Community Review: How’s Your PS5, Xbox Series X Going?

Community Review: How’s Your PS5, Xbox Series X Going?
Image: Kotaku
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With a few rounds of stock drops and some extra releases/next-gen updates, I imagine most of you have had a chance to live with your consoles for a little while. So after all the hype, how’s your PS5 or Xbox Series X (or S!) treating you?

The positioning of both consoles was always pretty clear from the outset. The PS5 pitched itself as offering transformative, generational change. The Xbox Series X did the same with a greater focus on services than exclusives.

The exclusives would come, Microsoft promised. But until that point, here, knock yourself out with a few hundred games.

ps5 xbox
Image: God of War

We’ve been here before. A few years ago, not long after God of War dropped and surprised absolutely everybody — I still remember people legitimately wondering at the start of the year whether it’d be delayed because there was so little chatter about the game — I wrote about the contrasting situations Microsoft and Sony had found themselves in.

Rightly so, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer said singleplayer games were difficult to fund. The gulf between a game that sells consoles and something that you’d enjoy, but probably wouldn’t pay for unless it was on sale, is enormous. And most games find themselves in the latter category. Hell, if anything, almost every Microsoft exclusive over the last few years has suffered a similar fate. Remember Crackdown 3? Sea of Thieves at launch? Halo: Master Chief Collection? Halo Wars 2?

Sony’s investment in experiences and escapism always made more sense upfront. The only catch was that they were betting an exceedingly absurd amount of money — hundreds of millions in some cases — in the hope that they’d stick the landing.

And with Spider-Man, God of War, Ghost of Tsushima, Last of Us 2, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Death Stranding, the Demon’s Souls remake, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Sony absolutely did.

But what happens in a year or two when Microsoft starts to really stick the landing? I was saying to my partner just the other day, “Man, it’d be nice to play Flight Simulator on the couch.” It’s technically possible if I drag my PC out to the living room and go through the ignominy of sorting out cables, working out which HDMI device I’ll temporarily sacrifice, and so on.

But that’s such a pain in the arse. I’d rather just fire it up on the Xbox Series X. Which everyone can do later this year.

Sony’s big exclusives haven’t really arrived yet. It was a blast playing through Astro’s Playroom, but that’s a few hours of work. Miles Morales is killer too, but again, you can knock that over in a weekend. And Demon’s Souls is undoubtedly excellent, but it’s also an acquired taste of sorts: If you didn’t like the series before, Demon’s Souls won’t be your cup of tea. (It’s really, really good though.)

What you’re left with after that point is waiting for games to eventually get their PS5, or Xbox Series X, optimised releases. God of War finally got its PS5 update, and it’s basically perfect.

It’s also, however, kind of the experience you get from playing a lot of these games on PC. You can’t obviously play God of War on PC yet, but Death Stranding and Horizon Zero Dawn have made the jump. So it’s transformative if you didn’t have access to that before, but for a lot of gamers who invest in multiple devices over the course of a generation, it’s not as exciting as it could be.

At least not yet. By the end of 2021, or 2022 when a new Battlefield drops, Starfield arrives and games start leaving the last generation behind, that opinion will probably change. And that’s normal. Platforms take time to develop.

I’ve enjoyed busting out the Xbox and digging through Game Pass for new titles — Slay the Spire alone has made my partner’s Game Pass subscription worthwhile five times over. But the Switch is still getting more interesting, different games, particularly local co-op titles, than the major platforms. And the PC is increasingly looking like better value again. Getting an RTX 3000 series card or a new CPU is still a nightmare, but at least you’re not forking out $100-plus every time a new game comes out on Steam.

But if you haven’t gotten a next-gen console yet, don’t fret. They’re amazing, and the DualSense is great when it works, but those next-gen experiences that we were promised are still to arrive.

For those who have been living with a PS5 or Xbox Series X for the last few weeks, or months, how do you feel about your purchase?

Comments

  • Great review, but I am in the same boat as everyone else: I can’t find a PS5 or Xbox Series X console. I refuse to pay scalper prices for a console (I already did that for a 30xx series NVIDIA card and I am not proud of it).

  • Got my PS5 in November, got lucky.

    It has been awesome really as I replaced my launch PS4 and 1080p plasma tv that I had since 360 days.

    PS5 with an lg oled, yeah I’m seeing a big difference in the way I game. The load times mean I jump around games more then I used to.

    Also the ps plus has been giving out some neat PS5 games to.

  • I got a Series X in December. Haven’t played anything new Gen on it other than the Medium which hasn’t grabbed me….

    BUT the system runs Retroarch in retail mode, has Gamepass and access to everything in my old Xbox library (ive been buying digital since the middle of the 360 era).

    Its like having every console I’ve ever owned rolled into one! Master System, Megadrive, SNES, PS1/2, N64, Gamecube, Dreamcast, Xbox originals, most 360 games, Xbox one…. aside from the occasional wobbly emulation it all runs better than it ever has and thats freaking amazing to have in one box.

    So im happy now, but I’m also expecting a lot more as the new games come.

    • Have you played Hitman 3 on you series X? That’s the first game that really blew me away. It feels so clean running at 4K native 60fps with literally zero frame drops. Its also the first game that really feels like your playing a PC game on your console.

      Apart from that game, the option to run many ‘last gen’ games at 60fps is pretty awesome.

  • I got the PS5 at launch to upgrade from base PS4 – super happy with its performance and everything. Been a bit of a lack of games though? As in straight up PS5 titles? Been enjoying smashing through the upgraded PS4 games I own though and the lack of load times is awesome.

    Have just started last months Man Eater. Looks like a PS4 game, plays like a PS2 game. Still enjoyable tho.

    • Skip Man Eater and jump into Control, it really takes advantage of the PS5, whether it be buttery smooth performance mode, or the gorgeous Ray Traced graphical mode.

      The PS5 (and Xbox) I believe are both suffering from the issues faced with 2020 and the inability to produce enough units which means many of the games are being released on last gen consoles to make up for it. Thankfully, Sony are doing a decent job with their enhanced PS4 games, so that’s keeping me more than busy for now.

  • I couldn’t be happier with my PS5.
    It’s fair to say the experience hasn’t been mind blowing so far but the visible change is exciting enough and the potential is undeniable.
    Game wise I’ve been spoilt for choice and even though not all of them have been designed only for the PS5, the next gen boost is noticeable in different ways and brings a smile to my face.

    PS+ has been fantastic, a huge difference from the days of the PS4 where we waited years for quality titles to drop, I still can’t believe I managed to get Control in all it’s boosted glory for free, really glad I waited on that one.
    I haven’t played all the huge list of last gen greats but it’s nice to have them there waiting, more than a few were on my radar to play and now it’s going to be easier to play them when the inevitable quiet periods arise.

    My disappointments are few but noticeable.
    It feels like there’s little on the horizon at the moment, even though it’s not entirely true and the dualsense is great but I already have stick drift and it sorta feels like I’ve been using the controller for years instead of months.
    The first run of PS4 controllers had the same (but different) issues so I’m not overly concerned, just a bit annoyed.

  • The PS5 doesn’t feel like as big a leap as PS3 to PS4 was graphically. BUT the load times, new controller and 60 frames is transformative and best of all the gap between PC and console feels a lot smaller.

  • I have both. While I think the PS5 was more innovative especially with that awesome controller. I haven’t used it that much at all (don’t worry my kids have made sure it doesn’t sit idle).

    I have been playing NBA 2K21 non stop on the Series X and having a great time but haven’t really tried much else out. While load time are much improved on last gen I don’t think they are awesome with this game. Hopefully I will be able to break NBAs spell on me soon and get to see more of what the Series X and PS5 have to offer

  • Got my ps5 in decemeber. But since there were not any good games out or any exclusives for it I just sold it to a mate of mine. Gonna wait for god of war and rachet and clank to come out and then try to get a ps5 lol

  • I was lucky enough to get both consoles at launch, and since then a majority of the time both have sat unplayed… Till recently.

    I’ve started playing the Xbox Series X more and more lately thanks to buying Yakuza: Like A Dragon. That game has really given me a good chance to see what the Xbox Series X can do as a gaming device. Otherwise, most of the hard drive space is holding a bunch of Xbox One games from Game Pass that I probably won’t get to play before they are removed.

    My PlayStation 5 on the other hand has become a glorified streaming machine for Disney+ and Netflix thanks to my wife working out how to use the controller and her need to watch shows online all day.

  • Loving the PS5 it’s quiet (though my pro was never a jet engine like some apparently were) and fast, though it’s currently just a Cyberpunk machine at the moment. Only gripe I have is a small thing with the controller, that textured white section seems to be designed just to get dirty especially on the back were you grip and hopefully it doesn’t get worn into smooth spots after a few years of use either. Really looking forward to the new Horizon and God of War but assuming these will be delayed . Hopefully Horizon will come out this year, but I’m doubtful for GoW.

    Will probably look into getting an Xbox at some point but not until I see how Hellblade and Starfield are shaping up so probably not in the near future.

    Next game I’m excited to sink my teeth into is Deathloop so hopefully it doesn’t disappoint Arkane seems to do a pretty good job.

  • Got a Series X in December and mainly been playing games from their backwards compatible library and been having a blast. I nearly cried with happiness when I saw Burnout 4 got a port. I’ve got so much backlog that a lack of “new” or “next gen” isn’t really a problem when there’s so many games I haven’t played (or finished) from previous years. Between Gamepass and BC’s library, I’m set for a while. If you want to try old gems without worrying about dealing with PC compatibility issues and emulators, Xbox has you covered.

    I can also report not having any hardware issues with my Series X and it runs super quiet. Smooth sailing so far.

  • I got lucky and got a PS5 on launch day and snagged an Series S less than a month later. Upgraded my old TV to an LG CX the week of launch too.
    I have no complaints. I love them both, though the PS5 is my favourite. Series S is my first Xbox and Game Pass has been great and really pushed me to try games I wouldn’t usually try.
    The lack of exclusives and whatnot doesn’t really bother me. I’m happy slogging my way through my pile of shame.
    There’s also a running joke at work that they’re my children.

  • I have a Series X and other than an issue where the controller decides to randomly disconnect and refuse to reconnect it has been a solid if boring bit of kit. Having said ever since i bought my Series X it feels like games are just extra broken in comparison to usual, I bought Watch Dogs, Valhalla and both were just in fundamentally broken states, Valhalla for instance i lost 3 hours of progress because of save issues (which if autosave it not working at least a warning so i can stop putting hours on top of the problem would be nice) I also bought Cyberpunk and have not even touched it as i am too time poor and don’t feel like troubleshooting my way through another game as this nonsense is turning me off playing games.

    • Did your Valhalla saves corrupt while your game was in idle in Quick Resume? I lost about a day’s progress in Immortals Fenyx Rising. I could see them corrupted in my active game and was unable to even make a new save to my hard drive or cloud. Absolutely maddening. I ended up raging up and deleting the game because I couldn’t be bothered going back and doing it again. I real shame. From what I read its an issue with Quick Resume and the Ubisoft games server connections causing weird issues.

      Aside from that, my Series X has been fantastic but like others I am mostly playing older games. I’m definitely feeling the lack of new titles and the horizon seems pretty bare due to the pandemic.

    • That sounds like a warranty issue if the controller isn’t connecting properly, because my controller will stay connected even if I walk into a different part of the house. You can hook up a Xbox One controller to your Series X to see if it’s the controller or console (if you have one spare since they’ll work on the Series X too), failing that you can take it back and swap it out for another controller if they have stock.

      • I did look it up and from what i have read it is a known issue with a firmware update in the pipe to fix it, it is infrequent enough for me to live with but frequent enough to be annoying but i am happy to wait (happens on both my new controllers fyi)

  • Did your Valhalla saves corrupt while your game was in idle in Quick Resume? I lost about a day’s progress in Immortals Fenyx Rising. I could see them corrupted in my active game and was unable to even make a new save to my hard drive or cloud. Absolutely maddening. I ended up raging up and deleting the game because I couldn’t be bothered going back and doing it again. I real shame. From what I read its an issue with Quick Resume and the Ubisoft games server connections causing weird issues.

    Aside from that, my Series X has been fantastic but like others I am mostly playing older games. I’m definitely feeling the lack of new titles and the horizon seems pretty bare due to the pandemic.

  • Lucked into a PS5 at Launch, and currently I feel like if you already have a PS4 Pro & are not an absolute SoulsBorne/like fanatic, you’re not missing out on anything if you haven’t got a PS5 yet.

    My rationale for upgrading was
    1. Horizon II Forbidden West and/or Demon’s Souls at launch, and
    2. If my PS4 Pro died, I would pay the same amount to replace it as trading it in for a PS5 at launch.

    But turns out, I’m not the SoulsBorne/like fanatic I though I was, and got pretty bored with Demon’s Souls after a few days. I’m still playing some old faithfuls regularly, but nothing that takes full advantage of the new hardware.

    The one case I think I could whole-hearted recommend it now, is if you didn’t already own a PS4/Pro & wanted to experience their first-party exclusives in 4K HDR. Or if your PS4/Pro just died, and you played it regularly enough to warrant replacing it sooner rather than later.

  • I got a PS5 with the second shipment and it’s been great. I’ve put a lot of time into Demon’s Souls, and played Immortals Fenyx Rising on it, along with AC Valhalla and Sackboy. DMC5:SE feels amazing to play and shows off the RTX potential of the thing.

    Buying a console at launch is always going to be an investment in the future though, and I know that the best of the PS5 is a few years away, but it’s off to a good start and given the early numbers (and developer reports of difficulties with the Series X) it will be the default console to buy new games on again.

    I have a decent enough gaming PC with Game Pass that I don’t have any real desire to get a Series X at any point. If a game came out for the Series X that was a compelling enough reason to buy it, then I would, but Microsoft don’t seem very interested in making games that will sell the console.

  • People keep saying that “There’s nothing transformative on the next gen consoles”, but y’know what? I tried playing WatchDogs Legion on the most powerful of last generation’s consoles and it was… playable? But it was obvious that it wanted to be on a more powerful system. Never mind Cyberpunk.

    So, yeah, it hasn’t been transformative, it hasn’t changed my world, but since I want to play new games on the couch without messing around and looping my computer through the network (not to mention upgrading it…) … yeah. This is the way to do it, and the gulf between performance and quality on newer games is very much worth it.

  • I got a PS5 at launch and I’m really happy. My ps4 pro was just so, so loud at the end that frankly it was a relief to see it go.

    I’m spending most of my time playing Xcom 2 again and Jedi Fallout. It’s great, I really like it.

  • Got myself an X last month thanks to a Kotaku article updated with new stock info!

    It’s been great so far, I was playing Fallen Order on game pass on my One S and 1080p TV when the X arrived, got my X set up on my 4K monitor and there’s a considerable difference in graphics between the two.

    Tried Forza Horizon 4 on my One S on the 4k monitor, then on the X, massive difference again. All the lighting stuff looks great.

    I don’t get much gaming time so the loading time reduction and quick resume features were main reasons for upgrading and they don’t disappoint, console on to gaming takes seconds not minutes. Quick resume is fantastic when it works, having mixed results with it though.

    All in all very happy, was tempted by the expansion card but I had an external SSD already and can transfer games at 300MB/s so don’t really see the need at the moment.

  • I traded in my PS4 Pro for a launch PS5. Just prior to the launch, I also upgraded to a 4K HDMI 2.1 TV, so I have really seen the difference, especially when playing enhanced backwards compatible games such as Days Gone and Borderlands 3. Not just graphically, but the loading speeds from that SSD are amazing.

    While there aren’t really any PS5 only games that warrant the purchase (apart from the bundled Astro’s Playroom), I think just the load times and enhanced PS4 games are enough.

    PS+ has been amazing value, too. Just this month alone makes a years purchase worth it. Control on PS5 is incredible!

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