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Saturday, December 19, 2020

One Month In With Two New Consoles

So, in November we had 2 very large consoles release... well, technically 2 1/2. Microsoft's Xbox Series S|X and Sony's PS5 Physical|Digital editions. Since I was lucky enough to get both during the pre-order period, I had both a Series X and PS5 at launch.  Both consoles are pretty big, carry similar specs and do what they are supposed to well. So how did they work out for me?

A little info on my setup
All of my HD+ consoles run through an Only TX-NR686 to an LG 55UH6550. Both handle 4k60 and HDR10.

1st day with each console
Starting off with the Series X. I had my delivery routed to the Walgreens across the street from work so I could grab it on the way home from work, That went flawlessly. I got home and upon opening the outer box, it appeared this box was designed to ship the Series X. A perfectly snug fit. As you probably have seen in hundreds of unboxings, opening the Series X is as if the console is being presented to you. Good job MS. I just pulled the USB drive from my One X, went through the setup of the Series X, plugged in my USB drive and I was done. It just worked. Mostly. I did have a few HDMI dropouts. I was using the cable that came with my One X. A small bit of education of HDMI cables and bandwidth and I swapped out my HDMI cable cable that came with the Series X. Handshake issues gone. Yakuza Like A Dragon, Watchdogs Legions and Gears of War 5 all run like a dream.

Day 1 with the PS5 wasn't as fun. First UPS was "in my area" for almost 7 hours before delivery, and if I wasn't home they would have delivered to the wrong home. Next, the PS5 is HUGE (and hideous in my opinion) so finding a spot in my entertainment center was a pain. Had to make a trip to buy a 10' HDMI cable that would reach the one spot the PS5 fit. Sony doesn't allow you to copy games from internal to external drives on either PS4 or PS5, move is the only option, so I went with the network transfer. Figured I'd have to do it in batches as my PS4 has a 2TB HDD where the PS5 has a bit over 600GB available and you can't do a network transfer directly to an external drive. 

So my 1st batch was done and I went to move them to the external USB drive and the 1st issues popped up. None of the games worked and some games registered as 8MB!  Strange.I tried again, but with only 2 games, then moved them. No Luck. Strange... Tried 1 game and same results. My 1st thought was the 2 year old USB drive was bad, so I bought another. Same results.Tried a different game, same result. Transferred a digital game over, but didn't move it to the USB and it worked! Victory was mine. Moved it to USB and it still worked! Next thought, let try a disk based game, this same way. Transferred Gravity Rush 2 to the PS5, inserted the disc and it ran. Moved it to USB and it still worked. Tried one that failed previously, moved to USB and it failed. Moved it back to internal, ran it then moved it back to USB and it worked. Mystery solved. Every transferred game had to be run once before moving to USB, which is stupid, but figured it out. Only 5 games transferred over at 8MB total. Note, this was 3 days worth of troubleshooting.

The Games
While I didn't pick up any next gen only games, and the Xbox side a few games had Series X version updates available. For the PS5, a few games had small updates that let them take advantage of the PS5's features.

On the Xbox I've primarily have bee playing Yakuza Like a Dragon. I was supposed to fly to Japan this past October, but the current pandemic squashed that idea. Since the town of Kamurochou is loosely based on Kabukicho, I figured it would smooth out the disappointment of not going (I have been twice before already). Needless to say, walking around as Ichiban, I stopped a few times as ares looked familiar, minus naming. Needless to say, I feel like Sega could at least swapped out Godzilla on the Toho Cinema building with maybe something from Golden Axe or Altered Beast! I haven't spun up the other games yet, but I am enjoying Yakuza for now.

The PS5 is different. The only PS5 specific game on it is Astro's Playroom..... And it was AWESOME. I loved the game a bit too much and would pay if they released a fully fleshed out game. After that, I moved onto God of Way (2018) and I hate myself for not playing it sooner. Loading times were short when installed internally and noticeable when on a USB HDD. I found myself playing at least 2 hours a night until I beat it. I just started Ghost of Tsushima and can say, without a doubt, it is the best looking PS4 game I have seen. With the PS5 locking it to a solid 60FPS, this game is a must play on the PS5.

Everything else
I've been gaming for a very long time. I have bought every Xbox at launch and never had an issue outside of the RROD of the 360 launch, but the replacement system is going strong. Sony consoles on the other hand, I have been through 2xPS1, 6xPS2, 2xPS3 and 1xPS4 system. All purchased new, 6 months to a year after launch. All given the same care as the other consoles I have. Not  one has survived the entire generation until the PS4. So I was skeptical buying a PS5 at launch. Only time will tell on how both consoles will be 4-5 years down the line.

Another thing, I have hated EVERY Sony controller, from the original PS1 controller without analog sticks to the PS4 controller. They were all uncomfortable. I have liked EVERY Xbox controller, including the Duke, as they were all the right size for my hands. The Sony DualSense controller is the first Sony controller that is almost flawless. Why almost? White controllers tend to look filthy faster than any other color.

Another thing that people seem polarized on. Console looks. While I don't consider myself and audio or videophile, I setup and purchased items that go inter my entertainment center that work together. The Series X does fit visually with the aesthetics in my entertainment center. The PS5? It sticks out like a sore thumb that's been slammed by a door. It is quite possibly the ugliest console I own and I own 16+ consoles not including duplicates. It fits in 1 spot only and it draws the attention of your eyes as it just doesn't fit visually.... and I own a white PS4. But I still bought it and have no intention of getting rid of it unless Sony releases a better looking variant later.

Then there is the storage debate. Both systems give you a lot less than 1TB. Sony went the PCI-E Gen 4 NVME route, so any compatible, off the shelf drive should work.... If Sony didn't disable the slot. I think there are maybe 1 or 2 spec compatible drives on the market. Microsoft, on the other hand, went with an easier, but costlier solution. It seems to be based off the CFast 2.0 (or newer) standard in a custom shell. So next gen upgrades for storage will not be cheap. There will be no buying of cheap NVME drives for your PS5, and you'll have to wait to see if other manufacturers jump on for the Series X|S

Final Thoughts
So, both consoles are leaps and bounds better than the last gen. Both are also very similar in specs. And both do 1 thing great. Play games. While both seem EXTREMELY hard to find now, I see no issue in obtaining either one. Since both consoles are so similar spec wise, the only reason I can justify both are the exclusives on each. With the Xbox giving you access to a back catalog of almost 20 years, you have access to a lot there. Sony on the other hand, have had more games that are playable from the PS4 era. So the choice only becomes tough if you have a deep back catalog. If you only plan to go Next Gen, now current gen, then you can't really go wrong either way.

Also, DO NOT feed scalpers and scammers. Between over priced systems and others being ripped off, this is easily avoided by having some patience.

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