Most games still aren’t doing the PS5 controller justice. As we continue to balance awkwardly between the old and new console generations, exciting technologies like the DualSense’ adaptive triggers and haptic feedback remain underloved or worse, ill applied.
But while the numbers are few, some studios – largely Sony partners – have grasped that shiny new controller firmly in their developmental palms. Following Deathloop's delicious triggers last year, here are the best games from 2022 that bothered to use the DualSense well. Fair warning, they’re a handful.
We’d argue that Stray makes purrfect use of the DualSense controller. No, wait – come back! We promise to put any further puns on paws. Picking the game up on PlayStation means Stray’s dedicated meow button delivers adorable feline chirrups and calls directly from the pad in your hands.
Yes, you can get the same sound effects on the DualShock, but the PS5 controller goes just that little bit further. Settle Stray’s pussycat down for a snooze and you’ll be treated to the gentle rumble of the haptics as purrs drawl soothingly from the controller. Ideal for a quiet moment of reflection.
Horizon: Forbidden West
Aloy spends an awful lot of time sneaking through long grass in Horizon Forbidden West, and the game really wants you to feel it. Slinking through the environment as you close in on your robotic prey tickles your fingers with foliage, while diving into water conveys the push and pull of Aloy’s underwater strokes. It sounds like a lot, but it’s actually a subtler approach than many games try, and all the better for it.
The triggers are put to good work too, with the tension of different bow and weapon types telling in the pressure of your trigger. Let loose with the meaty Sharpshot bow and you’ll feel a thrum of kickback from the strings as the arrow flies on. And if you’re not rocking a PS5-compatible gaming headset, you can stick your ear close to hear that bowstring tense and slacken through the built-in speakers.
The Last of Us Part 1
This year has shown that haptic feedback is an asset to accessibility as well as entertainment. In this year’s The Last of Us Part 1 remake, developer Naughty Dog included a new suite of accessibility features, including ingenious use of the DualSense controller.
Under the hearing accessibility settings was the option to transmit cutscene dialogue intensity through vibrations in the controller. This allows developers to convey the emphasis of the actor’s delivery more clearly than subtitles alone can manage. The system proved “really successful” in pre-launch playtesting, and we can’t wait to see more studios make use of the technology.
God of War Ragnarok
When you finally get to head back to mid-fimbulwinter Midgard in God of War Ragnarok (sorry for the spoiler, but…come on) the Lake of Nine is looking decidedly less lake-y than when last Kratos explored. With the endtime’s freezing temperatures comes ice and snow, rendering the humble boat of yesteryear useless in your quest to find every heirloom and trinket to duct tape to your armor. Thankfully the sled proves a much mightier upgrade in terms of both speed and adding adorable wolves to your proto-familial posse.
It also does a real neat thing with the DualSense, aside from the wolves barking out of the controller speaker whenever you mush them to run faster, which is sometimes frightening. When going over the lake’s ice, the motors of the controller engage in that finer, higher-frequency vibration to mimic the rails scraping across its glassy surface. Then, whenever one skid of the sled goes over a patch of snow, it rumbles and crunches with heavier motors. Just another of those very subtle touches that the DualSense uses to keep you in the world.
Gran Turismo 7
It should come as no surprise that the seventh mainline iteration of Sony’s flashy racer harnesses the PS5’s tech well. Gran Turismo has always been a motorsports simulationist’s wet dream, but GT7 uses the DualSense to push immersion even further. Every road surface and texture rumbles through your palms, giving each track and location a defining sense of place.
Engine vibrations and gear shifts are translated brilliantly into haptic vibrations, and there’s a deft touch of trigger resistance as you tease the brakes into each corner before accelerating out. Best of all, you can even adjust the trigger strength if it’s not to your liking. Other racers? Take note.
Those are our picks for the best use of the DualSense controller in 2022. Played any other DualSense delights this year? Share them down below! And if you're looking to experience more from 2022, check out these excllent games that you probably missed.