PlayStation 5: The Promised Land?


Since writing the previous post related to PS5 storage I have successfully acquired a disc-enabled PS5. Thankfully, both kidneys are still intact. Below are my experiences in searching, waiting, and finally purchasing this elusive console, followed by my experiences actually playing the PS5.

A variety of outlets (Tom’s Hardware, IGN, CNET, EuroGamer) have reported that the PS5 is the fastest selling console in US history; however, due to bots and scalpers, the PS5 has largely been absent from most gamers’ entertainment centers since it’s release in November 2020. How did I get one? I used a stock tracker, specifically . Stock trackers monitor major stores’ inventory and send updates to followers when a particular model of console shows as ‘in-stock’. While stock trackers have been a viable method of inventory visibility for many years, the PS5 stock tracker is a bit of a wild ride.

Limited supply, seemingly endless demand, and scalpers utilizing automated systems to buy all available inventory, put honest gamers in a tough spot in terms of buying a console. Stock would appear and disappear almost instantly for the first 4 months following the console’s release. Consoles were always available, technically; though, posted for outrageously inflated prices on eBay by the scalpers. Major stores attempted to mitigate bots’ automated purchasing by instituting a variety of extra steps in the store checkout process, or even creating separate queues customers would need to wait in just to have a chance to buy a PS5. Did they work? Yes and no.

I was able to purchase a console from Best Buy, a store that implemented an additional ‘random wait’ mechanism that would have consumers validate their intention to purchase the console after some amount of time. Conceptually, it is very similar to a random-time reCaptcha setup. Bots are not great at determining images of crosswalks, bikes, and boats, apparently. Add in the time aspect, and you’ve got a winner (sort of).

Each outlet implemented their own mechanism to attempt to combat bots and scalpers. Some were successful, some less so. Regardless, I waited patiently, followed the tracker, received a notice via Telegram, and miraculously was able to purchase a console at MSRP at a Best Buy an hour away. Is it worth it?

I started writing this post in early 2021, and until now (March 2022) it has waited in [Draft] status. Neglect aside, I have had a lot of time since then to play and appreciate the PlayStation 5. The PS5 is backwards compatible with nearly every PS4 game available, which certainly made it an easy drop-in replacement for my original base model PS4 that is now over 8 years old. It is ultra convenient to already have my PS4 library of disc and digital games to play, and with the benefits of the PS5’s power. I never upgraded to a PS4 Pro, so it felt like I was making a really big jump in quality. In reality, The Last of Us Part II looked good on the base PS4, and still looks good on the PS5. A feature that made the initial PS5 experience even more seamless was the way external storage transfers worked. I unplugged my USB 3.0 SSD from the PS4 and plugged it into the PS5. The PS5 recognized all of the PS4 games immediately, and they were ready to play. That is the way things should be, but it still blew my mind that it was fast, simple, and worked!

I have played the following games on the PS5:

  • Astro’s Playroom
  • The Last of Us Part II
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • NieR: Automata
  • God of War
  • Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
  • Death Stranding: Director’s Cut
  • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018)
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  • Final Fantasy VII: Remake
  • Horizon Forbidden West

The PS4 gaming experience on PS5 went as expected. All games played as well as they did on PS4, and some played better once a PS5 patch was received. Astro’s Playroom and Rachet & Clank: Rift Apart were the only PS5 exclusives that I played. Astro’s Playroom is effectively a really elaborate technical demo of the PS5’s capabilities. It is fun and showcases the PS5 hardware very well. There was a really cool part in the game where you have to break open collectible containers using the adaptive triggers. The variable resistance on the triggers is an awesome technology and I think it has a load of potential!

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is very pretty and played great! If you played Ratchet & Clank (2016) then this is more of the same except higher-res, better FPS, ray-tracing, and more… hairy? I initially wanted to say it was akin to ‘Star Fox: Adventures’ for the GameCube; however, I looked up a video of that game (even though I own it) and unfortunately I think I need to go see a doctor because my memory is slipping. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is great, really a solid game, though I don’t believe it is a console seller like people seem to think Halo is for Xbox.

Spider-Man didn’t seem much better on PS5; however, Miles Morales was fantastic, if not a bit short. Finally, Horizon Forbidden West. Yes.

Is the PS5 worth it? I think so. If you have the money and can get the damn thing, then yes, it is worth it. There is a substantial library of games thanks to PS4 and PS5 catalogs, the games load within 5 seconds in most cases (check out the previous PS5 post), the controllers are comfortable and follow the trend of keeping what works from the previous generation while improving on things like haptics and adaptive triggers… It is a solid package. I don’t think it is worth it to get the PS5 Pulse Headset; it doesn’t sound significantly better than other less expensive headsets that I have. Likewise, the PS5 HD Camera might as well be a scam. You don’t need it, and shouldn’t spend your money on it. Buy a game instead.

As far as the title; is it the promised land? Maybe. I am mid-way through my thirties, and I am seriously getting tired of playing the build-a-pc game. I love technology, and I love building computers, but parts are expensive, supply is low due to global shortages, and even with the best of the best, the operating system is so general purpose that the gaming experience frequently suffers. I am legitimately having an internal conflict between continuing to build gaming PCs every 3-5 years knowing that I don’t want to spend $3,000 for the best parts, or just keeping my console up to date and having a mid-range PC that can eek out 1080p gaming on choice exclusives. I suppose the PS5 tows the line. It isn’t a console that is likely to convert you to Sony if you aren’t already predisposed, but it likely isn’t going to drive you away either. Personally I am not lukewarm about it; I really like the experience of playing games on the PS5. If you have the chance to try one out, do it. If you want one, and have the chance and income to buy one, do it. I don’t believe you will be disappointed.