Well, I have both next-gen consoles, which each arriving on their respective launch days despite scary dates that told me they were going to be a week late. My PS5 and Xbox Series X are sitting snugly side by side in my entertainment unit, and I’ve played both extensively this week.
I was not expecting to clearly prefer one over the other in this initial launch period, as I thought it would be more of a tie. And if there was one winner, I wasn’t expecting it to be Series X, frankly.
But my Xbox Series X experience has so far been much more smooth and streamlined than PS5, and I wanted to break down why that is. This may not be maintained indefinitely, and Sony still have some distinct advantages, ones that will only grow when more exclusives arrive, but things feel a bit…weird right now.
Xbox Series X
Setup was easy. No stands to mount, just turn it on its side. It only took a few minutes and I was in.
The UI is pretty close to identical to the old one, so I know where everything is and how to do everything. The only new additions are things like the share button on the controller, which is a useful upgrade.
The first game I downloaded on Xbox Series X was Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which I had been playing on my One X before this. It instantly picked up where I left off and the game has been running beautifully in 60 fps, which has been a joy to play.
The second game I downloaded was Destiny 2, and thanks to Game Pass, I didn’t have to purchase the Beyond Light expansion separately. It loads crazy fast and plays extremely well, even without optimization patches.
Switching back and forth between different games this week in this crowded window is happening all the time, and as such, I am really enjoying Resume Play, though I will likely use it less in the future.
In short, easy to set up, no crashes or errors, everything plays and runs great.
Setup was…not bad, though I had to fiddle around with the stand a bit that did not seem like it was correctly hooking up to the back of the console for a lay-flat scenario, but I suppose it works well enough.
Installing games and patches, I have seen that there is still a “copying” phase some of the time, something I thought we were done with, though admittedly it appears to be much faster on this SSD.
I also downloaded Destiny 2: Beyond Light here, which if I didn’t have a review code, would have cost $40. It also runs well and I enjoy the DualSense rumble changes, but Series X may run it a little better and with slightly faster loading. But it’s still good.
The main game I’ve played on PS5 has been Godfall, which has suffered from odd hard frame drops and two very scary crashes that have shut off my PS5 altogether and put it into “recovery and repair” mode. I’m not clear why this is happening, but I’ve heard frequent reports of this across other games on the console.
The changes to the UI are not good. The PS4 had a pretty perfect UI and I don’t know why they changed it. They have removed the “hold the PS button” functionality that I had gotten used to for seven years, and the new system seems more awkward and like it requires more button presses to do anything. I also find it confusing to go in and out of games and the main menu and return back tot hem.
I had an issue where my Avengers saves were gone because they were locally stored on my PS4. I have all my saves auto-uploaded to the cloud, and yet when I tried to download cloud saves from the PS5, I kept getting an error code I couldn’t get past. So I had to plug in my PS4 again, put the saves on a USB stick, then transfer them to PS5 manually.
I am still mixed on the core concept of the DualSense. Sensitive rumble feels nice and yet the locking/resistance triggers are not something I have particularly enjoyed, and I may need to flat-out turn that feature off.
I’ve just…run into a lot of issues, and I do not enjoy things like the UI changes they’ve made. Perhaps I will enjoy the system more when I start playing Miles Morales, the flagship game, but I am starting to get worried about the severity and frequency of these Godfall crashes.
Again, it’s just the first week, but the difference in the experience of using these two consoles has been a lot more clear than I was anticipating. I hope these PS5 issues can be resolved soon.
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