Now that some of you have had a chance to fire up your respective PS5 / Xbox Series X consoles, I’m keen to know: what’s your experience been like?
When you live with a console for a little while, you discover little bits and pieces that you love or really aren’t to taste. On the PS5, for instance, I’m really missing the ability to shutdown the console from the main menu. I know there’s the Control Centre. But having spent over a decade navigating to the power icon from the main menu strip, I miss the button now that it’s not there.
Another thing I’ve really enjoyed on the PS5 is how quickly it boots back into a game. The console doesn’t have the Xbox equivalent of a “Quick Resume” feature. But if you’re just playing one game at a time, or you’re turning the console on again after it drifted into rest mode, it feels like Quick Resume is there. Often I’ll be waiting for my TV to wake up and the console will already be sitting in a pause menu, waiting for me to play.
That’s pretty neat. I wish my PC was that brisk.
The Xbox Series S, which I reviewed locally, can do some of this as well. It doesn’t get the nicer backwards compat features of the PC tower-like Xbox Series X though, which kind of takes away some of the console’s interest for me. In a lot of ways, both Xboxes feel a lot like a PC upgrade: nicer hardware that you use to get benefits in existing games, knowing that you’ll be better placed when fresher games drop in 3, 6, 12, 18 months time.
I’d definitely rather be playing Cyberpunk 2077 on an Xbox Series S than an Xbox One X or an OG Xbox One, I’ll tell you that. Sure — the Xbox One X is a more powerful console.
But that SSD? And an OS and games that are designed around that NVMe drive? PC games don’t even load that quickly: it’s why a lot of tests on PC have shown that there’s little difference between a regular SSD and the super fast NVMe drive — and in some cases, the older SSD loads just as quickly as an M.2 NVMe drive.
But that’ll change once more and more devs start designed around those super quick drives. It’ll be fun to see how PC games respond in particular, because the speeds of M.2 drives there are a fair chunk slower than what’s in the next-gen consoles right now.
As for the console experience, download speeds still seem pretty good on the PlayStation Network. Xbox has been excellent: it always was, so no change there.
I’d still like to see either console incorporate more user or friends-based recommendations more, something that at least highlights the non-AAA parts of their library a lot better. There’s a bigger gripe to be had with how both console stores’ advertise indie games and their handling of recommendations in general, but I’ll leave that for a separate article.
Gracefully, I haven’t run into any major crashes or bugs with either console. I’m seeing some reports of crashing with Miles Morales — the ultimate/remastered version that comes with the original Spider-Man — and our US colleagues have spotted some graphical quirks when playing PS4 games on the PS5.
The worst report has been from a user in the Kotaku Australia Discord, who’s had to get their console replaced because their games were being just utterly ruined by some terrible artifacing, which you can see below.
Xbox, so far, has been pretty trouble free minus the whole vaping thing.
So all in all, it’s been a good launch! I think both consoles have had a much better launch than the Xbox One or PS4 did. The backward compat support, Xbox Game Pass and just the way that they can definitively improve the experience of those older games is a big deal.
Maybe not enough for many to buy the consoles immediately, but Demon’s Souls is pretty bloody good and absolutely a top-tier game. Miles Morales is a blast as well, but you can play that on the PS4 anyway, although it’s much, much nicer at 60 FPS. Yakuza: Like a Dragon is much better in first-person with the smoother frame rate too, although that’s far less transformative to the experience than something like, say, Spider-Man.
But how have you found the consoles? Tell us in the comments!