Road to NextGen 2020

The DualSense controller? Yeah, it’s actually next-gen.

First impressions of its use with Astro’s Playroom on the PS5 are way, way better than expected

Kostas Farkonas
Nov 3, 2020 · 6 min read
Astro made a splash in PS VR a while back and is now back to teach gamers how the PS5 controller’s new features work (Image credit: Sony)

First, some background

The Japanese company started highlighting the PS5’s controller capabilities early on but, admittedly, with no points of reference to what they might mean in real games it all sounded more like a marketing talking point than an actual competitive advantage for the system. More details were given in April, along with some examples of how the new mechanisms inside the DualSense could be utilized in games, but it was not until Sony’s official controller showcase in August that the possibilities these mechanisms open were understood.

Sony took its sweet time explaining what the new features of the DualSense actually do in games but the inclusion of Astro’s Playroom with every PS5 makes up for it (Image credit: Sony)

Haptic fantastic

The haptic feedback is without a doubt the most impressive of all three. There is a simple way and a complicated way to describe it, but an accurate one is this: it’s like having a touchscreen vibrate under one’s fingers while typing, but… holding it with both hands. Yes, the feedback is that precise: it’s felt through a great number of different points underneath the surface of the DualSense, so close to each other as the letters on a virtual keyboard are. Where current controllers vibrate in just one way and the rumbling is felt through their body as a whole, the PS5’s controller “directs” the vibration in specific points, even distinctly “moving” the vibration from point to point.

Yes, we kid you not: you’ll be able to feel the difference between walking on wood, on the sand, on ice, or on metal. DualSense’s haptic feedback is just that good. (Image credit: Road to NextGen 2020)

Resisting the trigger finger

The adaptive trigger feature of the DualSense is nowhere near as impressive as haptic feedback: it’s evolutionary rather than revolutionary in comparison. While the “trigger” buttons on current controllers behave like regular buttons, on the DualSense there are different levels of pressure — a lot of levels actually — recognized in one motion.

Voice comms always available and… the elephant in the room

The microphone hidden in the DualSense controller does, of course, exactly what one would suppose it does. Its sensitivity is satisfactory, meaning that gamers won’t have to scream over the controller in order for the PS5 to pick up speech clearly or fellow players understanding what’s being said. In Astro’s Playroom it is the least imaginatively used feature but, then again, there’s only so much that can be done with sounds people can make without them being words (speech recognition is another matter entirely). The microphone will probably be used more for voice communication at a pinch than as an input method tied to gameplay — but one never knows what PS5 developers will come up with in the next couple of years.

The real question regarding the DualSense is not whether it manages to offer truly new features — it’s whether enough game developers and publishers will make use of them. (Image credit: Sony)

Road to NextGen Gaming

Paved with good intentions, the road to better entertainment is

Kostas Farkonas

Written by

Veteran journalist, project kickstarter, tech nut, cynical gamer, music addict, movie maniac // Medium top writer in Television, Movies, Gaming // farkonas.com

Road to NextGen Gaming

Analysis and commentary on what’s next in video games

Kostas Farkonas

Written by

Veteran journalist, project kickstarter, tech nut, cynical gamer, music addict, movie maniac // Medium top writer in Television, Movies, Gaming // farkonas.com

Road to NextGen Gaming

Analysis and commentary on what’s next in video games

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