PS5 load times tested — now this is an upgrade

Spider-Man Miles Morales
(Image credit: Sony)

The PS5 is here, offering gorgeous 4K graphics with ray tracing, smooth framerates and an incredibly inventive DualSense controller. But the system's true killer feature is its 825GB SSD, which allows it to load games almost instantaneously and makes long loading screens a thing of the past. 

But how much faster does the PS5 load games than the PS4? We tested Sony's next-console against the standard PS4 on a variety of top backwards compatible games, and noticed improvements to loading across the board. While some speed increases were subtle, the PS5 was able to cut load times by as much as 50% for certain top titles.

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PS5 vs PS4 load times
Header Cell - Column 0 PS5PS4 (2013 model)
Cold boot time22 seconds30 seconds
Spider-Man: Miles Morales (startup)12 seconds12 seconds
Spider-Man: Miles Morales (menu to gameplay)2 seconds20 seconds
The Last of Us 2 (startup)15 seconds33 seconds
The Last of Us 2 (menu to gameplay)1 minute1 minute, 28 seconds
Mortal Kombat 11 (startup)8 seconds11 seconds
Mortal Kombat 11 (menu to gameplay)10 seconds18 seconds
God of War (menu to gameplay)6 seconds9 seconds
God of War (menu to gameplay)21 seconds34 seconds
Star Wars Battlefront II (menu to gameplay)33 seconds1 minute, 5 seconds
Star Wars Battlefront II (menu to gameplay)12 seconds22 seconds

Let's start with Spider-Man: Miles Morales, which is a PS5 launch title but also has a PS4 version. Going from the game's main menu to its sprawling open-world Manhattan happens in just two seconds on PS5, while the PS4 version has you sit through a roughly 20-second loading screen before you can play.

But that's a PS5-optimized game compared to a separate PS4 version. As far as more apples-to-apples comparisons go, we noticed the most dramatic improvements from The Last of Us Part II, Sony's hit PS4 action game that launched earlier this year. The game started up twice as fast on PS5 as it did on PS4 at just 15 seconds, and while it still took a lengthy one minute to load a gameplay encounter on PS5, it did manage to shave nearly 30 seconds off of the PS4's load times.

The Last of Us Part II

(Image credit: Sony)

Star Wars Battlefront II showed similarly stark improvements, starting up in around 33 seconds on PS5 compared to over a minute on PS4. And loading into a mission happened twice as quickly.

Other load time improvements were more subtle, but still noticeable. We were able to get into gameplay about 13 seconds faster on PS5 in God of War, and started up a battle in Mortal Kombat 11 in just 10 seconds on PS5 compared to 18 on PS4.

The PS5's comprehensive backwards compatibility is one of its best features, as it can play nearly all PS4 games right out of the gate. Not only can you safely leave your PS4 behind (barring some exceptions), but you'll also enjoy significantly improved load times for many of the system's best games. More PS4 games are set to get PS5 optimization patches in the coming months, so we're eager to see even more of our favorite PlayStation titles get even better on Sony's new hardware. 

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.