Returnal launched last week, and having spent many, many hours combing through the game's haunting alien world over the weekend (and yes, dying a lot), I've come to love its various ways of (metaphorically) grabbing my attention through the Dualsense.
Read More: Returnal Review: Infinitely Satisfying
Returnal Is The Perfect Showcase Of PS5's Dualsense
The Dualsense seemed when it was announced, as though it was going to be a gimmick. Aside from fairly useful additions like a built-in mic, "refined haptic feedback" felt like a buzzword (no pun intended), and adaptive triggers felt similarly pointless - would it really make a difference?
Twenty minutes with Astro's Playroom, though, and I was a believer. Pulling enemies out of the ground felt like the controller was exerting itself, and surfaces felt different under our tiny hero's adorable little limbs.
Not only does Housemarque's psychological-horror roguelike use the Dualsense's unique elements to convey its unique brand of tension and difficulty, but it does so even better than any other game I've played on PS5.
Stepping out into the unknown, it's easy to overlook the subtle patter of the rainfall coming through on the pad as you prepare for the numerous horrors that lie in wait.
Players lock onto enemies with a half-pull of the left trigger, and pulling further activates an alternate fire mode. Some alt-fires unleash lightning, others fire tracking projectiles, but all feel as though they're coursing through your hands.
Even after firing them, you'll hear an effect from the controller when it's recharged, while in the interim the controller will slowly "charge up" using vibrations before eventually prompting you to fire again.
Even scanning a new item or machine that you've not seen before imprints an image of the target in front of Selene, and even the controller's haptics make it feel as though it's being deciphered before her (and your) eyes.
Then there are parasites - small creatures that invade Selene's suit and provide buffs and debuffs. Grab one, and it'll feel as though it scurries along your controller, occasionally 'purring' in the game's quieter moments. It feels... invasive, in a way that makes sense to Selene's experiences on the planet.
If you're yet to fully embrace the Dualsense's unique potential for added immersion, then Returnal is undoubtedly worth jumping into.