Going back decades, one of the common themes in the gaming industry was that game controllers had too many buttons. They confuse people who don’t play regularlyThinking goes. They scare away new players. Nintendo spent a generation testing the theory with the Wii. Apple built a phone based on similar logic.
With the new DualSense Edge controller, Sony doesn’t seem particularly concerned about any of that. Add things you can press, move, speak to, click, swipe, swipe, or switch out There are more than 30 ways to interact with the device. This does not include alternate states such as holding down buttons or extensive options that you can adjust in the PlayStation 5 menus.
Just like the Elite series of professional Xbox controllers, the Sony DualSense Edge was never meant to appeal to everyone. But after spending some time with it recently, it seems quite comprehensive and well-suited for those willing to shell out $199.99 to improve every aspect of their console.
The big upshot of the DualSense Edge is that it gives you a lot more control over different aspects than the standard DualSense. This includes physical changes and additions: The grips feel more rubbery and less likely to slip out of your hands; You can swap out the analog sticks to replace them; You can swap out the wand caps to choose your preferred length and style; You can switch between the lever or half-dome buttons on the back of the controller for additional button inputs; You can move a small switch to adjust the hardness of the actuators; You can press either of the two “Function” buttons to instantly change your controller’s settings; And you can lock a wired cord in place with the Connector Housing cover to prevent any chance of it being disconnected during a game.
It also includes extensive software menus in the PS5 interface that allow you to adjust things like analog stick sensitivity and dead zones, giving you control over different types of stick speeds to better suit different gaming styles. And these options are built on a custom profile system, so you can quickly move between different playstyles or across different games and keep your precise settings ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Everything works very well. It’s fun to play around with the different settings and set up the games however you like them, like making triggers stiff for fighting games or making your turn speed faster for shooters. It’s easy to change settings in the menus and, in some cases, during gameplay while you’re playing.
Sure enough, when I first started using the controller, I accidentally hit one of the function buttons too many times when I wasn’t paying attention, and while many of the buttons on the controller can be disabled, it can’t. Although after getting used to the console over the course of an hour or so, this seemed to be less of an issue.
Similar to the Xbox Elite, price will be an issue for many. The DualSense Edge costs $200, which isn’t far behind similar professional controllers, yet there’s still a lot to consider how similar the Edge looks compared to the standard DualSense on the surface. You could argue that it feels like you’re paying more for Sony’s R&D than the specific plastic and metal that come with the device, given that the DualSense Edge costs nearly three times as much as a regular DualSense does.
One question I’ve been pondering since playing with it is whether the DualSense Edge is a better controller for people who don’t want to customize every detail of their experience. Is it for PS5 owners who only play games to appreciate them, rather than to optimize their performance?
This isn’t a console for everyone, even if you have the money and feel like you want the “best” of everything. There are a few features that make the experience more enjoyable outside of competitive play, such as using back buttons to make racing games more realistic, and it’s convenient being able to easily switch between preset profiles for different games. There’s also the bonus that, in theory, Edge should allow you to reduce the analog stick drift issue, as you can expand the dead zone in the center of the sticks where drift occurs.
But for the most part, the DualSense Edge’s appeal isn’t that it’s a better controller—it’s that you can customize it. You can tweak it so much that, for some players, I imagine all the options will feel overwhelming. For those who compete at a high level, though — or those who like to think they do — it’s hard to imagine not liking the suite of tools Sony has put together.
Sony Interactive Entertainment will release the DualSense Edge on January 26, 2023. Pre-orders are available from the Sony PlayStation Direct website, with other major retailers selling the new console on February 23, 2023.
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