The R1 and L1 bumpers are wide and clicky, while the main R2 and L2 triggers have a substantial, smooth range of motion, and their tension can change on the fly, opening up an array of new gameplay possibilities. The gamepad has a microphone, a large touchpad and motion-sensing technology as well. Overall, the DualSense feels great both in the hand and in-game.
I played through the Cooling Springs level in Astro’s Playroom, a demo title showing off all the new tricks of the DualSense. As my little astronaut character wobbled around a busy beach, the controller barely stopped moving, vibrating and bouncing in response to most actions on the screen. There’s some serious haptic hardware in the DualSense, and if I listened closely, I could hear its gears churning over the cute sounds creeping out of the controller’s small speaker.
Hands-down, the adjustable trigger tension is the coolest aspect of the DualSense. By default, the R2 and L2 triggers are as easy to press as any other button, but developers can alter how much pressure it takes to pull each one down, increasing immersion and introducing new input methods to a gamepad staple.
In the Cooling Springs demo, my character jumped into a robot suit that moved by springing into the air in the direction of the controller’s tilt. During this section, the tension on the R2 and L2 triggers increased significantly, making me press extra hard to land the jumps. It was a pleasant, joyful surprise, and adjustable trigger tension remains one of my most-anticipated features of the PS5.
More to come
The PS5 looks like a collaboration between HR Giger and your local mom-and-pop bakery, with shiny black gills cocooned in supple-looking fins; hard and soft at the same time. After seeing it in my living room for the past few days, I’ve become more excited about the prospect of ordering custom, third-party faceplates to cover up its large white panels. All that white might look great in some entertainment centers, but it’s a bit much for mine.
Also, the PS5 is taller than my dog. I’m not sure what that says about the console — or my taste in dogs — but it seems worth a mention here, if only for an excuse to include photographic proof.
There’s plenty more to unpack when it comes to the PS5, and we’ll be testing this machine and sharing our impressions right up until launch day on November 12th. We’ll also have full reviews of the Xbox Series X and Series S near their release on November 10th, so stay tuned.