When Jaz met the PS5

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Today I had the pleasure of meeting the PlayStation 5. Yes, that’s right. I sat in a room and held the controller of one of only three consoles in all of New Zealand. And I gotta say, it was flipping cool!

We didn’t get to see any of the UI or home screen or anything, but we did play a demo of Astro’s Playroom, which really shows off what the next generation controller can do. Astro’s Playroom will be available for everyone who gets a PS5 – so you’ll be able to run around and get a feel for what the controller can really do yourself!

Look at this BEAUTY

I’ve seen a lot of online talk about how big the PS5 is. Now that I’ve sat down to write up my experience, I realise I can’t quite comment on the size. I never really noticed it while I was playing, nor while I was not playing. So I guess that means to me, it’s not a noticeably bigger console. Although they were sitting next to some surprisingly big TVs.

Regardless, I do think it looks stylish. I’ve never had my consoles stood vertical before, but I just might for this one.

Here you can see the corner of my face mask. Proof that this was a socially distanced and Covid-aware event.

Let me hark on about the controller. When I first played with the Nintendo Switch and discovered “haptic feedback,” I was amazed. ‘Why doesn’t every controller have this?!’ I thought. Well, I’m happy to report that the PS5 controller joins the club.

Haptic feedback is a really specific rumble in the controller. This means it has the potential to vibrate differently depending on what surface your avatar character is running on. So there’s a notable distinction in the rumble when Astro was running on glass compared to when he was on ice or sand.

Now, I don’t know if every game will be like this, but in Astro’s Playroom the haptic feedback was near constant. Every footstep, every breath of wind that hit Astro’s face, it all resonated in my hands. I asked how this might effect battery life, but the person who was talking me through it wasn’t quite sure. However, Sony officially claims it can run up to 7-8 hours.

The touchpad has made a return! I remember seeing it on the PS4 controller and thinking, ‘oh yes, I’d love to see what developers do with this!’ But no one really made use of it other than Ghost of Tsushima (most recently, anyway), where it controlled five different actions. Fortunately none of these abilities were necessary in stressful situations, as I would occasionally struggle to get the touchpad to register which direction I was swiping. However the PS5’s touchpad seems to be incredibly more reactive, which is exciting.

As I said above, we didn’t really get to see much else about the PS5, except for the awesome controller – which is still super cool. I’ve already preordered my own PS5, and am now even more excited (if that’s possible) for its arrival on November 12th!


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