The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X have both been out in the wild for a little bit now. While both consoles have their own pros and cons there is no denying that Sony’s DualSense controller is probably the biggest surprise of the next generation of gaming. After playing a few games that really utilized the controller, I’m eager to share my thoughts with you.
Disclaimer: The Playstation 5 has a game called Astro’s Playroom. The sole purpose of this game, besides offering some nostalgia, is to show off the DualSense controller. And it does a great job at doing that. For the purposes of this article, I am going to exclude Astro’s Playroom as I want to focus on some other big-name titles that have shown off the DualSense and offer up a more authentic experience of what this controller will be able to do.
My very first true experience with the DualSense that took advantage of the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers was FIFA 21. In FIFA players that you control or play with have stamina and as the match goes on your players get tired. This results in sprinting being increasingly difficult to do as your player will most likely be able to only sprint for a shorter distance and it increases the likelihood of injury if you sprint too much while your player is tired. With the DualSense, this feeling is amplified. If you try to sprint while your player is too tired the right trigger presents you with some resistance when you try and press it down. The first time I experienced it I was like “what the f**k!?”. It caught me so off guard that I almost thought the controller was broken. But after playing through the match I realized that this was all the stuff Sony has been talking about around the DualSense. It was incredible, to be honest. To think that a controller could immerse me even more into a soccer game of all things. But FIFA is not the only game that the DualSense has shown off.
Some other games I played did make use of the feedback feature. Games like Godfall and Destiny 2 do have some controller feedback that adds a little spice to the game. In Destiny 2 when you fall from a jump, or maybe standing in a well you can feel the subtle vibrations that come from the controller. It is a tiny addition but something that I definitely noticed while playing. In Godfall there is some feedback from the controller and it’s interesting because that feedback can differ depending on the type of weapon you are using. You might get some light feedback from lighter one-handed weapons but heavier feedback when slamming down beefier weapons.
A few other games that highlight the triggers are Warframe and, something I did not think about, No Man’s Sky (NMS). In Warframe, my friend and I tested out some weaponry to see if there was any use of the triggers and oh boy, there was. If you are using an assault rifle you can feel the trigger go down, but not all the way, then once you actually want to fire you finish the push down on the trigger. So you are pre pushing down the trigger in a sense. It feels a little more tactile and lets you be super ready to fire. The other thing we tested was a bow. Holy shit, this was awesome. When wielding a bow, the triggers simulate you drawing the bow back then releasing the arrow. It’s amazing. You can feel the tension in the trigger when you press it down. I could not believe it.
The last game I will reference is No Man’s Sky. My goodness, this game surprised me. So if you get into your ship and take off there is some sort of bounce the trigger does. I can’t really explain it but when you press/hold R2 to take off from the ground the trigger resists a little bit, but when you are off the ground kind of shoots back up. It is wild and something you have to experience for yourself. It also feels as though the game is trying to give you some sort of mechanical feel to lifting off. Also, in NMS when you want to go faster using the thrusters, pressing R2 will resist you when you are thrusting from a cold standstill (or hovering in this instance). But as you are flying and have momentum pressing R2 again is a bit easier and presents less resistance. It is unbelievable what the controller can do and how it really adds to the immersion of the game.
Playing games on the PS5 are going to get way more interesting the further we get into this new generation. This new tech could really shape how games are created and how stories are told. Imagine this: you are playing The Last of Us 6 and your best friend just slipped and fell off the cliff. But being the quick thinking protagonist that you are, jump and grab their hand just in time. Now all that is standing between your friend and certain death is your grip on their hand. Could be pretty intense huh? Now imagine this, instead of some quick time event to pull your friend up, the right trigger you are holding down to continually grasp your friend’s hand starts to push back up at you. You see your friend’s hand start to slip and now the controller is rumbling a little bit. All of this catches you off guard and you lighten your press on the right trigger which results in it pushing back even harder at you almost reaching the top. The controller rumbles even more, shaking your entire hand. Your friend just about slips out of your grasp on screen and falls. But you slam down the right trigger even harder pushing back the resistance to save your friends life. Sounds pretty interesting right? Something to think about.
I am absolutely excited to see how games take advantage of the DualSense controller going forward. One thing I am interested in is how easy it is for devs to implement these controller features into a game. Is it something that can be added in with little frustration or can it present more problems for devs and how much does it add to the development time overall? I would love to see some behind the scenes with how devs build it into their games. Either way the future is bright for gaming and the DualSense controller will be something that leads the way for the next generation.