We don’t just play games, we feel them. While what’s inside a console is obviously important, on a moment-to-moment basis the controller can make an even bigger difference. For those of us who spend hours gaming, what’s in our hands while we do it can be a defining aspect of the hobby. PlayStation 5’s controller, the DualSense, has been designed with this in mind to bring ‘a new feeling of immersion to players’, taking the lessons learned from the DualShock 4 to a new level. Just as PS5’s 3D Tempest audio is innovating with sound, the DualSense is pushing the boundaries of how touch can be used in games.
The DualSense’s shape is similar to the DualShock 4’s, with all the buttons and sticks in the same locations, but a little bit chunkier. But don’t let that extra width fool you. Thanks to the hardware engineers and designers changing some of the exterior lines and tweaking the grip it feels smaller than it looks, and fits snugly in a man-sized hand – players with smaller mitts will be fine. The triggers might look like you’d expect, but they’ve been angled slightly to further enhance the way it sits. There’s plenty of new tech inside the controller too, but care has been taken to balance additions with heft, meaning the DualSense weighs much less than you might think. And, if you’re regularly annoyed by your DualShock 4 running out of charge, the battery life has also been improved, so it holds a charge for longer (and now uses a faster USB-C connection to charge, saving time).
It’s not just the improved shape and weight that ensure things feel different when you play. The new adaptive triggers give a real feeling of resistance and tension to certain actions when you’re playing. For instance: when drawing a bow to shoot an arrow you’ll be able to feel the tautness of the string the further you pull; if you’re shooting firearms there’ll be a tangible difference between the ways various types of guns handle; and as you push down on the throttle in a racing game, you’ll feel the thrum of the vehicle’s engine.
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