2 years after launch the PS5 still feels unfamiliar to me, but is really starting to hit its stride.

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The PlayStation 5 was impossible to get when it launched, at least for MSRP. I really wanted one but I refuse to deal with scalpers and despite diligently checking links and making many efforts I did not manage to snag a launch unit. Instead I just looked at the rave reviews for Astro’s Playroom and Miles Morales and tried not to let FOMO stop me from appreciating my Xbox Series X, which had graphics just as shiny as the PS5’s.

I ended up getting my PS5 about 2 months later in a Gamestop bundle that included an extra controller and a couple of games that I wanted. The online retail experience wasn’t great, but I was very excited to hook the system up, and unlike the Series X it really did have that new game console feel. The PS5 is extraordinarily ugly; it looks like some abstract sculpture from the 90s that didn’t quite come out right, but it looks like no other game console either. The controller also has a sort of retro-future look, and all kinds of fancy features. The UI seems optimized for 4K screens, and is a slick Netflix style menu that’s both distinct from the PS5’s and cool in its own way. There are all kinds of bells and whistles on the thing, from its haptic feedback and adaptive triggers to the concept of “game cards” and being able to jump directly into a mission from the home screen, something I have never done and will probably never do because it’s not the way I engage with games.

I played my PS5 a ton after I first got it. I platinumed a number of games and sampled more. I found Returnal at least interesting and loved Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. Astro’s Playroom was one of the best pack in games not made by Nintendo, and showed the incredible potential of the Dual Sense that no other game I’ve played has come close to matching.

Then I started having some hand pain when playing PS5. I’m still not sure what caused it, but it eventually started affecting other parts of my life so I stopped using the console for a while. Though it hasn’t recurred since then, probably in part because I’ve switched my grip on the controller, it seriously cooled me on the console. Because of the controller issue, and the backwards compatibility issue with Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (since, apparently, patched) I took to playing less graphically intensive games on my old PS4 Pro and multi-plats on my Xbox Series X. This was exacerbated by other early PS5 issues, like few cheap options for expanding the paltry storage, and many of the most anticipated exclusives getting delayed. In general it felt like the PS5 had a lot of ‘teething’ issues.

Now, two years after launch, the PS5 feels like it has hit its stride. While the majority of the biggest games have been cross-generation (including Gran Turismo 7, which still surprises me given how associated that series is with cutting edge graphics) and Sony has pretty much committed to putting its biggest games on PC after a delay, the PS5 has built a strong stable of first party software, with few missteps like early PS4’s Knack, The Order:1886, and Driveclub. It also has a very strong lineup of indies and semi-indies, including recent games like Stray and RollerDrome. PlayStation Plus vanilla continues to be a good value, though the expanded version has been a bit of a disappointment, especially if you cared about the PS1 and PSP offerings, which are downright anemic. And of course Sony’s management continues to make anti-consumer moves and just generally misunderstand both its own brand and the way the video game market is headed. The shut down of Japan Studios was a real personal blow, especially since Astro’s Playroom was such a home run (though that particular team was apparently left intact.)

But the PS5 itself seems to be in a good place and really poised to hit its stride. A strong library of games, storage prices finally coming down, a UI that’s not great but is pretty functional, and apparently soon a new slim model that will hopefully be less of a massive eyesore. I’m also excited about PSVR2, which will hopefully achieve the promise that PSVR had, though it’s a real bummer that the earlier system’s VR games won’t be backwards compatible. I had fun with the PSVR, even when the move controllers weren’t quite up to the task, and I’m excited about a less cumbersome system with better controls.

I won’t say that the PS5 has been disappointing in its first two years, it’s certainly been popular to the point of being difficult to obtain (though it now seems possible to get with a little bit of work watching for availability) and it has a strong library of games already, even not taking the backwards compatibility into account. But I will say that I haven’t played it as much as I expected, mostly due to the storage issue and the fact that it took me awhile to adjust to the new controller. Speaking of that controller, the Dualsense has so far proven to be more gimmick than anything else, with only Astro’s Playroom really wowing me with it, and the new touted UI features like activity cards and game guides have been a total bust for me personally. The system still feels a bit new to me, not like a comfortable old friend yet. I’m hoping with the continued building of a strong library and the introduction of PSVR2 that the PS5 will really cement its place and reach its potential.

And goddamn it Sony, if you’re going to put classic PS1 games on the thing (Which I really want you to do) stop with the drip feed!

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GTxForza

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This is a very good review for this console, and I hope by 2023, it's going to be a great year for this & Xbox Series X as they have tons of great games, regardless of their party.

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#3  Edited By AV_Gamer

I was lucky and got my PS5 during the launch weekend on PS Direct, and I got the digital one which is one hundred dollars cheaper. The majority of games I have on my PS4 were digital and I hardly used the disc drive, so it was no huge loss. Plus it seems like Sony is going to release an external one you can hook up to the PS5 without a disc drive, so maybe it won't matter in the long run.

But the PS5, I like it a lot overall. How the system immediately improved upon most of my games was nice, because I upgraded from an original PS4, not the PS4 Pro. Especially Days Gone, which I ended up enjoying a lot, solely because the game played better. Astros Playroom was a nice surprise for a game showing how improved the new DualSense controller is.

Speaking of controller, the only setback is the issue with stick drift happening early. My PS4 controller was solid for nearly a decade with no drifting, but the PS5 one started drifting within a year. Got another one while I had the original on repaired within the warrenty, and it starting drifting within a year as well. That's not cool Duders.

However, when it comes to their exclusive games, Sony has delivered as promised. Miles Morales, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Returnal, all the way to the new God of War: Ragnarok are excellent games and worth experiencing on a PS5 if you can find one.

The UI could done better. It took them months to fix the issue it had with Spotify integration, which for me was important because some games I like to play while listening to music. They took then awhile to add VRR, and the 1440p mode is a nice surprise, especially for people like me whom own those type of monitors.

I could go on, but overall I give the PS5 a 4.5/5

The controller issues keeps it from being a perfect 5.

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#4  Edited By styx971

as a day 1 adopter i still don't love mine .. i can live with the weird ui and storage drawbacks just fine but its the controller that kills it for me. every time i play things i still get hand pain , i don't have a particularly large hand imo , i'd say its pretty average. i can play games for a good 12+ hours with any other controller out there over the years excluding a ds/3ds cause those are so skinny they give my hand cramps also , but the dual sense just kills me. i got the new gow and started playing it last night , after alot of audio fiddling i ened up playing about 3 hours n my thumb is feeling different today , not in pain yet but i know its coming . the last time i played anything was horizon early in the yr n as usual after playing something for a week or so even with smaller few hour sittings instead of marathoning i get hand pain. lost judgement last yr took me about 60 hours to beat over the course of 2 weeks and following that i had hand pain for a good week till i could play anything with a controller of any sort again. its just ridiculous how bad it feels and the fact that theres no 3rd party controllers shaped any better out there ( far as i've seen) is just sad cause i want to like the dumb thing but it doesn't let me. i seen a razr ps5 compatible controller coming out the end of next month thats 250usd which is just nuts that i'm honestly waiting on hearing how that winds up cause at this point my ps5 might as well be an overpriced brick for the better chunk of the yr. i would use it more for 3rd party games if not for the controller but these days i've been sticking to my pc the yakuza series being the only exception really cause i like having boxes on my shelf and welll how can i switch to pc at this point n be happy for that :/

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#5  Edited By tartyron

I got my ps5 this past January, and the real truth is I have buyers regret. In nearly a year of having it, I’ve put in only 300 hours for all games put together. I rarely find myself using it at all, and sometimes try to force myself to play on it over my PC, but usually, at least for most games, I go to the PC. And that’s not meant as some PC master race, it just comes down to familiarity and customizability for me with most games. There are exceptions. Demon’s Soul’s, God of war, Forbidden West and the uncharted games (pre-legacy of thieves on PC) have been great, and I can’t argue with that solid 60fps performance mode, but for the most part, my 3080 handles things just as well and the PS5 exclusive titles just aren’t all adding up enough to make me feel good about the purchase. Hell, the same month I got it, I spent tons of hours playing Valkyria Chronicles in the PC over Demons Souls, and I put my 160 hours on Elden Ring with the PC version immediately afterwards. The exclusivity is starting to be like Nintendo switch, but less exclusive, and honestly, I’ve contemplated selling the PS5 to a friend lately due to the lake of hours I log with it. If current trends continue, I’m fairly certain I’m not gonna buy into the next console generation because of the PS5 is showing a trend, it’s that everything that isn’t Nintendo will eventually just be on PC anyway.

I will say, the locked in frame rate really is good, though. My PC my be able to trace those rays over 30fps but it still frames up sometimes, but the PS5 with god of war has been solid at 60 and I think that is fantastic. So optimized hardware does have some advantages.

So, it’s not a bad system, I just think that consoles as a whole aren’t measuring up for PC junk heads like myself. For the $500 I spent, plus Sony games pricing at $70, I could have just gotten game pass for PC for 5 years.

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styx971

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@tartyron said:

If current trends continue, I’m fairly certain I’m not gonna buy into the next console generation because of the PS5 is showing a trend, it’s that everything that isn’t Nintendo will eventually just be on PC anyway.

So, it’s not a bad system, I just think that consoles as a whole aren’t measuring up for PC junk heads like myself. For the $500 I spent, plus Sony games pricing at $70, I could have just gotten game pass for PC for 5 years.

this is kinda how i've been feeling about this gen of systems in a nutshell . n honestly at this point much as i like nintendo titles i kinda don't love my switch either cause the performance on it vs running the same games in an emulator on my pc .. i've always loved having consoles but the reasons to have them are getting slimmer for me these days

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#7  Edited By Broshmosh

NGL this thread reads more like "I'm getting old and controllers hurt my hands in ways they didn't used to" than it does "The PS5 Dualsense is poorly designed". I myself am experiencing considerable hand pain this year in a way I never have before, due to having played videogames heavily since a young age and am now in my early 30s, and it gets particularly bad whenever I have to hold a thumbstick in a forward position.

Folks, sometimes it's just your body letting you down.

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@broshmosh: First of all that's not what this thread is about at all.

Secondly your argument makes 0 sense because it only happens with one controller, not other controllers. If it were just age then the Xbox controller or the Switch Pro controller or even the Dualshock 4 would cause the same problems and they don't, so what are you even arguing?

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#9  Edited By navster15

Gonna back up bigsocrates on this, I'm not a huge fan of the bulkiness of the Dualsense. I do love the features it has, but if I could have those features in the form factor of the Xbox controller or even the Dual Shock 4 (which I use for PS4 games on PS5), it would be a major improvement to me.

Also, that stick drift is rough. I already lost one controller to it, and I'm just waiting for it to happen to the new one I grabbed.

One thing I do love is the easy and cheap option to expand storage. It's the one area hardware-wise that I think Sony has absolutely eaten Microsoft's lunch on.

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bigsocrates

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@navster15: At this point Sony's options are much better but it's worth pointing out that Sony had nothing to offer at all at launch and patched in those features later (though of course the hardware was physically designed to enable adding storage so it was always part of the plan.)

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@bigsocrates: I wasn't really making an argument, more an observation that in hindsight doesn't really hold up to scrutiny. Poor post from me tbh, sorry.

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As someone who wants the games but not the console, the PS5 is just an unnecessary expense for my intents and purposes. I mean, sure, a PS5 is technically less expensive than a graphics card that can either match or exceed the performance of my 2080 Ti paired with a 9900K, but mouse and keyboard controls, mods, and 21:9 have really spoiled me over the years, so I'm willing to wait a year or two for those timed exclusives to get on PC either though Steam or Sony's eventually launcher. So I'm glad that Sony mentioned that they are being more open to putting things on PC so that I'm not in the same situation I am with the PS4 where most of my PS4 collection eventually got ported to PC. It really is a first world problem, but I'm still not to keen on the proposition on having to re-buy some games so that they're on my preferred platform and take advantage of the previously mentioned quirks and features of playing those games on PC. I mean, sure: How was I supposed to know for sure in 2019 or 2020 that God of War (2018), Horizon: Zero Dawn, Marvel's Spider-Man, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Persona 5, the Kingdom Hearts franchise, The Last of Us Part 1, and Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT would eventually make their way to PC when buying a PS4 Pro in 2019? But here we are in 2022, and I wish that I only bought the controller since I've used the DualShock 4 more than the console it belongs too. So, me getting a PS5 would just net me higher frame rates, which is admittingly tempting for Killzone Shadowfall, Bloodborne, and other games where a higher frame rate would be appreciated. But, I'm more focused on seeing how low I can go when re-buying my PS4 collection, keeping an eye on the GPU market, and making peace with the games that may not get ported to PC.

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@broshmosh: No worries, duder, we've all posted stuff we wish we phrased differently. I hope I didn't come off too harsh and there are no hard feelings on any side.

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NGL this thread reads more like "I'm getting old and controllers hurt my hands in ways they didn't used to" than it does "The PS5 Dualsense is poorly designed". I myself am experiencing considerable hand pain this year in a way I never have before, due to having played videogames heavily since a young age and am now in my early 30s, and it gets particularly bad whenever I have to hold a thumbstick in a forward position.

Folks, sometimes it's just your body letting you down.

i mean no ... i honestly have zero hand pain issues outside of using the dual sense ... its just a bad controller, i can use a ds2-4 , 360-series , and a switch pro perfectly fine in marathon sessions frequently , but give me a dualsense for a few hours n my hand hurts .. its not age its the controller.

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#15  Edited By ThePanzini

@styx971: It's pretty much a personal issue though, the Series X and Xbox One controllers are near identical but I found the Xbox One controller painful to hold after a while.

No matter how well a controller is designed you'll always have a small minority who experience issues, given how popular the PS5 is its not exactly a common fault with the controller.

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@styx971: I already apologised for my poor post. I won't do it again.

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#17  Edited By styx971

@thepanzini:personal issue maybe , but it seems pretty common in the circles i've talked in , across a bunch of ages n hand sizes , never seen that issue outside of big vs small hands @broshmosh:yeah sorry about that i posted that before o scrolled the rest.

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@thepanzini: I agree with this. I never actually set out to claim that the PS5 controller is objectively bad, I just explained my own experience with it because it influenced my experience with the console. Just like the lack of early storage options did. They both kind of led me to using it less than I might have otherwise.

I have a friend who has a PS4 and his hands hurt so much when he uses the Dualshock 4 that he bought an adapter to let him use a Nintendo Switch controller instead. For me the Dualshock 4 has never been uncomfortable. So the way controllers affect people will vary wildly from person to person. No design fits everyone perfectly.

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@bigsocrates: thats the big drawback imo with the ps5 atm is lack of alternative controllers if you have that issue. the fact that he can do that on a ps4 if it causes his hands issues its a good thing , sony locking out alternative controllers for ps5 games is just kinda nuts. i totally get why they would want you to use their fancy stuff in it , playing astro it was cool , but not a ton of games make use of it and even ones that do you can turn it off. on top of that if i'm not mistaken if your in remote play you can use a ds4 so why not just 'unlock' it for proper use for ppl with troubles . its just dumb....


but yeah aside from that , the store storage is kinda nuts with how big games are these days. the UI i think isn't as good as the ps4 was even tho its similar , they did alot of things that just make it alot less user friendly like looking at friends stuff , how trophies are listed ( tho i Think that might have been patched last yr?) and thats not even talking about muscle memory of the was the home button is used. the loading times are nicely fast tho i'll give it that much , which is a good thing if you game hop i guess (i don't usually), i will say that i've had more rest mode issues with it than i had on my ps4 so far tho , not to say things never had issues there but it seems more frequent this time around. i think sony also isn't doing as great a job in offerings ps+ wise compared to this point in the ps4 life cycle , i'm sure half of it is tastes but aside from a game or 2 a yr i've found the 'basic' sub to just not be worth it anymore monthly games-wise to the point that i finally let my yearly sub lapse for the first time since 2010 when it was a few months old. i don't play mp titles enough to justify keeping it for that either .

all that said its not like its a flop either , the games are definitely starting to finally roll in , something that if not for the pandemic it might have happened a bit sooner, sure the exclusives are fully exclusive but i'm sure they run better than a ps4 pro n certainly better than non-pro. on top of all that it seems like ppl are finally starting to be able to get their hands on it when they try to , which is good for them.

its hard to say i'm not disappointed in mine for obvious reasons , and assuming they put more 1st party games on pc which they seem to be is only adding to that disappoint cause i could have saved the money .... still at least if i want to shell out the cash on a new/er release when they happen n be part of a conversation about them when they're fresh i can do that so its something i guess. ( n yes i'm in the screw 70usd camp while also justifying my gow purchase cause of a honey cashback deal...because oh the hypocrisy )

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#20  Edited By spacemanspiff00

I owned one for 45 days. Taking away the enjoyment I had with it, I came away feeling 2 things: The OS and UI kinda sucks and I don't care much for the Dualsense for a few reasons, one being that it causes my hand discomfort. I also don't like the L1/R1 buttons nearly a much as the DS4. I'm also in the camp that doesn't care for or want the extra feedback stuff. It was novel and fun enough with Astro's but otherwise I turned it all off and think its just more stuff to break in the long run. Holding out for a DS4 sale during black friday so I can at least have one more for PC.

The controller thing surprised me with how many other folks seem to have the same issue with discomfort. Obviously 'X' issue will always effect a subgroup of people. However, much like the stick drift, this appears to be slightly more prominent.

Side note: I also really hate that the PS5 did away with themes. I don't like the tiles all having their own, sometimes loud, splash screens. I prefer the way it is on PS4 where you have your theme on and you have to highlight the game then hit down to get the splash screen. I could go on about the UI but I think others have covered it enough already.

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For the record, the PS5 controller doesn't hurt my hands when using it. It feels quite comfortable, but the reason could be I'm a tall guy with big hands, so there is plenty of room to grip the controller. Like I said, my main issue with the controller is the stick drifting stuff that has been happening since I got my PS5.

@styx971 said:

its hard to say i'm not disappointed in mine for obvious reasons , and assuming they put more 1st party games on pc which they seem to be is only adding to that disappoint cause i could have saved the money .... still at least if i want to shell out the cash on a new/er release when they happen n be part of a conversation about them when they're fresh i can do that so its something i guess. ( n yes i'm in the screw 70usd camp while also justifying my gow purchase cause of a honey cashback deal...because oh the hypocrisy )

Yes, the new GOW is definitely one of those games I went ahead and spent the 70 bones on. But so far, I'm not regretting it. Great game, pretty good sequel.

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styx971

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@av_gamer: yeah so far its a good sequel/entry , i've enjoyed my time with it but not touched it in 2 days on the count of hand pain mixed with my fiancee's sleep flop flopping ( he works weekends) so not only do i not want to wake him but i know hes gonna want to play it too.


controller thing surprised me with how many other folks seem to have the same issue with discomfort. Obviously 'X' issue will always effect a subgroup of people. However, much like the stick drift, this appears to be slightly more prominent.

this honestly ,.. i know some ppl always had some issues with other controllers particularly dualshocks (ignoring those who just don't like stick the placement)due to the smaller nature of them before 4 , but i've never seen it so wide spread across hand types. but yeah it seems like stick drift in them are no joke too , i can't say i've had that issue but for how little i use mine its not suprising.

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Actually interesting to see so many people bring up hand pain with the DualSense. I thought I might be in the minority, but mine is a bit different from muscle cramp type issues. For me it is specifically something that pops up for me with fighting games. I don't do the old Tekken claw or anything like that, but for some reason the way I rest my middle fingers just below or around the edging under the L2/R2 buttons causes some soreness. Never full abrasions, but definitely some soreness due to rubbing. Probably a combination of gripping too tight in tense situations and quick twitch movements.

Fingers crossed I continue to be free of stick drift. It's honestly an issue that has greatly affected my use of the Switch (or relative lack thereof since).

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#24  Edited By spacemanspiff00

So I ended up caving and getting a Ragnarok bundle yesterday since I could just walk into the Gamestop and get it. This will actually be my 2nd console as I had one at launch then returned it. Its interesting coming back to it already knowing what it is. I'm happy I have one again since its a good upgrade from my base PS4 and my old GTX 970. Building a new beefy PC in Canada is an expensive affair these days so I've chosen to hold out for now.

Other than the noticeable performance improvements for games I can't say I really like much else about the console though. I suppose it DL's games faster too. The UI still kinda sucks and switching directly between it and the PS4 really highlighted that for me. The PS5 UI feels bloated and messy, and while not totally unintuitive, its a bit of a pain to navigate. And I will say it again: I miss themes. I love a good nature/tech mix and not being able to dress up the UI in that way makes me sad. I was also quickly reminded how much I don't like the L1/R1 buttons on the Dualsense compared to the DS4. I still don't care for the extra feedback features either. If I had a better PC I likely would have waited for the Pro model I hope is coming at some point. But next year is looking good for games so having a better machine is beneficial, though I'll have to take the hit on Starfield for PC.

As others have talked about, depending on how Sony handles first party stuff and exclusives coming to PC in the future, this might be the last Sony console I buy. And I'm sort of happy if that ends up being the case. I want less stuff in my life these days and consoles just feel a little redundant at this point. I'd rather just have a machine I can also play games on than a machine that mostly plays games and becomes just another thing I chuck in a closet one day. I'll deal with it when it comes to Nintendo because I don't see any sign of their stuff coming to PC any time soon.