I was supposed to make some first impressions of one of the levels that includes Astro’s Playroom for PS5, but actually what I get now is to talk about the DualSense. Those who have tried it before were not lying: the new PlayStation controller is amazing.
I’ve been trying it out for at least a couple of hours straight thanks to the PS5 that Sony sent us, so this is a very first impression, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to comment on it in the heat of the moment. There will be time to go deeper into the analysis of the console.
The first thing that draws attention to the DualSense is its comfort. It’s slightly larger and heavier than the DualShock 4, just enough to give the feeling of new control without leaving out the familiarity. It’s simply an evolution of an already good and comfortable controller.
The back is slightly rough and, with a good magnifying glass, or with the help of a camera, we will see that this roughness is formed by tiny triangles, squares, circles and x’s. It is a detail that goes completely unnoticed by the naked eye and is also present on the inside of the housing of the console itself. In the unboxing of PS5 made yesterday by the great Marques Brownlee we can see it, specifically in the minutes 3:25 (casing) and 7:35 (controller).
Otherwise, both the crosshead and the buttons, sticks and triggers offer a good feeling to the touch and are comfortable. As I said before, I’m not going to go too deep into every detail for now, but I want to talk about what happens with the controller when you’re playing.
Adaptive triggers, the new feeling
The only thing I can talk about is one of the levels of Astro’s Playroom, the game that comes pre-installed on all PS5s and that serves precisely to publicize the benefits of DualSense. And it sure does.
It is a platform of those of jumping a lot and collecting coins where we control the already known Astro robot. At this particular level, which I can comment on, we will basically learn that it is very cool to do double jumps, that we can wear a suit whose zipper we will close using the touch panel and above all, that the new adaptive triggers of the DualSense are amazing.
The suit I’m talking about serves as a dock. Once it’s on, you can forget about the sticks to move and the buttons to jump or attack: you just play with the movement sensors to tilt the control and choose where you want to jump and the triggers to execute those jumps. And that’s where the magic happens.
The sum of the resistance offered by the triggers (totally absent when we go with the normal robot), the sounds of spring that come out of the speaker of the control and the own animations of the character will make us believe that we are really controlling a spring.
The feeling has been similar to the one I got from the HD vibration of the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con when I first felt it. It took me by surprise, actually. I expected some kind of novel response when using the DualSense, but not that the triggers could deliver the sensation they do.
Obviously, it’s all up to the developers. When the PS4 came out we thought that the DualShock 4 touch panel would bring us new ways of interacting with the controller that would end up resulting in new and curious game mechanics. In the long run, we have found that practically no PS4 game has taken advantage of it beyond being used as just another button to press.
It is up to the developers, he said, to integrate into their games options that take advantage of the new features of DualSense or not. Without having given it too much thought, I believe that in a genre such as shooters, both in third and, above all, in first person, the technology offered by the triggers can make each weapon feel different physically and not only visually and soundly. Also in driving games can be used to give different sensations.
Just for now, I’m going to keep playing to see what else the controller and the console hide (if you’re thinking of booking a PS5 go here). For now, the DualSense is proving to be a pleasant surprise and I hope that during the next five or six years we can see many more games taking advantage of these options.