Introduced alongside the PlayStation 5, the DualSense looks familiar at first glance but has an intriguing idea behind it. It uses haptic feedback and adaptive triggers to improve the gaming experience.
Some games are better than others at utilizing these features. Astro's Playroom is a great example. Its adaptive triggers and haptic feedback simulate walking on a sandy beach.
Adaptive triggers are a unique new feature that can make a difference in some games. It adds a resistance layer to the standard triggers, making it feel like a real gun's trigger. It means that when you pull the trigger, it will push back in a different way and with varying levels of force.
It is all controlled by the software and can be adjusted to suit your preferences. You can set the trigger effect intensity to high, medium, or low. Alternatively, you can turn off the effect entirely. It is useful if you want to save battery life, as the feature can use up a lot of power.
It's important to note that the adaptive triggers are separate from the built-in haptic feedback vibration, so you will still experience that when you play. The haptic feedback is a nice addition, but it's something that only some gamers will be particularly drawn to or need regularly.
As a result, the best PS5 games to show off the adaptive triggers and haptic feedback are designed specifically for the console.
RGB Light Bar
The PS5 dualsense controller features powerful haptic feedback and rear trigger buttons that let you change the tension to simulate moving on sand or drawing a bow and arrow. Other console gamepads don't have that, yet it can greatly enhance your experience.
Adding to the immersive factor is an RGB light bar around the touchpad that displays your player color scheme when connected to a PS5. It's not only visually striking, but it can also be helpful in competitive games. The glowing bar can indicate your player number or if you use the controller in wireless mode.
Unfortunately, you'll have to tweak the settings to use DualSense with PC and Steam (the most popular gaming platform on Windows). It is possible to change the color of the LED on a DualSense controller when connected to a computer running Steam, but you'll have to do it through a separate software tool.
The first time you connect your DualSense to a PC, it will start pulsing in blue light to signify that the device has entered pairing mode. After it successfully connects, the light will remain blue regardless of whether or not you're playing a game. When connected to a Mac or iPad, the pulsing orange light on your DualSense is another normal behavior.
Removable Analog Sticks
The DualSense controller with the PS5 has been impressive since its debut in 2020. Still, it falls short of rivaling the Xbox Elite controller for the customization hardcore gamers crave. To address this, Sony released the DualSense Edge. This premium pad takes the core of the standard controller and builds upon it with swappable components and unique control scheme profiles.
The new controller looks largely identical to the DualSense, with an updated color scheme and slightly angled back paddles that feature two function buttons that can be used to change button assignments on the fly. However, the real changes are under the hood, where the Edge boasts upgraded analog stick modules that can be removed and replaced without needing an entirely new controller.
These new sticks use Hall effect sensors to detect the pressure applied to them, allowing players to adjust the stick sensitivity and dead zones for their preferences. While this may not eliminate the problem of analog stick drift, it helps. Additionally, the new modules have trigger stops that reduce the force needed to activate them.
Unfortunately, the $20 price tag on these replacement sticks will put them out of the range for many consumers. However, you won't have to send a $200 controller back to Sony every time your sticks stop working is a major plus.
In addition to the 3D audio capabilities, you can use the controller with headphones and a microphone to communicate via voice chat. It makes the DualSense more versatile than its predecessor. While I'm still determining how well this feature works in practice, it should be a good way to converse with other players when you're away from home.
The DualSense's main draw is its haptic feedback and rear trigger buttons with adjustable tension. It adds a new dimension to games like Astro's Playroom, Horizon Forbidden West, and Stray, which you can't get from a regular PS4 controller. It's not something every game will be built around, but it makes playing these titles more immersive and real.
Another useful feature is game hints. Pressing the PS button brings up a list of tips from the developers to help you beat difficult games. It is a handy tool when you're stuck at the end of a tough level and need help getting over the finish line. You can also configure the controller through Steam, the popular PC gaming platform, to take advantage of its extra features. You can even change the colors of the light bar and rumble settings from the console-specific options. Just make sure to update your PS5 system software and wireless controller device software to the latest version.