First Impressions: Sony's PlayStation 5, Out the Box

We got our hands on a pre-release PlayStation 5 and wanted to tell you everything we're allowed to, including our trip to 'Astro's Playroom'.

Sony's PlayStation5  and the DualSense controller

Image via Sony

Sony's PlayStation5  and the DualSense controller

[Ed note: We are giving you our first impressions of a pre-release PlayStation 5 that Sony sent for review purposes. As we adhere to their embargoes, we will be giving you more information on this next-generation gaming console. Keep it locked as we will be breaking down more and more on the PS5 in the coming weeks.]

I flex because I care. This holiday season is going to be insane—primarily because we're still on quarantine, so those nimble fingers will be trying to snatch up every PlayStation 5 out there. That said, even the least enthusiastic PlayStation enthusiast will want to know what this console will look like sitting on your entertainment stand (or whatever dresser/desk situation you're working with, right? That why I'm here: I care.

There is only so much detail that can be gone into right now regarding the PlayStation 5, but with this console sitting on my entertainment center? It's unique. The PlayStation 4 was much lower-key, more understated. For the fifth iteration of the PlayStation, this chilly white unit makes a statement, on or off. Over here, the preference is to attach the stand and have the PS5 standing tall. Maybe I'm reading to much into it, but this bolder, flashier design feels like a celebration; we're 20 years removed from the release of the PlayStation 2. It's time to make a big splash into the next generation of gaming power.

Astro's Playroom

The PlayStation 5 does come pre-loaded with Astro's Playroom, a game that's designed to show off not just what the system can do, but what the new DualSense controller can do. The only stage I can speak on—Cooling Springs—sold me. If you remember The Playroom and Astro Bot Rescue Mission—two games that showcased the tech for the PlayStation 4—this blows those experiences out of the placing Astro and his bot homies in the water.

This was a lot of fun. I think the biggest thing that leapt out to me was the 3D Audio coming out of the DualSense. In Cooling Springs, Astro, the various bots (which are doing everything from paddleboarding to burying each other in the sand to tagging a wall with the Triangle, Circle, Cross, and Square buttons. You slide with Astro into this beautiful sandbox, battling bad guys and searching for Artifacts (aka different PlayStation memorabilia hidden throughout the level). Once you realize that one hit=restarting from your last saved point, you're off to the races, beating up foes and traversing this insane level.

Astro's Playroom

You go from chilling on a huge beach to an indoor pool area to a spot where Astro zips up into this mechanical frog suit (complete with a dope spring-jump action), which you can only move using the Adaptive Trigger function on the DualSense (the lighter you hold the button, the lighter the action, meaning you can build up a strong jump and really take off) paired with the motion detection on the controller, so the way you want to go is based on the way you're holding the controller. It's not hard to figure out, although I may have spent more time in certain areas figuring out how to time bigger jumps for maximum boost. There's even a section where you're instructed to blow into the mic on the controller to help Astro move to a different area.

After finishing Cooling Springs, I wanted to dive back in; I wasn't 100 percent in any of the areas, which is frustrating but just means I can link up with Astro and have more fun exploring the insane world living inside of the PlayStation 5 and the DualSense controller. Astro's Playroom also gave me hope for what developers are going to be able to do in terms of pushing the PlayStation 5 to its limits. I'll be here, DualSense in hand.

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