After months of waiting, Sony finally revealed the user-interface (UI) for PlayStation 5. While the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 had somewhat frustrating menus that made it cumbersome to access certain games and features, Sony really seems to have polished the PS5 UI. The next-gen console will be more accessible and tailored to individual players.
In particular, the Activities feature could prove to be a game-changer for those who don't have a lot of time but want to hop into specific moments of a game. There's even a great deal of utility for completionists as well who may be gunning for PSN trophies.
The game Activities feature was revealed alongside a plethora of other improvements in a video and PlayStation Blog post Thursday morning. It was the first change Sony went over.
The Activities feature is found in the Control Center for any given PS5 title, which is accessed when a game is active and you press the PlayStation button, or when the system wakes up from Rest Mode and you are still in the game.
From there, players will see several "cards," many of which are for Activities for levels or objectives within the PS5 game. The feature got demoed with PS5 launch title Sackboy: A Big Adventure. As a level-based 3D platformer akin to Super Mario 3D World, it is a good fit for Activities. Each of the game's Activities is represented as a different level or mission.
Players can choose and highlight a level's activity card and see their percentage of progress already made towards that activity as well as a time estimate for how long it will take the player to complete that activity. Additionally, Activities will also display the individual objectives for the level or missions in question, and even have proprietary in-game guides that explain how to complete the objectives in question.
Most Activities let players hop right to the mission or level in question. In Sackboy's case, we see the PS5 quickly load into the level in question after choosing an activity. Using the "picture-in-picture" PS5 UI feature, the activity card can even stay on the screen as you play so you can reference it.
It's worth noting that this feature, as well as all of the other UI enhancements, will only be available on PS5. Unlike Xbox, who is using the same UI across Xbox One, Xbox Series S, and Xbox Series X, Sony has opted to make the PS5's UI wholly unique to the next-gen system. As such, the PS5's SSD can make new features like the Activities one possible
The Inverse Analysis — For completionists that want to make sure they do everything or those that are just looking for some quick activities to complete in the time, the PS5's Activities feature will be quite a game-changer. Being able to hop to a specific moment in a game and know what you have to do will take a lot of stress out of not only platformers like Sackboy: A Big Adventure, but large mission-based open-world games like Horizon Forbidden West.
All around, the PS5's new UI looks much slicker and easier to navigate than the PS4's. The Activities feature really stands out though as it will make completing games more accessible than ever.
PlayStation 5 will be released on November 12, 2020.