PlayStation jumps into the world of prosumer controllers with the DualSense Edge. I got a chance to check out the new gamepad, and it feels like a well-rounded hobbyist controller that’s easy to customize on the fly.
The DualSense Edge feels and looks nearly identical to the DualSense Controller. DualSense Edge Senior Product Manager Tomomasa Mizuno assured me that this was an intentional move so as not to alienate gamers who have already spent hundreds of hours with the standard DualSense. If you’ve ever held a PlayStation 5 controller, you know what the Edge will feel like in your hands. The biggest changes to ergonomics are the new rubbery grips on the back of the controller, two function buttons, trigger stops, and customizable paddle buttons on the back.
The customizable back buttons are what look most different on the new controller. I had to adjust my grip slightly to accommodate them. Unlike the Xbox Elite Series 2’s four controllers, there are only two buttons on the back of the controller. The paddles protrude slightly more than those on the Elite controller, which means a tap press rather than the squeezing motion I would normally do with an Elite controller. The package also comes with an alternate set of half-moon shaped back buttons. These felt more natural in my hands as they leaned against my middle finger. Of course, you can completely remove the back buttons if you wish.
There are limits to what you can and cannot customize when it comes to button configurations. You can’t program multiple inputs with a single button press, and there are some restrictions with the touchpad, although I didn’t get a good idea of them during my preview.
The most useful additions to the DualSense Edge are the two function buttons located just below the analog sticks. Holding down a brings up a menu that allows you to quickly switch controller profiles, adjust headphone volume, and access a menu to change your controller settings. The function buttons feel like a natural extension of the DualSense that makes it easy to access key features you’re likely to need during a gaming session. Their location makes them hard to misclick during hot moments, but they’re easy to click mid-game access.
Ease of access is potentially the most exciting thing about the DualSense Edge. While the Xbox Elite controller and DualSense Edge allow you to swap controller profiles effortlessly, the DualSense Edge – thanks to the function buttons – allows you to more easily access controller settings and adjust the sensitivity of the controllers. analog sticks, remap buttons and adjust vibration sensitivity. I was able to do this in the middle of a Modern Warfare 2. The biggest hurdle for me when it came to customizing the controller was always finding the time to really tweak it to suit my needs. The DualSense Edge makes it easy to find and test different controller settings.
The sleek new controller menu is also easy to navigate. Once you’ve created a profile, you can customize button assignments, stick and deadzone sensitivities, trigger deadzones, vibration intensity, and trigger effect intensity. If you enable trigger stops, it will automatically adjust the sensitivity of the trigger effect.
In the Stick Sensitivity/Deadzone menu you can choose from a handful of default sensitivity curves for the sticks or you can manually adjust the sensitivity and deadzone. There’s also a handy visualizer in this menu that shows you how much force you’re putting on the sticks with your preferred sensitivity settings.
In addition to replacing stick caps, the DualSense Edge also allows you to remove stick modules. You can remove the cover with a small tab on the back of the controller. From here you can unlock the modules and remove them. Historically, sticks on controllers are usually the first thing to go, so this addition is a welcome one. The mods are $20 on Sony’s official storefront, which is much more reasonable than buying a new controller. Removing the hood was a bit of a pain, but ideally you shouldn’t have to do it often.
Annoyingly, the hood itself is made of a shiny plastic that attracts smudges and thumbprints. In the few hours I had with the controller, I found it impossible to keep clean. It’s definitely not a dealbreaker, but it will surely be enough to bother some users. Hopefully, since the hood can be removed entirely, we’ll see aftermarket hoods with a matte finish.
While the DualSense Edge probably isn’t aimed at casual PlayStation 5 owners, it’s a great piece of kit for those who take their gaming seriously. During my time with the controller, I tested God Of War Ragnarok, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and Gran Turismo 7. Of the three, I found the DualSense Edge best suited to Modern Warfare’s jittery gameplay. Being able to map jumping and sliding to the back buttons meant that I didn’t have to take my thumb off the right analog stick while performing some of the trickiest maneuvers in the game.
Meanwhile, the controller didn’t feel as useful for Gran Turismo 7 and God of War Ragnarok. It’s nice to be able to map buttons to the back buttons, but the appeal of the DualSense Edge isn’t as strong for single-player games where there are fewer inputs and the demands on the player are far less than in an experience competitive multiplayer.
Like the Elite, the controller, along with the charging cable, interchangeable stick caps, rear buttons, and a cord lock all come packaged in a white hard carrying case with a hole in the back for easy charging . All in all, the DualSense Edge seems like a good option for PlayStation owners who might have eyed Xbox’s offerings with pro controller envy. For $200, you’ll get a controller that has a familiar form factor, improved ergonomics, new feature options, and a good level of customization.
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