1 year in, what are your favorite uses of the Dualsense? Do you think it has been a meaningful upgrade?

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bigsocrates

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#1 bigsocrates  Online

I was pretty excited about the Dualsense when it was announced, to the point that I was more excited about PS5 than Xbox Series X because of it. I thought it might be a whole new way to do force feedback in games and a meaningful change to the controller for the first time since the Wii.

1 year in it's been a pretty big disappointment for me. Astro's Playroom was fantastic and showed the potential of the controller. It's still one of my favorite PS5 games. After that...

Returnal had a neat idea with its use of the half pull vs full pull and the trigger lock, and it works fine but it's a small gimmick.

Miles Morales had some okay force feedback but nothing special.

Bugsnax tried to simulate the feeling of walking through the controller and that was just kind of distracting. I don't walk with my hands.

I don't even remember how Ratchet & Clank used it. I think something with half pulls vs whole pulls doing different firing modes? Whatever it was it didn't leave a big impression on me.

Meanwhile it's the least comfortable controller I've ever used and has actually been a reason for me not to play PS5 as opposed to a big plus.

What has your experience with the Dualsense been like? Do you think it's a good controller? A game changer? A gimmick that hasn't meant much?

What games do you think have done the best and most interesting things with it?

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Nodima

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Yea, Ratchet also did the half/full pulls for alt-fires, same as Returnal.

So far I've mostly been loving it as a subtler device. I can set the controller down during a minor cutscene and not have to worry about the rumblers suddenly going off like jackhammers the way the DS4 so often would. Between the softer casing and generally more subdued rumble designs overall it's never been an issue period and that alone is kinda huge.

Otherwise, yea, just little textural things. I really enjoy how you can feel where you are in the world of Ghost of Tsushima, from soft to hard ground, dirt to grass, wet to dry. Part of that is surely mental buy-in but then, hey, that's all entertainment, yeah? Likewise, I think the feeling of standing in a transporter in Returnal is a real chef's kiss.

Mileage has varied a lot on this, but the way the triggers work in NBA 2K really adds to a game that's struggled a lot in recent years to feel as much like a sim as it used to. Smaller players really struggle against bigger players, and when big men get tired it's a real effort to get that sprint button pressed all the way down. It can make extended play kind of a finger work out, but hey, that's immersion in its own way too, right?

I also really, really liked how Kena: Bridge of Spirits did its thing. They nailed just about all the typical stuff you've come to expect - texture variance on different surfaces, strain on the bow, distinct levels of damage from different enemies. In a game full of shockingly neat little touches, it was nice that they didn't skimp on the DualSense stuff either.

Lastly, I disagree that it's an uncomfortable controller as well! After so many podcasts I listen to changing their mind on Death Stranding this past month I decided to finally deliver my save file from my PS4 to my PS5 and while I still like the DS4, it feels a little small in my hands already. The rubber on my DSense analog sticks has also lasted over two months which is better than all 3 DS4 controllers I owned! I will say that generally speaking I feel like the face and shoulder buttons have a little less "give" than the DS4 did - in other words, when I try to parry in Ghost of Tsushima I feel like I'm having to put my "back" into it in a way I didn't my first time around - but I also like how soft they feel, so...it's a wash for now!

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reap3r160

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The dualsense in my mind is just the next evolution of what "rumble" has been previously. As dumb as it sounded, it quite literally is, as Nintendo put it, "HD Rumble". One could argue its "4K UHD Rumble"...hahaha.

But seriously, that's all it is and all its really intended to be. Just finer control over what force feedback feels like. The trigger stuff like ratched and returnal were a way to implement additional controls without making it convaluted. In the pad you probably would have needed to press two sets of buttons for things like firing modes, now it's all on the same trigger.

Whether or not that does anything for you, is subjective, in the same way vibration in general is. I find it cool, and a welcome next step in immersive controls.

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Efesell

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I’m pretty indifferent to the gimmicks. They’re a neat touch but will never be the bedrock of what I think about a game or it’s features.

However I seem to be something of an outlier because I just like the feel of the controller. It's comfortable to use and generally just feels like a solid step forward regardless of weird tricks.

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theonewhoplays

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I would trade any and all features for longer battery time and better buttons.

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Efesell

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@theonewhoplays: Yeah the battery has been troubling. I hadn’t realized how short it was until I was alternating to it from playing SMTV on my Switch pro controller.

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noboners

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I think Astro, Returnal and Ghost of Tsushima are the only games I played where the DualSense really adds to the gameplay. I've actually turned off the adaptive triggers for two games (Madden and Kena) because I've found that the extra pull either doesn't feel good or causes a sort of input lag. Or in the case of Kena, the noise they make with the trigger for pulling back the bow kinda annoyed me and didn't usually sync up with my actions on screen.

But I agree with @bigsocrates in that the controller is pretty uncomfortable. My partner had to stop playing Sackboy because her hands were cramping after an hour. For comparison, she can play with a switch pro controller for hours and never has an issue with a Xbox controller. I don't know if it's the size or the weight but it definitely hurts my wrists after a long day of gaming.

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FacelessVixen

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I did want to go to a store with the hopes of trying one out at a demo station before buying one, but then I remembered what decade it is.

Getting a sense of the ergonomics of a controller over the internet is a fool's errand.

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ajamafalous

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I don't play enough AAA games to talk about 'feature use,' and one year seems like entirely too short of a time to judge a console/controller, so I won't weigh in there.

I will say that I think the controller feels really good to hold; better than the Switch Pro/Dualshock 4/Xbox 360 to me. On the rare occasion that I've plugged a controller into my PC within the last year, it's been my PS5 controller.

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TheRealTurk

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I think it's been a big gimmick. I personally find the adaptive trigger stuff obnoxious and I usually turn it off if there's an option to do so. I haven't played a game where I thought it was well implemented. For example, in Ratchet and Clank, I found it way too hard to distinguish between a full trigger pull and the sort-of-but-not-quite trigger pull used for aiming, especially when shit was popping off. It was way better once I swapped back to a traditional LT/RT control scheme.

I think part of problem with it is that it's never used in a way that communicates anything meaningful to the player. Or if it is, it gets overwhelmed or confused with all the other stuff it's being used for. For example, in the Demon's Souls remake, the triggers rumble when you have a buff cast on yourself to let you know the spell is still active. The problem is, the triggers also rumble when you walk, when you hit an enemy, when an enemy hits you, when a dragon flies by, etc. It's used for so many things I'm never quite sure what it's rumbling for. Is my buff still active, or are things shaking because the big stompy boss is moving around?

Overall, I think the DualSense is just a bad controller, particularly given how much I loved the DualShock 4. The battery life is super-short (another reason I ditch the haptic stuff) and it's super uncomfortable to hold because of the bowed shape and the slickness of the material they made it out of. The instant my hands start to sweat, that's it, the whole thing is slipping around all over the place. I had to slather mine in stick tape to get enough grip on it. That bodge worked pretty well, but it never should have come to that to begin with.

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glots

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I think it's a great controller, but outside of playing Astro for the first time, the haptic feedback hasn't yet elevated any game to a whole new level. It's only been neat at best with games like Returnal.

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Shindig

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Racing games that really play to it (like RIMS) work out well. The rumble and speakers give me the right feedback for that and it's nice to know when your tyres are on the limit.

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sweep

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#13 sweep  Moderator

I've found it pretty great in Dirt V, you get some nice feedback/rumble when driving over different terrains and you get a real sense of having to push against the pedal when accelerating. It seems like a natural/easy fit for driving games.

I really like the controller overall, it looks/feels great to hold. I wish the mic was off by default and didn't need to light up the orange button in the middle when disabled, but otherwise I'm pretty happy with it.

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noboners

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@sweep: about the mute button: I really wish it was reversed and the light would come on when the mic is active and not the other way around.

As another note: I have the like official ps5 headphones (forget what they call them) and it bums me out that I can't use the controller mute button to mute myself (or know if I'm muted). It's a small thing, but just kind of annoying.

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Nodima

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@shindig: I haven't purchased a Gran Turismo since A-Spec and I'm pretty damn sure I'll be getting 7 just to feel what Polyphony get up to with this thing.