The PS5 natively supports games in 4K and 8K with a 60Hz refresh rate, if your TV can handle that. That’s a lot, and it should take the realism of some games one step higher. Also raytracing supports this time, a specific technology for rendering light beams in a virtual world that should provide additional realism.
For us, the DualSense Wireless Controller is one of the most striking novelties of the PS5. The thing looks more or less the same as the PS4’s Dualshock 4 Controller, albeit slightly larger and with a white and black design. However, what’s inside is completely new. PlayStation controllers have been equipped with vibration functions and speakers for some time to give you a stronger experience of the game, but with PS5 Sony has considerably expanded that haptic feedback.
You can test that with ‘Astro’s Playroom’, a platform game that Sony developed as a showcase for their new console. It’s a very solid game, stuffed with references to well-known games and PlayStation history, a nice extra for the fans. But important here is that the game also has the robot protagonist walk over every possible surface, from sand and grass to ice, and move through whirlwinds and pools. The combination of sounds and different types of controller vibrations works amazingly well here to draw you into a game. The triggers, the folding buttons at the back of the controller, are also involved in that feedback. With a lever that is heavy to pull in play, the button in question will be harder to press, for example.
Those who wonder whether all this is desirable if, for example, you have less strength in your fingers: Fortunately, Sony has also thought of that. Many of these functions can also be turned off in the accessibility menu.
Like the Dualshock 4 Controller, the DualSense Wireless Controller is equipped with a touch screen on which you can make all kinds of swipe movements, and a tilt system where the console feels when you tilt the controller in all kinds of directions. Sony has also incorporated a microphone that knows when you blow into it. The latter immediately evokes war flashbacks of 3DS games yelling ‘Objection!’ against a game. So we can only hope game developers use those options responsibly.
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The user interface
The PlayStation 5 received a new user interface, this time adapted to 4K televisions. This means that the buttons for your games at the top of the screen are smaller, and there is a separate tab for your games and your media apps.
In that Games tab, you’ll find recently opened games, the PS Now and PS Plus subscriptions if you have them, as well as the PlayStation Store. The latter three are no longer separate apps, but are now baked into the interface. In general, the new interface feels a lot more cohesive than in the previous version, if only because the sometimes long loading times of the apps are eliminated.
Also new is the Control Center. While playing, press the PlayStation logo on your controller (which doesn’t really look like a button at first glance) and you’ll open a menu at the bottom of the screen. It allows you to switch between games, check your downloads and more. If you go into rest mode from this menu, your game will also restart immediately when you switch on the console again.
Also in this Control Center you will find ‘Cards’ that represent different functions of the game you are playing. Here you can browse through your achievements and quickly switch to specific levels in certain games, for example.