Games Inbox: Is the PS5 DualSense the best controller ever?

The Friday Inbox wonders exactly how successful Demon’s Souls on PS5 will prove to be, as one reader recommends more Switch co-op games.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

PlayStation down under
As a Brit living in Australia I don’t want to show off too much but I have a PlayStation 5 now and I’ve got to say I’m really impressed. I picked up Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Demon’s Souls and so far I see no reason to dispute what GC has said about them. New York looks fantastic in Spider-Man and Demon’s Souls’ graphics are just amazing, so detailed and atmospheric.

I’ve had less than an hour with both right now though, so I can’t really go into any more detail, but what has also really impressed me is the DualSense. There’s a little demo that plays before you start-up Astro’s Playroom and it’s kind of mind-blowing when you realise what the adaptive triggers do. I can see some people passing them off as a gimmick but to me they seem like a great idea and I’m willing to bet Microsoft ends up copying them as soon as it gets a chance.

The design of the controller is good too, nice positioning with the grips and while the sticks seem like they should be offset I have to say the controller is also probably the best looking gamepad I’ve ever seen too. I’m not sold on the design of the console but the DualSense is a beaut. We’ll all need more time to decide but I think it could end up being the best controller ever.

The thought that counts
Clearly the Xbox Series S and X have become self-aware and now realise that its new owner is trying to insert a copy of Crackdown 3.

Rumours are that the PlayStation 5 does the same if it detects Knack has been inserted.

On a more serious note, my manager surprised me with a gift voucher today. Since the lockdown, my company has stopped bonuses. In lieu of that I’ve been given a voucher for a local tech store with enough to buy the PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series X with change leftover for a game.

I’m in Canada (the PlayStation 5 released today), unfortunately finding either console is impossible. Doesn’t help that my area is under lockdown as one of the hardest hit in the country from COVID.
Commodore Fan
PS: Stay safe GC and everyone else, we are (hopefully) almost at the finish line where COVID-19 will in the near future, be a distant memory.

Mainstream difficulty
I mentioned in the Underbox yesterday I had gaming guilt that Demon’s Souls never clicked with me, though I tried a number of times. My question in terms of sales is it a best seller or a niche title? As everyone I know has played it. It will be interesting to see how it sells as a launch title for the PlayStation 5.

GC: Demon’s Souls was never a big seller and almost didn’t get released in the West at all. Dark Souls though has been very successful, selling over 27 million copies across all the sequels and different versions. So clearly there is an appetite for the formula if it’s well marketed.

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Hidden gems
To Dan who was looking for Switch co-op suggestions, I can recommend the following: Trine 1 to 4 (fantasy world puzzle platformers), ibb & obb (charming and addictive gravity platformer), The Takeover (once you’ve finished Streets Of Rage 4), and Conduct Together (fun and challenging train puzzler).

All of these are often on sale, so don’t pay full whack. I’ve also heard Knights And Bikes is good but I haven’t picked that up yet. Super Mario Maker 2 has full co-op, as does New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, and Super Mario 3D World (released in February). Enjoy!
Tim F

GC: Those are some interesting picks, we’ve never heard of ibb & obb or Conduct Together. We can confirm Knights And Bikes is very good though.

Trigger issues
My Xbox Series X has arrived (a day late – another disgruntled Amazon customer here who was told on the Monday it would be with me Tuesday… until it wasn’t) and it certainly does feel like the strangest launch ever. The fact that even the user interface is the same made it feel akin to getting a new mobile phone and thus only noticing the incremental upgrades. It could just as easily have been the Xbox One X2, as irve77 said yesterday.

Of course, what’s under the bonnet is a different story. Quick resume is an incredible feature, as are the much-reduced loading times. Being a husband and father, the quality of life upgrades was one of the things I was looking forward to and enjoying, now this generation is here. Well, that and having Game Pass until September 2023, after the EA Play conversion.

One issue I have had so far on day one was the right trigger already getting stuck for half a second when fully pressed down. Has GC or anyone else had this issue? I might have been trying to accelerate too quickly on Rocket League.

I’m looking forwards to getting a PlayStation 5 down the line. The launch games and launch window line-up are both fantastic and I look forwards to hearing all about them on these pages!

GC: That’s the first time we’ve heard of the problem.

Next gen mash-up
It’s looking to be an exciting time right now to be a gaming aficionado, with the rollout of the new generation. Not only a step up in graphical and processing power but in the delivery of information through both the impressive SSDs and the nascent Xbox subscription service. These things can all be transformative.

For both hardware formats I’m especially looking forward to developers getting to grips with the turbo pump that is the SSD and it leads me to think how this can expand games programming. I understand that things like textures and 3D modelling can be can be spewed forth at will but can a game transfer its whole style of gaming in the blink of an eye?

For instance, a GTA game that can segue from driving on the streets to a full and in-depth garage sim where you have incredible control over tuning a car (and I don’t just mean a few menu choices, a complete sub-game) or Skyrim that switches from swinging an axe to crafting in a forge that does require some skill, or a crazy sports game wrapped into a Final Fantasy epic?

If you can load 5GB in a second… how many truly astonishing Nintendo games have come in under that?
Money, I realise, is the key but with big budget games being truly bloated for cash is it a possibility, or do the way the machines run mean they can’t flip like that?

I’d love to see it.
Shambling Reg

GC: None of those examples require fast loading, you’re just describing two disparate sets of gameplay mechanics in the same game. Final Fantasy 7 had a crazy sports game interlude 23 years ago.

Synaesthesia connected
I decided to give Tetris Effect: Connected a try because it’s been added to Xbox Game Pass.

I’d read all the rave reviews for the VR version (which I would love to try now) last year but foolishly just brushed it off, thinking that ‘it’s just Tetris’.

I played it with the lights turned off and headphones on, and I can honestly say that the experience gave me goosebumps (the good kind!).

The music and visuals are immersive as it is, but when the rumble feedback on the controller started pulsing in time to the music it brought the biggest smile to my face. The whole experience felt revelatory and so completely unique to gaming.

How even more incredible would this game be if it fully utilised the PlayStation 5 DualSense controller’s haptic feedback!? I hope the developer makes this happen when they launch the Connected update on Sony’s console.

Last gen loading
Some advice please GC or readers, as I’m confused.

Set up my Xbox Series X on my OLED TV and plugged in my external hard drive I used to use on my Xbox One X. Clicked on Red Dead Redemption 2 thinking that I was about to be advised I would need to transfer. But no. The game started straight away, went online, no real improvement on load times but the game was a marked improvement from what I had before. Graphics were crisper, colour a lot deeper and the game ran as smooth as I’ve ever seen.

Then I updated Call Of Duty: Warzone. 23GB Xbox Series X enhancement. Same thing on the external.

Game looked and played fantastic.

So, what am I getting here if I play my Xbox One games straight off the external?

4K 60fps?

I understand the main selling points for next gen was getting rid of long load times and being able to switch quickly between games but if that’s not really an issue to the gamer, am I getting the best resolution and frame rate from playing backwards compatibility games this way, given the current price of the SSD expansion cards?

I realise that this will only be at the beginning, as I found out with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla that eventually all new games will run off the internal.

GC: We’re not entirely sure we understand the question. It’s the SSD which enables the fast loading, so if that’s not where the game is stored then it’s not going to load any faster than normal, even though it can still take advantage of other Xbox Series X enhancements.

Next gen wrasslin’
I just wanted to share some info about a game I haven’t seen GC write about. It’s still in early development and it’s for AEW – All Elite Wrestling. ‘Twas announced on their YouTube channel.

It’s being developed by Yuke’s and has the same director as No Mercy on the N64 – Hideyuki Iwashita, aka Geta. So obviously there is talent to make a corker of a wrestling game. Hopefully not riddled with microtransactions.

If you’ve never heard of AEW then it’s probably because it began in 2019. I’d say it’s worth watching if you ain’t seen wrestling for a while.
Handsome Dan Wolfshead

GC: It’s not exactly our area of speciality but we’ll find someone that knows more about that sort of thing.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Back from the Dead
Left 4 Dead 2 will officially hit 11 years old five days from now and given that we have not seen any confirmation of a third Left 4 Dead game it does make people wonder if Valve could go an alternate route and port it to Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X, as well as PC, and add more new campaigns and allow you to play campaigns from Left 4 Dead 1 from the Left 4 Dead 2 characters’ perspective or vice versa.

They could add a team of eight people in co-op mode for the first time, instead of the usual four people, increasing the number of infected and special infected in campaign modes, such as fighting two tanks instead of one or more than four special infected at once to make the game more challenging.

Given Left 4 Dead 2 is still doing well it would be worth it for Valve to make a next gen console version of this game with the upgrades as well as PC and it would be a good way for Valve to keep Left 4 Dead 2 fresh and save them having to develop a third game for a while. Left 4 Dead 2 might be 11 years old soon but that doesn’t mean it can’t be upgraded or remastered for Xbox Series consoles.

I’m sure PC owners wouldn’t mind new campaigns and these upgrades either. Since it looks like Left 4 Dead 3 might never come, surely this would be a better, more suitable option for fans instead of waiting forever for a new game in the series.
gaz be rotten (gamertag)

GC: Why would Valve make it only for Xbox? Anyway, Back 4 Blood from original creators Turtle Rock Studios should be just as good as an official sequel.

Inbox also-rans
I’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on my Xbox Series X, and it looks amazing. Some scenes are jaw-droppingly good. From what you have seen, are there any other games that are more impressive graphically that you have seen on Xbox? (if they are on GamePass even better).

GC: It’s probably the best looking new game, yes. Although we assume Devil May Cry 5 looks as good as the PlayStation 5 version and we haven’t seen the update version of Watch Dogs: Legion yet. There are a lot of Xbox One games that have scrubbed up very nicely on Game Pass though, such as Forza Horizon 4, Ori And The Will Of The Wisps, and Gears 5.

Eeeeep! My DualSense controller and copies of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Sackboy: A Big Adventure for PlayStation 5 arrived early this morning. I am so excited for the console delivery next week. As a 39-year-old is it OK that this all feels like Christmas and I spent about three minutes bouncing round my house when the parcel came today?!
Tincanmemory (PSN ID)

GC: We’d think less of you if you didn’t.

Well GC, I’ve got my DualSense controller which, may I say, feels fantastic in the hands; my Pulse 3D headset, which looks amazing; and Planet Coaster and Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition. Was just wondering if anyone can lend me a PlayStation 5 to play them? Just a week, it’s only seven days. Thanks Sony, you have made me beg.

Loved how enthusiastic your review of Demon’s Souls was – yet another high-class remake by the sound of it. But since you don’t count remakes in your yearly top 20 are you going to bend the rules for it his year?

GC: We’ve been debating this ourselves, not because of Demon’s Souls but Final Fantasy 7 Remake. It’s fundamentally a different game than the original but we’re not sure whether to keep to our strict rule of no remakes, to make an exception just for it, or to scrap the restriction completely. We’re tending towards just making an exception, but we welcome everyone’s thoughts.

This week’s Hot Topic
With the Xbox Series X and S releasing this week the weekend Inbox asks the simple question: are you getting one and if not why not?

If you’ve already got one then what are you initial impressions and are you satisfied it’s lived up to your expectations? Are you also getting a PlayStation 5 and if not why did you pick one over the other?

What do you feel are the most important features of the new console and what games have you, or do you want to, play on it? Please make sure to mark your emails for the Hot Topic and not the normal weekday Inbox.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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