PlayStation 5 pack-in Astro’s Playroom is a DualSense controller demo

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Every PlayStation 5 console will include a pack-in copy of Astro’s Playroom, a lighthearted platforming game based on the Astro Bot Rescue Mission PS VR game. But a new gameplay demo from Geoff Keighley shows off the game’s real purpose: to introduce players to the console’s new DualSense controller, which adds a pile of innovations on top of the DualShock 4’s already lengthy list of features.

Keighley’s hands-on marks the first public demo of the new controller outside of Sony, and it gives the best look yet at what to expect this fall. According to Keighley, the DualSense is heavier than the DualShock 4, and it has more “heft to it, in a good way.” But the more interesting part of the video comes from his short playthrough of Astro’s Playroom, which, as shown by Keighley, is purpose-built to showcase DualSense features new and old.

One part sees Astro hopping around in a spring-loaded frog suit, which provides what Keighley describes as a “unique sensation” of tension as the spring compresses down. He also describes the haptic feedback as providing different sensations when Astro is struggling through sand, running normally, or bouncing into blocks of ice. Other parts of the demo introduce players to using the swiping gestures on the returning touchpad or using the newly added built-in microphone to “blow” a fan.

Keighley also highlighted the improved audio effects from the integrated speaker, which he describes as offering “more range” than the DualShock 4, with deeper ties to the on-screen gameplay and haptics feedback. For example, you can hear footsteps of Astro running on a beach or the individual pings and clinks of ice blocks being knocked aside.

The title is extremely reminiscent of The Playroom, a pack-in title that came preinstalled on the PlayStation 4 to showcase the new PlayStation Camera and the DualShock 4 controller. (Although, where the original Playroom demo required a camera accessory, it seems that Astro’s Playroom won’t need any new hardware beyond what comes in the PlayStation 5 box.)

Sony has yet to announce a price or release date for the PlayStation 5, but the company has promised it’ll be out sometime this holiday season.

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