The PS5 is actually underrated — here’s why

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This week it was announced that the PS5 is the fastest-selling console in history. Yet PS5 restocks are still a complete disaster due to the demand for the console being unbelievably high that Sony cannot manufacture units quickly enough. 

By basically any metric, the PS5 is a smashing success. And yet all I've heard about the console over the last few weeks is its problems, and how in various ways it doesn’t stack up to the Xbox Series X

Recently, it seems like almost a tidal wave of negativity is smashing PlayStation from all sides. Fueled by fanboys on social media and op-eds from my fellow journalists pointing out all the console’s flaws, from its supposed inferior value compared to the Series X to its half-baked backwards compatibility features. My own colleague even wrote about his issues with the DualSense controller

To be clear, I’ve been just as quick to highlight the PS5's issues as anyone else. 

However, even though I own an Xbox Series X and thanks to Xbox Game Pass have a backlog that probably won’t be cleared by the time PS6 is out, the only console I want to play day after day is the PS5. It’s lead me to start wondering, is the PS5 actually in danger of becoming underrated? 

Its own worst enemy 


(Image credit: Shutterstock)

There’s no denying that much of PlayStation’s recent bad press has been brought about by Sony itself. Making rash decisions like deciding to close the PS3/PS Vita store this summer, while Microsoft continues to offer unrivaled support for legacy games, was just a PR nightmare waiting to happen. 

I’m not trying to leap to the defense of a multi-billion-dollar corporation, but Sony’s slate of PS5 games is anything but homogenized.

Thankfully, Sony walked back store closures this week, so gamers still clinging to their PS3 or PS Vita will be able to continue buying games on the systems for the foreseeable future. Flippant comments from PlayStation boss Jim Ryan in relation to backwards compatibility didn’t help matters either. 

Further fuel was thrown onto the anti-PlayStation fire in the wake of a report claiming that Sony’s obsession with blockbuster titles was causing friction at its first-party studios

The story took on a life of its own and became another excuse to hate on Sony. Now, I’m not trying to leap to the defense of a multi-billion-dollar corporation, but Sony’s slate is anything but homogenized; its PS5 exclusive lineup is extremely diverse and has been since launch. 

Astro's Playroom

(Image credit: Sony)

Since November, Sony has released the following PlayStation exclusives: Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Demon’s Souls, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Astro’s Playroom, Destruction: All-Stars, and Returnal. Which ever way you slice it, that’s a diverse lineup of games with plenty more to come throughout the PS5’s lifecycle.

PS5: True next-gen experiences  

My reflections on whether the PS5 is getting the credit it deserves came to a head this week when I was fortunate enough to be given access to the upcoming PS5 exclusive Returnal. I can’t divulge too many details (saving them for my full review) but it’s the first time this generation that I’ve felt like I’m experiencing something that no other platform could offer. 

Returnal combines all of the PS5’s technology advancements into one slick package: instant loading times, 3D audio that has me terrified and the best implementation of the DualSense’s features.

It’s not just that Returnal looks good, and believe me, it looks absolutely marvelous, it’s that it combines all of the PS5’s technology advancements into one slick package: Almost instant loading times thanks to the speedy SSD, 3D audio that has me terrified that monstrous creature might be lurking in dark corners, and the best implementation of the DualSense’s feature like haptic feedback and adaptive triggers since Astro’s Playroom. 


(Image credit: Sony)

Yes, Returnal is only one game, but to me, it’s a demonstration of what a generational leap the PS5 actually is. If Demon’s Souls at launch was the rough sketch of what the PS5 could do, then Returnal is the full proof of conception. It’s a game that confirms that the PS5 is the next-gen console to beat because it’s a game that couldn’t exist anywhere else.  

Competing with Xbox Game Pass 

You basically can’t discuss the PS5 vs Xbox Series X without two words coming up: Game Pass. 

It’s a fantastic service, that much isn’t even really a debate at this point. I rate the service so highly that when I purchased my Xbox Series X earlier this year I bought three years of Game Pass at the same time, so I’m a full covert. 

However, PlayStation’s own subscription services are doing an admirable job of giving players plenty of play each month. The PlayStation Plus Collection genuinely doesn’t get enough love, it’s a library of seriously high-quality games; there’s basically not a bad title in the bunch, yet I rarely see anybody talking about it.  

PS Plus logo with PS5 controller

(Image credit: Miguel Lagoa | Shutterstock)

Furthermore, PlayStation Plus, which is nearing 50 million subscribers, gives out great games every single month. Just this year alone the service has included Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Control: Ultimate Edition, Final Fantasy VII Remake and Days Gone. Those are worth the cost of a year of PlayStation Plus alone, and we’re not even halfway through 2021 yet. 

Yes, it does sting quite a bit that over in Xbox-land first-party exclusive titles are launched simultaneously on Game Pass, whereas PS5 they will cost $70 a pop, but with the news that Sony is planning a “counter-punch” in the future perhaps Microsoft’s ace is about to lose some of its power. 

PS5 is really the best place to play 

Sony’s PS4 marketing slogan may have been a tad cheesy, but I would argue that right now the PS5 is the best place to play in the console space. 

Both next-gen consoles are fantastic machines, and the Nintendo Switch isn’t a bad little device either, but the combination of a fantastic exclusive lineup and unique next-gen features (I never want to use another controller now I’ve played with the DualSense) make the PS5 a machine that I rarely want to turn off. 

My Xbox Series X may offer me more titles than I could possibly ever even think about playing, but my PS5 is where I’ve ultimately ended up investing almost all my gaming time so far this gen and in my eyes is firmly the console to beat. 

Of course, it’s all well and good me waxing lyrical about how wonderful I think the PS5 is but it’s not much help for those who are still struggling to get hold of a machine. Thankfully we’ve got a where to buy a PS5 guide if you’re still on the hunt, which can make the seemingly thankless task a little easier. 

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team. 

  • Fragslayer
    Yea to each there own but my PS5 has sat and collected dust whereas I've played my XBSX and XBSS (in the living room) daily. I was a avid PS4 player and only played on my One X every so often. The so called released exclusives your talking about other then returnal (which I'm excited about) are a joke Miles Morales was a VERY EXPENSIVE dlc that was definitely rushed to launch with the PS5 just so they could say they had a "exclusive" that was the first slap to our face. Astro play is probably the best title so far but got boring after A bit. Adding to my disappointment is all the lies from Sony on the promise of the PS5 Ratchet & Clank and the likes being this late on top of other stuff I'm not getting into it all. Plus Microsoft has a TON of exclusives coming and anybody that thinks otherwise is fooling themselves. All the cool features your talking about XBSX has and then some including baked in features on the AMD GPU. In most cases so far my XBSX loads games faster then the super revolutionary SSD Sony clamour on about. Sure maybe soon we might see a difference in next gen games but SSDs are SSDs any PC gamer knows this the time will miniscule at best. I'm sorry this is the worse article I've seen from this site and had to sign up just to reply. The PS5 is a rushed console that they knew they'd sell based on PS4 sales/fans like myself. They aren't showing any kind of appreciation for it's fans in prices or living up to expectations. Top or all off with it is a inferior machine (sorry that's just facts) I have both hooked up to a top of the like 5000 dollar TV and it just shows. I'm not saying my PS5 is a bad console it just isn't a great console and with the energy I feel coming from Microsoft this gen and the investment into the Xbox brand with developers and buying Zenimax ect ect ect. I'd argue your claim is very very wrong and biased at that cause the Xbox is doing all the things you mentioned and MORE. GamePass is just a machine to feed all the awesome content coming to it's player base for a monthly price instead of 60 (not 70...Sony) dollars a pop. Point being it's a tool and not the only one at there disposal. Xbox was the first to do adaptive triggers by the way so Sony is actually just catching up on that gimmick and I'm happy they did I love the feature. Point being your naming the PS5 as the best next gen machine while padding it's benefits and undermining Xbox's. I would hardly call Sony's current exclusives great they are far from it and it lacks full AMD support and the other features you mentioned the XBSX does to and it has plenty coming. Not good journalism is all. I'd say this is a EXCELLENT time to be gamer we are going to get great games from both. We can circle back with the PS5 pro hopefully they release it before Xbox Series XXX.
  • JaffaC4kes
    Alright first off I just made an account to reply to this article witch is highly not true to it ps5 was straight a disaster the price that console is is not right its nearly the same thing the ps4 is just with a better graphics card ps5 should of been atleast 300 on launch that system i wouldnt call it a next gen system xbox did great with it all games that rated to run on higher fps runs on higher fps on xbox but ps5 struggles to get past 55 fps on big games but on little small games it'll hit 70 to 80 ive not gotten ps5 to go beyond that xbox is clearly the better consoles they announced there partner ship with thousands of new company's witch most make triple a titles im sorry to say your article is a load of garbage this needs to be taken down speak the truth not how much Sony pays u
  • Kvally
    What PS5 exclusives???

    Demon's Souls - PS3
    Miles Morales - PS4
    Godfall - PC (and coming to Xbox later)
    Destruction All Stars - Mega Flop
    Sackboy - PS4
    Returnal - an indie game from housemarque that is getting a $70 price tag lol