS5 can also be made on the Xbox Series X. However, I am focusing on the PS5 because it is my main game console. And at the moment, it does not quite meet my needs. expectations for a “new generation” system.
The new generation looks a lot like the last generation
I bought a PS4 Pro when it launched in November 2016. The switch from the base PS4 was a relatively smooth transition thanks to the online storage feature of PlayStation Plus. I signed into my account, downloaded my previous games and saves, and was good to go. I also had the option to transfer data between my PS4 and PS4 Pro with a LAN cable or through my Wi-Fi network. I opted for the cloud storage option as it was easier for me.
Why am I bringing up my experience setting up the PS4 Pro? Because I went through the exact same process when switching from the PS4 Pro to the PS5. It wasn’t a problem in itself, but it made me feel like I just upgraded my PS4 Pro, not bought a whole new, next-gen system. Friends who also own PS5s often joke that the console is a PS4 Pro Plus. I cannot disagree with this sentiment.
Cross-gen titles (games released on last gen and current gen systems) are another reason I don’t feel like I’ve really stepped into the next gen. The intergenerational versions ensure that everyone, regardless of the system, has access to the same titles. It’s a mantra that Xbox has embraced wholeheartedly. It publishes its proprietary titles on consoles, PCs, mobile devices and streaming platforms. From a business standpoint, it would be unwise for game companies to only release titles on systems with relatively small install bases, especially when many cannot get a PS5 or Xbox Series X in the game. due to the current global shortage of chips.
I’m all for more people to have access to the games, but if the new titles are to work on eight-year-old systems as well, we’ll continue to have next-gen experiences on new hardware. Despite their respectable graphics, titles like Resident Evil Village, Far Cry 6, and Tales of Arise look like last-gen versions. Why? Because that’s exactly what they’re owed to being available on PS4 and Xbox One as well. It’s hard for a console to feel like a new generation when most of its newer versions are playable on latest generation systems.
I must stress that cross-gen titles are nothing new. For nearly two years after their launches in late 2013, most of the major versions on PS4 and Xbox One were also available on PS3 and Xbox 360. It wasn’t until late 2015 that we saw the cross actually come to an end. -gen. Will we have to wait that long for this generation? Given that the number of releases coming in 2022 will continue the cross-gen trend, the answer seems to be a resounding answer. Yes.
Improved PS4 titles
We’ve seen a lot of PS4 games get improved on PS5. Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut, God of War, and Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade look and play beautifully on PS5, with smoother frame rates and higher resolution textures. If you have never played these games before, you are going to have a wonderful experience.
However, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably beaten all or most of these titles on PS4 by now. Aside from the Iki Island part of Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut, I didn’t play more than 10 or 15 minutes of these and other improved titles before moving on to something new. I appreciate that the games look and perform at their best on PS5, but these are novelty upgrades for someone who has played them before. It’s still the same old games under the new shiny plating.
PS5 exclusives *
As noted in our PS5 a year later – the good, the bad, and the ugly piece, the PS5 currently has six exclusives that you can only play on the system. These included Astro’s playroom, Demon souls, AllStars Destruction, Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Return. Unfortunately, each comes with certain caveats that prevent them from being true must-have system exclusives.
Demon’s Souls, arguably one of the best games on PS5, is a remake of a 2009 PS3 game. Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade Episode Intermission DLC (the only PS5 exclusive game) lasts at best 5 hours. Astro’s Game Room, for all its whimsical charm, is a tech demo that showcases the haptic and rumble features of the DualSense controller.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Returnal were designed from the ground up to work on PS5. But as good as these titles are, none of them are exactly mainstream. Platforms like Ratchet & Clank are out of fashion, and Returnal’s high difficulty alienates most players (an issue Demon’s Souls also shares). I don’t have any hands-on experience with Destruction AllStars, but it doesn’t relate to the Twitch audience it seems to be aimed at.
The PlayStation 5 will receive a number of notable proprietary games in 2022. Horizon Forbidden West and God of War Ragnarok will undoubtedly be system sellers and will be among the top selling games on the system. But like Spider-Man: Miles Morales, they’ll also be available on PS4. These are not true new generation experiences. It may be some time before the PS5 receives a true must-have blockbuster system.
Will the PS5 ever feel like a new generation?
I’ve come to accept that we probably won’t see the same graphical leaps between generations of consoles that were so prevalent in the past. Instead, we’ll see incremental improvements over the course of a generation. PS4 games released in 2021 appear to be superior to titles released in 2013. PS5 games will be the same in eight years. But don’t expect the PS6 to offer the same graphics upgrade we saw between the PS1 to PS2 or PS2 to PS3. Those days could be over.
While the PlayStation 5 is an impressive video game console, you don’t need to own one to enjoy the latest and greatest games. Yes, it has PS5 system exclusives, but you can safely say that all of them are truly must-see titles. If you go for a PS4 or a PS4 Pro, either by choice or because you can’t find a PS5, you won’t be missing out on much.
I will continue to play my PS5 and enjoy it for what it offers. But I’ll also look forward to the day when it finally looks like a true next-gen console.