Hands-On with the DualSense Edge – A pricey slice of heaven?

Let’s cut straight to what you need to know about the Edge, sharpish. After going hands-on with it, I can say PlayStation’s first attempt at a premium controller is one helluva first attempt. It’s not perfect. But definitely the sort of peripheral to make a third-party controller maker (Dual)sense a downturn in profits.

For real. Some suit, somewhere, who bought a boat when the PS5 was announced is wringing their hands into mush right now. Because I really don’t know how this thing can be improved upon— extras-wise, at least.

It sure could be cheaper, though. Let’s be honest.

Dual Sense Edge

The DualSense Edge has quite the family tree. In five generations we’ve witnessed a steady evolution of rumble, sixth-sense motion control, mic additions and some sultry touch-padding here and there. Obviously, the standard PS5 controller is bristling with fandangled doodads by default – haptics and adaptive triggers, etc – but the Edge goes way beyond those things…

On the hardware/physical side of things, it just feels great in your hands. The smidge of extra weight it brings (+50 grams) is balanced well, and roughly in the analogue stick area. It’s quickly forgotten about after a few minutes of play, however. Thanks to a bunch of new buttons, slides, and a small toolbox worth of replacement parts, customising an Edge is like tinkering with your own personal cyborg. Its primary directive: serve the public trust (their own online arses), protect the objective, and uphold your K/D.

Or, in non-Robocop terms: kill your opponents that little bit quicker and/or outperform single-player AI in borderline unfair ways.

Your array of external accoutrements includes a lengthy USB braided cable and a rigid clamshell carrying case. The latter snuggly holds the following swappable components: 2 Standard caps, 2 High dome caps, 2 Low dome caps, 2 Half dome back buttons and 2 Lever back buttons. There’s also a slot to hold a spare analogue stick connector (because they can be switched out quicker than a blown Formula 1 tyre).

To do the above, you’ll need to prize up the new black plastic ‘lapel’ that skirts the sticks. (As you do it, be sure to have a weird flashback to the phat PS3 and the fingerprint issues it had with a similar material.) Then, somewhat miraculously, the lower half of the Edge opens up like the chest cavity of a T-800 Terminator. Releasing a small locking lever will now allow you to effectively unplug each individual thumbstick unit.

Flip the Edge over, and its keister is just as impressive. The back buttons can be quickly and easily attached. I prefer their half-dome design, compared to what I’ve experienced on SCUF controllers—fingertips latch under them better, for a surer press. Beyond that, the tactical benefits of being able to assign practically any button to these—which lets you keep your thumbs fixed on the sticks—is not to be underestimated.

The player who is completely unimpeded when crouch-sliding or double-jumping around you is …well, just going to track you better in terms of movement and aim.

Along a similar line of thought, the player who can squeeze off a shot quicker or enter aim/sniping mode milliseconds faster than you is going to install a blowhole in you. That can be achieved manually via the new slide locks resting next to the Edge’s L2/R2 triggers. The highest setting is the normal travel you’d expect from a trigger. Level 2 is 50% of that. Level 1 more or less turns them into face buttons. A simply ludicrous advantage in the hands of a seasoned FPS player.

The last physical button addition—the profile selecting ‘FN’ button that sits southeast of your left thumbstick—is best introduced in the software section below…As impressive as the physical upgrades are, they pale in comparison to the work that’s been put into the dedicated software driving the Edge. The word ‘comprehensive’ and the term ‘seamless integrated tweak-fest’ barely cover the reality here.

Thanks to a firmware update, Edge owners will gain access to an exclusive software suite that’s not unlike the car tuning screen of Gran Turismo. I’m talking graphs for the real-time simulations of recalibrated dead zones and stick shift changes. Four dedicated profile pages, each bristling with completely customised buttons and tooltip recommendations on which setting does what.

You could tinker in there for hours. Days, if you’re one of those sweaty MLG types. When this launches, it’ll be like Heisenberg’s ‘Blue Sky’ hitting the streets of Albuquerque—tweakers gonna go nuts. Frankly, the only minor downside I can see to this (almost overwhelming) degree of customisation is a slightly imperfect way to bring it all to bear. The FN button feels a mite flimsy to press. Holding it paints a toggle selection on the screen, at which point you slap a face button to profile shift. In my mind, it takes a second too long and eats up more real estate than my eyeballs require.

Also, why do I even need to have a menu painted? Any gamer worth their salt learns to blindly achieve what they want through pure feel/reflex/muscle memory. It might take us a few goes, initially, but there should be the option to turn off the visual notification down the track. A future firmware update, perhaps.

All that being said, that’s the only concern I have with a controller which is, for all other intents and purposes, a sizable step closer to perfection. The only other onion in the ointment; the cost of admission. Whether the Edge is for you largely depends on how competitive a player you are, plus your personal wealth versus how long you’re willing to wait for a sale. (TRUFAX: it only took a year and a half for the standard DualSense to drop to 69 clams).

Whether you scoop it up at launch or spawn camp on its Amazon listing for longer, the DualSense Edge still represents a fine piece of kit. The new surname it bears isn’t for show, either–this is cut-above-the-rest stuff that’s going to get a lot of you killed.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Adam Mathew
Adam Mathew
I grew up knowing and loving a ludicrous amount of games, from dedicated Pong console onwards. Nowadays you'll find me covering and playing the next big things. Often on Stupid-Hard difficulty. Because I'm an idiot.

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