For a couple weeks now, we’ve been hearing the hype from journalists and influencers about how amazing, groundbreaking, innovative — pick your superlative — the new PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller haptics (read: rumble features) are and…well, they were right.
What Came Before
We’ve heard about special triggers and rumble effects before. Mainly, with the Xbox Wireless Controller that was introduced with the launch of Xbox One. Those triggers were nice, but mostly were used in the occasional racing game to get a feel for a car’s performance, for example.
That may still be the case with the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller, but, even early on, the pre-installed Astro’s Playroom sure makes a strong first impression for the next-gen controller feels.
While the PlayStation 5 Boots Up…
Even before stepping foot into Astro’s Playroom to get a sense of the DualSense’s internals, you can tell it’s a much sturdier controller than the DualShock 4 — closer in line with the Xbox’s controller’s heft and feel. I’ve always preferred the DS4’s controller design, but have been been partial to the quality of the wireless controller introduced with the Xbox One.
Upon booting up Astro, you get the immediate sense that you’re not in Kansas anymore. The rumble is incredibly precise and distinctive as if it starts from the center of the DualSense controller and progressively works its way out to the edges of the controller.
Making a pleasant return is the mic and speaker features of the DS4. And maybe a little more clear, louder, crispy-er?
Astro Shows Off
Astro’s Playroom doesn’t waste any time presenting the DualSense’s features as right before you even start delving into any of its levels…it shows off what the controller can do in a quick overview.
There’s progressive rumble that starts at the handles of the controller and move up towards the center. Adaptive triggers give you the sense of something pulling back when pressing them, even having the ability to create a second “click.” Touchpad has rumble, as well, when you write/scribble on it. Motion rumble is in play too — and very reminiscent of the Switch’s “sand moving inside the controller” that was shown off with 1-2 Switch.
The magic is definitely in the nuance of the haptic feedback introduced with the DualSense and makes DualShock 4’s rumble features brutish in comparison.
Popping the Seal
And those are just my very initial impressions on just how good the haptics are with the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller. The hype? Justified…for now. As mentioned above, we’ve had Xbox and Switch controllers show off innovative rumble tech before only for developers to use the tech sporadically.
In the meantime, I’ll keep going in what promises to be a joyous introduction to the new DualSense controller with Astro’s Playroom. I just got to the hub that shows about 16 levels available with hub worlds GPU Jungle, SSD Speedway, and PlayStation Labo, as a few examples.