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a product image of the PlayStation 5 DualSense Edge controller standing up Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment

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5 games that are better with PlayStation’s DualSense Edge controller

Sony’s “elite” controller makes some of my favorite games even more fluid

Mike Mahardy leads game criticism and curation at Polygon as senior editor, reviews. He has been covering entertainment professionally for more than 10 years.

Sony’s DualSense Edge, a PlayStation 5 controller in the vein of Microsoft’s Xbox Elite Series 2, will be released on Jan. 26, marking the company’s first foray into the realm of professional-grade controller variants. In our review, we praise the Edge’s customizability, from its swappable analog sticks, to its trigger stops, to its custom button-mapping profiles — even if its $200 price tag is a little steep for anyone outside of the tournament space.

Still, if you’re like me, you spend a good deal of time with your PlayStation 5. I’ve been doing just that over the past four days, trying a variety of games (both new and old) to see whether the DualSense Edge’s features make for an elevated experience. And while I definitely don’t think the new variant is essential for fun sessions in the Wild West, the Lands Between, or the Old World, I have found that the Edge makes some of my favorite PlayStation games feel much more fluid.

Below, I’ve gathered the five games I’ve played with the Edge to demonstrate how the controller’s features remove minor obstacles, solve input problems, and make for a cleaner overall experience.

Elden Ring

The protagonist character swings a massive cleaver in the middle of a group of undead enemies in Elden Ring Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

As my late grandma, a talented seamstress and frequent fixer of busted shirts and jackets, often said: You can never have too many buttons. She wasn’t talking about Elden Ring, but she also wasn’t not talking about Elden Ring.

The Edge’s two additional back buttons may seem tailor made for first-person shooters, in which removing either thumb from its analog stick can spell certain doom (more on that below), but they’re also a godsend in the best game of 2022. By moving the D-Pad Left and D-Pad Right inputs to the corresponding back buttons, I can swap between items, spells, and incantations without halting my character for a crucial split-second during heated boss fights. (This game, if you were unaware, has a couple of them.) You can also move the sprint/dodge function from the circle button to one of the back buttons for the same reason.

Of the two interchangeable back-button options, I’ve stuck with the clicky half-dome variants. The paddle versions, while still helpful, are easier to press by accident, and nowhere near as satisfying under my middle fingers. Speaking of middle fingers: Fuck you, Malenia.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 - Arthur Morgan firing two revolvers Image: Rockstar Studios/Rockstar Games

It’s the classic tale. A veritable American myth. Arthur Morgan — gangster, thief, gentleman, and raconteur — ambles into the muddy thoroughfare of Valentine. The evening air is thick with the smell of alcohol. “Hey! Arthur Morgan,” the soon-to-be inhabitant of a pine coffin calls out. “People tell me you’re pretty quick with a pistol.” He draws his own trusty smoke wagon.

“That’s right,” Arthur grumbles back, before squaring his shoulders to his bothersome foe. “Even quicker, now that I can fine-tune my DualSense Edge’s analog sensitivity.” A shot rings out and a man greets the mud. The other man — Arthur Morgan, if that wasn’t clear — strolls into the sunset.

I’m a big fan of Red Dead Redemption 2, but I can also admit that, on a purely mechanical level, it’s not great. Whether intentionally or not, it always feels like I’m directing Arthur’s movements, rather than actually controlling them, on horseback or in the close-quartered heat of a bank robbery. The Edge’s adjustable stick sensitivity alleviates those frustrations quite a bit — by swapping from the “Default” sensitivity to the “Precise” setting (there are six total options), Arthur’s floaty aiming now flits from enemy to enemy, without having to rely on the auto-aim function, which can make for boring gunfights.

(The back buttons are also extremely helpful in Red Dead 2 for the same reason as in Elden Ring — the less time I have to spend cycling through items with the D-Pad, the better.)

Horizon Forbidden West

Aloy aims her bow and arrow at a massive enemy after draining a large dome area in Horizon Forbidden West Image: Guerilla Games via Polygon

As in Red Dead 2, Horizon Forbidden West benefits greatly from the Edge’s adjustable stick sensitivity. In this case, however, I found the “Steady” option, which prioritizes smooth and stable movement and aiming over twitchy flicks, to be the most useful. It lets me fine-tune my aim when sniping a specific machine part from a distance, but also allows for controlled hip-firing when that same enemy closes the distance.

Lastly, the back buttons are lifesavers here, too. (Seeing a pattern yet?) I get that protagonist Aloy has a lot of tools and weapons at her disposal, and that the designers at Guerilla Games did the best they could to fit them all onto a normal controller, but moving my thumb to the D-Pad for a health item or explosive trap during an intense monster hunt has always been less than ideal. The back buttons solve that issue entirely.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

The player defense a control point in Ground War in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer Image: Infinity Ward/Activision via Polygon

Here’s where the Edge really starts to excel. The aforementioned back buttons and adjustable sensitivity options are all well and good, but the ability to swap between pre-set profiles on the fly is super useful.

The Xbox Elite Series 2 also has this ability, but the PlayStation 5’s pop-up menu makes the process a breeze. When holding down either of the “Function” buttons, (those paddles beneath each analog) I can then press a face button and switch to the corresponding profile. Using the profile titled “Forbidden West” will switch the analog sensitivity to “Steady” again, along with the fine-tuned dead zones and back-button inputs. Using the profile labelled “Red Dead” will swap back to the settings I deemed best for Arthur.

You can get even more specific with this function: In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, I changed all four preset profiles depending on the loadout I was using in multiplayer. This lets me swap between ideal settings for a Sniper, Machine Gunner, Close-Quarters Assailant, and so on, just as quickly as Modern Warfare 2 allows me to switch classes.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2

Playing as Marcus Kruber’s Huntsman career, the player aims a knocked arrow at a Skaven enemy in Warhammer: Vermintide 2 Fatshark via Polygon

It’s an almost five-year-old game that highlighted the DualSense Edge’s strengths the most vividly. Yes, the back buttons once again allow for easier swapping between potions, tomes, and explosives that were previously relegated to the D-Pad. And yes, the pre-set profiles are great for swapping not only between various characters, but various classes within each character’s lineup. I spent the better part of my Sunday upgrading Marcus Kruber, swapping constantly between his Mercenary, Huntsman, and Foot Knight careers, each of which flourished with different analog sensitivities and haptic feedback intensities.

But in a game that involves quite a lot of pushing, stabbing, bludgeoning, slicing, smashing, flailing, shooting, blocking, and impaling, I appreciated none of the Edge’s features more than the ability to adjust the R2 and L2 triggers’ “Stop” zones. By lowering the notches next to each trigger to their lowermost extremes, the triggers then stop about a quarter of the way into their usual depth. Swinging my halberd no longer means mashing a deep-set trigger over and over and over again, but rather, pressing a shallow button over and over and over again. It sounds minor, but it saves my fingers a lot of strain on higher difficulties. The adjustable trigger stops, combined with the custom profiles and extra button real estate, make it easier than ever to enjoy Warhammer: Vermintide 2’s intense brand of combat.