Opinion: PlayStation 5 has its ups and downs, but has innovative features that bring a new level of immersion to players

Plank Article Nick Venegas ’22

Released on Nov. 12, the PlayStation 5 is the newest and most powerful gaming console from Sony. With so many other competing consoles on the market, however, it can be difficult to decide if Sony’s new platform is worth the costly price of admission. 

To begin with a more objective metric, the PS5’s hardware stands toe-to-toe with another powerhouse released this year, the Xbox Series X. The two are very similar when looking at their pure graphical power with only slight differences in numbers and features. 

The PS5 boasts ray tracing, 4k support, a potential frame rate of 120 fps, and even 8k support, something which the Series X lacks. On the other hand, the Series X touts a whopping 12 teraflops of processing power which is more than the PS5’s 10.8. 

However, these small differences shouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Truth be told, the average consumer will not utilize 8k support and the measly difference of 1.2 teraflops will only have a marginal effect on the generally smooth gameplay of the PS5.

There exist two different versions of the PS5 as well. Although it is identical in performance to the standard console, the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition is $100 cheaper at the cost of the disc drive. The Digital Edition is not able to read any type of game disc, and instead, all games must be paid for and downloaded from the online store. 

All things considered, the Digital Edition is a nice option for people who may not be willing to shell out $500 for a new console especially considering that games played on discs oftentimes require a lengthy download regardless.  

An unanticipated concern came from the PS5’s physical size. It is a behemoth of a console standing at 15.35 inches tall and 4.1 inches wide. Nearly six inches taller, twice as wide, and almost twice as heavy as its predecessor, the last thing the PS5 needed was an unwieldy shape to make storage difficult. The unique curvature of the console demands a special base in order to lay it on its side and when stood up vertically, the divergent folds near the top of the console can obstruct your display. Perhaps it may be a good idea to sell an older system to make room for this colossal console. 

Sony’s new DualSense wireless controllers, however, have innovated in a much better direction. They have a battery life of approximately 13 hours and are quickly rechargeable with a USB-C cable. 

The DualSense controllers bring a whole new level of immersion to gamers with their haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. With haptic feedback, the controller makes context-sensitive vibrations such as when a player feels an intense jolt in the controller as their knight’s sword collides with an enemy’s shield. 

Although this technology has been used before on older consoles, the PS5 brings a new level of fidelity through its modern tech and addition of adaptive triggers. The idea is the same as haptic feedback where the player will receive context-sensitive resistance in the controller’s back two trigger buttons. This allows the player to feel such sensations as the tension in a bowstring as an archer pulls back their arrow or the heavy recoil of a firing machine gun or rocket launcher. 

However, the 10.8 teraflops, haptic feedback, and adaptive triggers mean nothing if the PS5 has no games to play. Although the PS5 does have a sizable library considering the console launched less than a month ago as of writing, many of its games can be found on other platforms. For instance, the new game, “Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War,” was released for every console under the sun, including the PS4, not exactly making it a system seller. Other new and exciting games such as “Watch Dogs: Legion,” “Sackboy: A Big Adventure,” and “Cyberpunk 2077” are all being released on other gaming platforms, making the PS5, frankly, one of the worst options to play them when considering the hefty price. 

With backward compatibility, the PS5 also allows players to play their old PS4 games with improved resolution and performance. And although most new releases can be played elsewhere, the one exclusive game of note the system does have, “Demon’s Souls,” is exceptional. 

While the “Demon’s Souls” remake is an enticing system seller to those who haven’t played it, there isn’t much on offer for those who have already played the original 12-year-old PS3 classic. Although it may have a new coat of paint and some bells and whistles, a single exclusive game is a tough justification for such an expensive console.

While it’s not perfect, the PlayStation 5 is a powerful console with innovative features that bring a new level of immersion to players. It boasts a small selection of some fantastic must-play games, but the lack of enticing exclusives for a long time Sony fans can make the exorbitant price tag seem unwarranted to some. However, the PS5’s disappointing library does not make it a bad console. What it brings to players cannot be understated and once its promising future lineup comes to fruition, the PS5 will undoubtedly be worth more than its height in gold.