Spider-Man 2 being made exclusively for the PS5 allowed Insomniac to use Sony’s proprietary controller to the fullest extent of it’s capabilities. From sound effects to vibrations to motion controls, here are the top 5 ways that Spider-Man 2 uses the DualSense controller.
One of the DualSense features that I appreciate the most in Spider-Man 2 is the way in which it uses sounds in your gameplay. These sounds range from being useful to your game to just being an extra little feature that pulls you into the world. For example, when you get phone calls, the speaker on the controller rings to feel like you’re receiving a real notification, or when you’re using a Venom Surge and the controller makes the growls for the suit. It’s even helpful for grabbing the Spider-Bots around the city because the noise plays through your controller and gets louder as you get nearer to them.
While these bigger use cases bring an extra level of depth to your overall experience, some of the smaller features are the ones that sell it the most for me. As you zoom the map in and out, the controller makes a subtle little blipping sound that just adds to the technological vibes from the whole interface. Having the intro or outro music to the podcasts play on the controller also makes it feel like it was coming from your own personal device. Even the sound of the web shooters coming from the controller while swinging is something that I tend to forget about, but it still makes all the difference.
One of the things that got me the most excited about the controller before getting to use it was the adaptive triggers, but up to this point I had never really felt impressed by them. However, Insomniac used them in a few different ways for Spider-Man 2 that really worked well in the context of the game. While I was expecting them to use them for things like web-swinging and combat, I wasn’t expecting it to be as in-depth as they are.
When the game told me to hold the triggers to break open one of the Sandman crystals, I expected it to simply break but instead, it took real, physical force to snap the crystal in half. It actually makes it feel like you’re breaking the crystal in your hands, and it made it one of my favorite side missions to complete because of that. The same went for the side quest playing as Hailey because of the tension having to be held properly to spray the paint on the wall. Those little details made all the difference in my opinion.
I’ve been a sucker for some good haptic feedback since I saw it used in the Macbook’s trackpad, but to see how far it’s evolved on every platform always brings me joy. I appreciate the little things like Insomniac using the haptics for various features like a soft rumbling when you charge up a slingshot launch or the tapping of your footsteps when you’re walking, but it was the attention to detail in the side mission where you play as Hailey that really stood out to me.
Playing as a deaf character, Insomniac made the decision to mute (or mostly muffle) the sounds of the world around you to reflect the way she experiences the world. However, they also made the decision to incorporate a street band in the level, so that when you walk past them, you can physically feel the beat of the music as opposed to hearing it. That attention to detail elated me when I played that level because it’s just such a clear indicator of how much care was put into the game.
Since the Wii, motion controls have been used in controllers for various different purposes. While they can often seem gimmicky, Spider-Man 2 uses them sparingly enough where they feel natural. You mainly use them for the minigames where you’re playing basketball or riding the rollercoaster, but when you use them, the accelerometer makes these mechanics feel absolutely great.
Another highlight of the mission when you’re playing as Hailey was the use of those motion controls to shake the spray paint can before you get to spraying. It adds so much to the experience when you’re shaking the controller as she shakes the can before then having to apply a certain amount of pressure with the adaptive triggers. It makes for a more complete experience overall, and one that I hope other developers try to employ in the future.
The Touchpad is one of those features on the DualSense controller that feels like it’s gotten overlooked in a lot of games. Sometimes it’s just used as a button, or other times it’s just used to navigate menus. For Spider-Man 2, Insomniac incorporated it into the controller in a few ways to give your gaming experience a little extra pop, more than just pressing it to open the menu.
It’s mainly used to interact with what would be Peter or Miles’ phones, to open up either the camera or the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man app. You can swipe to the left to open the app as if the Touchpad was a phone screen, or you can swipe up and down to open the camera. While neither of them are huge use cases for the Touchpad, it’s better than having to navigate into a menu to use these features of the game.
That wraps up the top 5 best uses for the DualSense controller in Spider-Man 2. There are plenty of features there to make sure you never forget what console you’re playing on, without feeling too intrusive. If you want to read more on Spider-Man 2, check out the top 10 best side missions.