The Playstation 5 Dualsense controller is a pretty sweet piece of technology.
On a purely physical level, it feels great to hold. Not in the same way as holding the hand of the person that means the most to you, but purely in a gamer sense. It’s sleek, comfortable, secure, and I’ve yet to find my wrists (which I almost called ‘hankles’ because I forgot the word ‘wrists’) getting too sore from long ends of play.
But when you jump into a game that’s made with the Playstation 5 Dualsense controller in mind? wow. That’s something else.
The adaptive triggers, haptic, and controller speaker can create real magic in a game when used right. Sometimes there are cases of these features being used far too much to a point of annoyance, and usually games will give the option to turn these features off if so. However, there are a few games that David and I have played on the PlayStation 5 that we feel really use the Dualsense’s features in very neat ways, so we made a darn list.
In my eyes, this list can also double as a ‘where to start’ for the PlayStation 5 library, as while it is a huge library, sometimes it can be difficult to choose which titles will give you a glimpse of the full next-gen experience. So let’s freakin’ go!
I know, I know. I KNOW! I know what this game was made for. But I have to include it because I absolutely loved it and it proves the point of just what the Playstation 5 Dualsense controller controller is capable of.
Astro’s Playroom comes free with every PlayStation 5 and is basically a tech demo for the Playstation 5 Dualsense controller. However, it also includes great gameplay, awesome platforming, and a sweet little guy in Astro. I love these little robots so much that I would welcome a robo-takeover if it were led by them.
On the topic of the games use of the Dualsense controller though, wowee. This game takes into account every single tiny little thing that the controller can do and uses them in a way that doesn’t feel forced.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart
I felt like I was embarrassingly late to playing Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apartand then I realized that nothing matters and I can do what I want.
But boy oh boy, am I glad I finally decided to pick this up. I get it now. I understand why Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart was nominated for so many awards. Good lord, what an incredible experience. This is easily one of the clearest examples of how far we’ve come in terms of gaming, because everything in this game is just so right.
Looking specifically at the use of the Dualsense controller, the adaptive triggers are vital to this game. Depending on how far you press the triggers down, you activate different mechanisms of each weapon you use. For example, the Headhunter weapon seems like a somewhat basic sniper rifle when aiming by pulling the left trigger halfway down, but pulling it all the way down makes time slow down, allowing for better precision on moving enemies.
I had one eye on Ghostwire: Tokyo since it got announced, and one eye on the streets. People in public would see my eyes and fear me. Strangers would approach me and say, ‘Are you alright, ma’am?’ and I would tell them, ‘I am keeping an eye on Ghostwire: Tokyo.‘They would proceed to laugh uncomfortably and back away slowly. This is my design.
All that being said, I had a fantastic time with Ghostwire: Tokyo. Everything about it spoke to me, from creepy figures doing somewhat normal things in the distance, to being able to pat dogs and talk to cats. It rocked and ruled.
Looking at Dualsense use, you’ve got the adaptive triggers for the Ethereal Weaving and bow, but the haptic feedback also responds to the cleansing of Torii gates and grabbing of yokai cores in a way that makes it feel like a real task to do so . The distorted sounds from the controller’s speaker alert you to nearby yokai, and your soul buddy KK also talks to you through it which makes the world feel a little less lonely.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits
Sure, a lot of my time playing Kena: Bridge of Spirits was spent in the Photo Mode for personal, Rot-loving reasons. However, I did play the game through and I really liked it.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits was a first-time delve into game development for Ember Lab, and it doesn’t show. This game, to me, felt like such a solid idea with dedicated execution. I honestly can’t wait to see what Ember Lab does next, because I will be lining up to give it a red hot go.
The Dualsense features of the game, while not making it unplayable on other platforms such as PC, bring a different kind of essence to gameplay. An almost emotional one. There is the use of adaptive triggers for the bow (that honestly blew my little baby mind at first), but the haptic feedback is where it shines. As you explore the land, you must find the sweet little Rot to help you on your adventure. While you can use the Spirit Mask to find them, the controller will also respond when they’re nearby by imitating a heartbeat.
You can feel the heartbeats of the Rot the closer you get to them.
My heart? Can’t take this. I am a poor sensitive soul. The detail is so small but so sweet. I love this damn game. I’m crying in the club right now.
Gran Turismo 7
I didn’t play Gran Turismo 7 as I am generally not a car game guy, but I got it for my dad who IS a car game guy, and he was a big fan. In his simple yet inspiring words, he said, ‘It’s good! It looks real and the controller lets me use it like a steering wheel.’ Thank you, my dad.
Another set of wise words come from my editor David, who is also a car game guy. Here’s what he had to say on the usage of the Dualsense capabilities:
Gran Turismo 7 makes great, though subtle, use of the PS5’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. The game uses the controller to subtly relay useful information to the driver (the condition of the track surface, tire grip, brake stiffness) through the car. This kind of detail-rich force feedback is usually reserved for expensive steering wheels. I cannot wait to see how other racing games take advantage of the DualSense.
My take? Car go vroom!
Returnal is another game that I haven’t had the pleasure to try yet, but from all accounts, it’s incredible. Very hard, but very worth it. That will, of course, make this another David pick. David describes the use of the Dualsense controller below.
Returnal’s use of the DualSense’s haptic feedback is another example of communicating subtle cues to the player. Returnal’s uses haptic rumble to enhance the ambience of its alien world. Environmental effects, like rumbling terrain, rain, or thunderclaps, can be felt through Selene’s suit. When Selene interacts with objects in the world, her touch is communicated through the controller.
All this mixed in with Returnal‘s use of the adaptive triggers, which requires holding the triggers halfway to aim and all the way to fire, makes it a very detailed controller experience.