Over the past 12 months the PlayStation 5 has stopped its way onto the top step of the PlayStation Podium becoming Sony’s fastest selling games console ever, even though they’re still incredibly hard to find on store shelves. Here’s what we said about it at launch, with the launch lineup, dominated by games that are also available on PS4 and on the back of a generation already punctuated with incrementally more powerful hardware revisions like the PS4 Pro. The PS5 doesn’t quite land as a knockout punch yet, but it’s definitely got the power and speed to be a real contender for the jury’s out on the stamina of that tiny 667 Gigabyte SSD.
However, while the PS5’s well-considered UI and blisteringly quick loading times for PS5 games, make it a pleasure to use. It’s the dual sense controller that’s proven to be the surprise Haymaker I never saw coming. It truly leaves other controllers feeling primitive in comparison, but what’s changed since then? Not a ton, but there had been a few meaningful updates that addressed some of the main points of criticism. Let’s take a look at how the PS5 and its ecosystem have evolved in the past year.
Playing Hard to Get
Certainly the most noteworthy improvement to the PS5 in the year since its launch, is the ability to add additional internal SSD storage, which is a big deal because the 667 GB of usable space that comes included feels even smaller now than it did at launch. The compartment to add an SSD has been inside the PS5 from the beginning, but until the September 2021 update, putting a drive in there would simply give you an error message.
Now, we can install our own M2 SSD drives, which currently range from 250 GB to 4 terabyte monsters that can cost more than two PS5 alone. The fact that it uses off-the-shelf M2 drives gives the PS5 more flexibility than the Xbox series X and its expansion cards, which only come in three sizes up to two terabytes, at the same time, the install process is certainly more involved than the Xbox’s proprietary plug-and-play expansion cards, but once you get over the anxiety of opening up your PS5, it’s not prohibitively.
So, after popping off the top shell, the only tool you’ll need is a Phillips head screwdriver, inserting the SSD is straightforward enough and then you’re done, really it’s the purchase of the SSD itself that’s the key hurdle make sure you pick one that’s been tested to work with the PS5.
If you’re lucky enough to find a new PS5 for sale, it’s likely not exactly the same as the launch model on the inside. In August 2021, Sony made a revision to the heatsink, that’s made the follow-up wave of PS5 consoles, a couple of hundred grams lighter, but performance is unchanged. Sony has also altered the screw that comes with the base, which is reportedly easier to screw in by hand.
Although we’ve never had a problem with that on the launch model, of course, that screw is only relevant if you’re positioning your PS5 vertically. If you’re storing it horizontally, the stand is designed to simply loosely pinch the back of the PS5 and let the magic of gravity hold it in place over the past year.
The stand has proven it’s really not up to the task nudging a horizontal PS5 even slightly to plug-in peripherals and USB devices is generally enough for it to slide out of position become crooked or simply slip off the stand entirely, it’s not an annoyance you’ll run into every day, but it’s a problem that only exists because the PS5 is absurd warped shape prevents it from sitting flat like a normal piece of electronic equipment.
Come to Play
On the software side, game highlights have been in steady supply since launch and 12 months in there’s already a wide range of top quality stuff to play on PS5 launch games, like Spider-Man Miles Morales, Demon’s Souls and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla were followed this year by January’s fantastic, but slightly forgotten Hitman 3 control Ultimate edition in February and Yakuza like a dragon and it takes two in March.
Sony’s own third-person shooter Roguelike returnal made a splash in April and the highly-anticipated Resident Evil Village shambled out in May/June, marked the debut of Sony’s, visually stunning PS5 showcase ratchet, and clank rift apart, and July saw the high-speed thrills of F1 2021. IGN’s game of the year for 2020 Hades hit PS5 in August, which was followed by bethesda’s time-bending Supernatural shooter death loop in September, which scored a 10 out of 10 from IGN.
The PS5 library of high quality games has grown impressively over its first year and with big-name exclusives like Horizon Forbidden West, God of War Ragnarok, Spider-Man 2, and Gran Turismo 7 on the calendar for 2022. It doesn’t look like, it’ll slow down anytime soon. Sony may not have an answer for Microsoft’s all-you-can-eat game pass subscription yet, but games like those are hard to turn your nose up at that said, I still think the pre-installed Astros playroom remains the best use of the PS5 great dual sense controller.
Recent games haven’t done too much with it, but I remain a firm believer in the potential of the dual sense overall, even though frustratingly the left stick on my included dual sense began to drift up and down a few months ago. Thankfully the second controller I purchased not long after launched last year remains unafflicted by drift to date. It actually came as quite a rude surprise. I own between two and six controllers for every PlayStation dating back to the original and not one has ever broken on me in 25 years until now.
The main improvement to the PlayStation 5, since our review a year ago is that Sony has enabled support for expanded internal storage, which for a price can sidestep the hurdle of having only 667 gigabytes of usable internal storage space out of the box, which is good because there’s being a lot to install including several highly rated PS5 games like Ratchet and Clank rift apart and death Loop.
Unfortunately, the biggest problem with the PS5 for now is that they remain as rare as rocking horse, crap and shortages are expected to continue for some time, but if you can’t get one, it’s a great console to own for more on the PlayStation 5 and if you have a PS5, but haven’t played death Loop, consider getting on that.