When most players get their hands on a PlayStation 5, their first concern isn’t Trophies – those gaming achievements that pop with a satisfying sound and offer a faux sense of accomplishment that make the hundreds of hours put into non-gratifying tasks seem a little less pitiful. As you can tell, I love them. While the integration of Trophies may not have been my top priority when installing Sony’s next generation console, it was one I was very excited to see the evolution of. After spending so long building up my Trophy level, I either had to double down on the little buggers or face just how much time I had wasted collecting these useless things during the PS4 era. I chose the former.
My initial impressions were positive. Everything is fast on the PlayStation 5, whether the snappy UI while navigating the menus or the instantaneousness of the Trophy unlocking the second the accompanying task is complete. As you’re probably aware, there has been an overhaul to the levelling system. Instead of levels 1 to 100, the progression system now has levels 1 to 999, with different tiers along the way. I’m currently level 400 which is in the silver tier, and I think this is a great change. You level up faster, which makes the whole enterprise more engaging and addictive.
However, after a couple of weeks with the PlayStation 5, there are some definite improvements that need to be made. While the new Trophy levels are an upgrade, it’s disappointing that there is currently no way to see your percentage in your current level, only the level itself. I don’t know if I’m 1% into level 400 and need to earn lots more to level up, or if I’m 99% into the level and will move on to level 401 with my next bronze Trophy. In order to see your Trophy level percentage you have to use the mobile app or – God forbid – switch on your PlayStation 4. The fact that the PS4 can do something that the PS5 can’t is ludicrous.
I wish there was a Trophies tab on the quick menu and home screen for easy access but no, you first have to click on your profile and then onto Trophies. When you land on this menu (after 3 button presses!) it looks the same as it did on PS4, with the games listed vertically and clearly. Perfect. Yet when you click on a game to see its Trophies, it switches to the PS5’s ‘card system’ to meld Trophies with the rest of the PS5’s UI. In-game cards are a great addition. One press of the PS button and you can easily see nearby activities and even related Trophies on a horizontal bar across the screen. But in-menu cards are terrible.
It’s much, much easier to view Trophies vertically than horizontally. Currently on PS5, the description of the Trophy is cut off and you have to click on each individual trophy to see what they entail, as well as any other information such as what percentage of gamers have unlocked it. All this information was available at a quick glance on the PlayStation 4. The horizontal cards work perfectly in the middle of gameplay because you can quickly see the information you need along the bottom of the screen while the game remains the primary focus. In menus, which take up the entire screen, it makes no sense to have everything horizontally because that’s the only thing I’m looking at. Just show me a list that that takes up the entire screen. The decision has been made for consistency with the PS5’s new UI design but for the Trophy menu the old way was much better.
Each game has ‘Hidden Trophies’ which hide the Trophy information because it may spoil story moments or secretive activities. Yet, if you’re like me, you just want to know what they are so you can unlock them as soon as possible. In order to do this, I have to click on the Trophy, then the options button, and then press ‘Show Hidden Information’. ‘Show Hidden Information’ is the only option within the options menu so why even have an options menu? Just give me a single button press to show the hidden information rather than two. Again, the PlayStation 4 does this much better by dedicating the Square Button to this task.
Also simpler on the PlayStation 4 is how you sort your Trophies. On my PS4 I would lock my Trophy lists to “Not Earned” so all the Trophies I have yet to earn to would appear at the beginning of the list, meaning I wouldn’t have to constantly scroll to find them. The PlayStation 5 has this option but it doesn’t stick. Every time you go on your Trophies you have to manually change it to show unearned Trophies first. Every time on every individual list. I can’t find a way to keep that setting locked.
Overall, my time with the PlayStation 5 has been great. The games are fun, the controller a revelation, and the system speedy. But, for one of those weird Trophy obsessives, I do have my nitpicks and a list of required improvements. All of which can be easily adopted in future system updates to make traversing the PS5’s Trophy menus that much easier. As we saw with the previous generation, the consoles and their features we get at launch are very different from the ones they evolve to become by the end of their life cycle.
Do you have any nitpicks with the PlayStation 5? Are you a fellow Trophy hunter? Let me know in the comments and be sure to geek out with me about TV, movies and video-games on Twitter @kylebrrtt.