The ninth generation of video game consoles has finally arrived in full. While many are still scouring the internet for any glimpse of availability, some of us at ComicBook Debate were fortunate enough to secure either a PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series console closer to last month’s release dates. That means we’ve had several weeks to enjoy our hardware and we’ve all got plenty to say! While ComicBook Debate’s gaming coverage will continue to grow more expansive throughout 2021, for the time being we’ve decided to collect some of our thoughts so far and share them with our readers right here.
Alex, Donnia and myself went through the same template of questions. We talk about our purchase experience, how gaming has already changed for us with the addition of SSDs, and we tease some of the things we’re most looking forward to in the consoles’ future. Read on for more!
Which next-gen system have you been playing?
Jesse: I’ve been playing on the Xbox Series S.
Donnia: I’ve been playing PlayStation 5.
Alex: I’ve been using the PS5 Digital Edition
Was the new system especially hard for you to get?
Jesse: It wasn’t easy. I waited in line about 10 hours to secure a Series X pre-order when those first went live. When I went to purchase the console, the retailer had two extra Series S on hand as well. I realized I could spend close to the same amount of money and walk out with a new system for my girlfriend too so I took that route and did not purchase the X. I game on a 1080p/144hz monitor. The 4K benefits of the X didn’t necessarily appeal to me to begin with.
Donnia: Stress aside, it went surprisingly smooth for me. I knew that I wanted to get the PS5 via Amazon and it was one of the last retailers to start preorders so I turned on my Twitter notifications for a bunch of video game news accounts and just waited. Amazon didn’t start presales until around midnight so as soon as the notification hit, I went straight to the link and preordered without any trouble. Looking back, I can’t believe I got it as easily as I did, especially seeing how hard it still is to get one.
Alex: It wasn’t super easy but it wasn’t extremely difficult, either. I was keeping my ear to the ground about pre-orders after the Playstation event and saw some people saying to call your local stores because pre-orders might go live soon, so I called my local GameStop and pre-orders had actually gone live about 5 minutes before I called. I rushed to the store and was able to pre-order my console with about 4 slots left in their allotted inventory.
What have been your first impressions?
Jesse: It’s fast. Everything is fast now. Haven’t confirmed yet but these consoles might be running on the Speed Force.
Donnia: It’s been great. Everything is faster, smoother, looks better. I love the controller.
Alex: It’s ridiculously fast. Load times are almost non-existent, switching between apps and games is lightning quick. The Dualsense is also one of the craziest pieces of tech I’ve experienced in a LONG time. Haptic feedback and adaptive triggers are no joke, and it sounds cliché, but it genuinely is something you have to experience to understand, it’s a very big deal.
Which games have you been playing?
Jesse: A lot of them! The most notable I’d say have been Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Yakuza: Like a Dragon. I’ve had excellent experiences with both, although each of them had some early optimization issues on the new hardware. Overall this has been one of my favorite Assassin’s Creed titles and Yakuza is getting really close to making me cry.
Donnia: I’ve been playing Watch Dogs: Legion, Final Fantasy VII Remake and XV, Ghost of Tsushima, and Uncharted 4. I noticed that I was having some screen display issues with Legion on my PS4 but the issue resolved itself on PS5. I was already in awe playing Ghost of Tsushima on PS4 and it looks even better on PS5; it honestly feels like watching a movie. The loading time is incredibly fast as well. FFXV also runs a lot smoother on PS5 compared to 4, so I was really impressed by that.
Alex: Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Fortnite, and Rocket League have been my main plays so far. Miles in both fidelity and performance modes is a sight to behold, Fortnite with ray tracing on is an absolute beauty, and Rocket League looks and plays better than ever. The system just generally enhances the experience of every game.
Which upcoming titles are you looking forward to?
Jesse: Cyberpunk. My hype for that one came only gradually but I’m in deep now. I just watched a trailer dedicated solely to Cyberpunk’s photo mode. Who does that?
Donnia: Cyberpunk 2077! That’s the only big game left this year so I’m excited to play it on PS5. As for next year, I’m looking forward to GhostWire: Tokyo and Deathloop, and I’m patiently awaiting any kind of news on Part 2 of Final Fantasy VII Remake and Final Fantasy XVI.
Alex: God of War: Ragnarok is without a doubt my most anticipated game now, even if it’s a ways out. On the horizon I can’t wait for the PS5 version of Cyberpunk 2077. And Stray (the cat cyberpunk game) is gonna be the game of the generation.
What’s the biggest improvement coming from last-gen?
Jesse: Loading times are an obvious one but download speeds have also been improved and they have been a real blessing. I get through downloads anywhere from 50% to 100% faster.
Donnia: The download speed is faster! Of course, I still have to wait for larger applications to fully install but it doesn’t take nearly as much time as it did on the PS4.
Alex: Load times and noise reduction. As I already mentioned load times are ludicrous, but I also haven’t heard my console at all, once. It’s completely silent even when downloading 5 games in the background. Those download times and the PS Store being integrated into the console are also MAJOR upgrades that make using the system much more enjoyable.
Have next-gen improvements changed the way that you game?
Jesse: Loading screens are gone so I can’t check my phone anymore. I wasn’t particularly good at responding to texts before this so thank you Microsoft for giving me a new excuse.
Donnia: The improvements have made my experience playing games smoother. My PS4 still runs well but there are times where it’s kind of slow so I really appreciate how fast and seamless everything is on PS5.
Alex: The lack of loading times keeps me more consistently immersed. I also feel more open to switching between games frequently if I’m in a mood to hop back and forth between a few. Just yesterday I switched between Fortnite, Rocket League, and Spider-Man and it felt seamless. There are also so many little features the PS5 offers that enhance the experience. From the refined game capture settings to the various uses for picture-in-picture the little things add up to truly feel next-gen.
Do you miss anything about previous generations that isn’t available now?
Jesse: Fuller backwards compatibility would be nice but Microsoft’s given me a pretty sizable library of old games and when my nostalgia craving does hit, that does the trick 9 out of 10 times.
Donnia: My only complaint so far is that HBO Max isn’t available on PS5! It’s on 4, so I’m hoping they’ll add it soon.
Alex: Honestly, no. I can’t think of anything my PS4 did or has that my PS5 can’t accomplish in a better manner.
Do you use your console for anything besides gaming?
Jesse: HBO Max, Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube, Shudder… I also rent movies directly from the Microsoft store on occasion. It’s my media center and it’s done a phenomenal job in that role.
Donnia: Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Hulu and Spotify.
Alex: I’ve used it for Youtube and HBO Max a little bit, but I primarily use my Smart TV for other media consumption and keep my console in rest mode.
Any predictions for the upcoming year?
Jesse: I think GamePass is really going to take off in 2021. A lot of people are only just realizing what a great deal that is and the buzz surrounding GamePass is only going to grow as more and more people get their hands on these consoles. Provided the systems get a little easier to find, of course.
Donnia: A release date for Final Fantasy XVI, fingers crossed!
Alex: I expect a ton more first party exclusives to be announced from Sony. Rumor has it they’ve doubled down on curating a first party line-up even stronger than what we saw on the PS4 and I personally can’t wait to see what that entails.
We’ve enjoyed so much thus far and there’s still so much more to experience as we wade into the deeper moments of the ninth generation’s lifespan. Before we expand on that, we want to hear from all of you! Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter what you’ve enjoyed most about your brand new console. If you haven’t gotten your hands on one just yet, tell us what you’re most looking forward to. There are many of us here on the ComicBook Debate team ready to talk about these great machines.
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