Sept 20, 2007
So rumble is back. Sony has officially announced the Dual Shock's return, in its third incarnation, and 66 games will be compatible with it straight away. Amen, say we, because it was a feature we've always missed.
That's thanks to some excellent uses of what ol' Phil Harrison once described as a 'last-gen feature'. Because some games didn't just kick the pad about to show gun recoil, or simple collisions, they used the feature to really break down the barrier and help us feel the action. So, in case you've forgotten the wonders of rumble, here's our nominations for Dual Shock's greatest hits...
Hitman: Blood Money
Spoilers here! IO Interactive had a surprise ending in store for Hitman fans, with the final level of Blood Money taking place at Agent 47's very own cremation. Of course, 47 isn't dead, simply in a death-like hibernation.
As the credits roll, the Dual Shock 2 gently throbs in time with 47's muted heartbeats - wrestle with the sticks to dredge him out of the coma and strengthen the beat of his heart, guided all the time by the rumblings of the pad. Brilliantly simple, simply brilliant.
Another beat-matching rumble here, but this time the Dual Shock was shaking in time to the beat of the action on screen, itself a result of your own button mashing blastings. Since the whole game is built around the idea of synethesia (opens in new tab), the rumblings of the pad are a perfect method of further engrossing you in the beat-driven gameplay.
Metal Gear Solid
No discussion of Dual Shock's charms wouldbe complete without mentioning Psycho Mantis and his 'psychic' interactions with your pad. Watching the leather-bound weirdo move your controller around with the power of his mind was a truly arresting moment - and an out-of-the-box idea that few developers other than Konami's Hideo Kojima could have conjured.
Splinter Cell / The Warriors
Lots of games use rumble to guide your interactions, but few are more successfull than these two games. Both use rumble effects during their lockpicking mini-games,where youslowly tweak the dual sticks, searching for the lock's'sweetpoint' which is indicated by the strength of the rumble feedback.
While it seems a straightforward use of the technology, you can take nothing away from how well it works, or how effectively it complements the action on screen. Without rumble, this simply wouldn't be possible.
The uncluttered screen of Silent Hill's adventure is a vital arrangement to ensure your nightmarish exprience isn't jarred by HUD read outs or energy bars. So, instead, as your character suffers so do your hands, the Dual Shock's motors whirring in distress when injury or simply terror strikes. Again, it's a subtle application of science, but,oh boy, is it utterly and heart-stoppingly effective.