Whatever your controller preference may be, the design of the PlayStation’s DualShock controller is bordering an iconic at this stage.
While improvements have been made with new iterations, the same general design has prevailed throughout the years. That was until 2020, however, with Sony introducing an entirely new controller with the DualSense.
With the PlayStation 5 now officially landing in South Africa, many who have pre-ordered the console have been getting a feel of the DualSense controller and what it has to offer.
With that in mind, we’ve decided to see how it compares to the DualShock 4 controller, and more more importantly, the new gameplay experiences it is designed to enable.
Starting with design, as you can glean from the images on this page, both the DualShock 4 and DualSense have very similar form factors. Something wildly out of the box was not expected though, as it’s quite difficult to reinvent the wheel when it comes to game controllers, not to mention potentially alienating any players with a design that is too foreign.
That said, the PS5’s new controller is wholly different from its predecessor as far as design goes. In fact, the general shape of the controller can best be described as croissant or crescent moon-like in our opinion.
In hand, the parts of the DualSense that you actually hold on to are also a little bit thicker, with the core frame of the controller itself also being larger. It results in a slightly different handling position, which can feel a tad weird, especially if you’ve exclusively been playing console titles on a PlayStation system.
It also feels relatively lightweight, but still sturdy, which means it should be able to handle some abuse. Thankfully the red mist has not descended, so we’re not sure what the drop-proofness or shatter-resistance is like just yet.
All in all though, the DualSense’s design is relatively pleasing, and shouldn’t ruffle many feathers.
What we have noted in roughly one week of having the PS5 in for review, is that the white colour option on the DualSense will get dirty fairly quickly.
Added to this, the finish on the underside of the controller, which features a pattern of PS button symbols, might be good for grip, but will mean that dirt and dust will get stuck in the little nooks and crannies.
Either way you’ll likely be wiping down or cleaning the DualSense and PS5 console quite often, especially if you’re a fastidious type of person.
The other key aspect to note is the haptic feedback system that Sony has developed for this controller. We first got to experience it in action for Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and the varying degrees of controller rumble and vibration that are on offer.
In the game for example, while riding on the New York Subway, you fell the different types of vibration from the track as it passes over the track. The same goes for swinging between buildings, with each thwip of your web featuring a subtle rumble, as opposed to larger action sequences that feature more violent vibration.
It’s an aspect of the controller that Sony will be bringing more to the fold in future titles, as developers have more chances to make use of haptic feedback. The same goes for the adaptive triggers, which too can provide more pressure-sensitive controls.
With the lines quite fine right now between the Xbox Series X|S and the PS5 in terms of performance, especially as there aren’t a swathe of launch titles available currently, it looks like the DualSense controller may have given Sony the leg up in one department.
Either way, we’re excited to see how game developers make the most of the hardware to enhance next-gen gaming.