Until last night, whenever you started a match you were forcibly shoved into a game chat with your fellow players whether you liked it or not. And that’s when you’d feel the horrible impact of Sony’s decision to stick a microphone on its new controller in full effect, which, I should note, is turned on by default for most users.
Before I could even comprehend what was happening, Destruction AllStars transported me back to 2005 when I decided to try Xbox Live for the first time. My ears were bombarded with a cacophony of noise that consisted of controller clicks, random shouting, babies crying, god awful background music, and of course, horrible slurs. I could have sworn I was playing Project Gotham Racing 3 again.
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Open mic night
Thankfully, developer Lucid Games as acted swiftly and you'll no longer be drowned out by the voices of a thousand strangers when you play Destruction AllStars. In fact, it turns out that this social anxiety-inducing nightmare of placing you into a mass party was actually a bug.
Thanks for all the feedback so far!We're aware of issues surrounding voice chat in Destruction AllStars and are hard at work on a fix!In the meantime, you can mute a party chat by pressing the PlayStation button, then Square on the party card or create a private party chat.February 3, 2021
To save yourself and your precious eardrums, you previously had to hit the PlayStation button then Square on the party card. You had to do this for every match you played, but thankfully the madness is now over thanks to the latest update.
Alternatively, you could have created a private chat with people you actually want to talk to, and who have undoubtedly been pressured into buying a dedicated headset by their peers.
Silence is golden
Now, I’ve thrown every superlative I can think of at Sony’s PS5 controller since getting my hands on it back in November. I absolutely adore the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, and it’s comfortably the best controller Sony has ever made. If you haven’t already, try picking up the DualShock 4 again – how bizarre does that feel now?
Nevertheless, for everything the DualSense gets right, the inclusion of an in-built microphone has always baffled me. It seemed completely unnecessary at the time, especially as the ramifications were obvious to anyone.
I take no pleasure in saying that my fears have only proven to be warranted with the in-built mic, and for me, it will simply serve as yet another battery-draining feature that I could definitely do without, just like the DualShock 4’s maligned lightbar.
While some might miss the days when people would communicate more openly online – something that party chat all but put an end to – it’s easy to forget just what a cesspit of scum and villainy an open chat lobby can quickly descend into. I sat there listening in amazement as what I presumed was a grown man absolutely tore into another player, who was obviously a child, as he bragged about finishing first, and how the kid was “f**king garbage”.
To quote President Joe Biden: “C’mon, man!”
Listening to people spew bile at each other is one thing, but the quality of voice chat when using the DualSense is significantly worse than if you had a dedicated microphone, chiefly because it picks up absolutely everything. The fact it’s generally always on for players, too (it was for me, until I headed into the PS5’s settings to ensure that little amber light is constantly lit) means you might be hearing people who aren’t even aware they’re broadcasting themselves. (I once unknowingly violated the ears of a a group of gamers, as I loudly chewed through an entire bag of Maoams while the controller’s mic was on.)
I’ll admit that Sony’s idea is an admirable one on paper, though. Gamers don’t have to spend extra money buying a headset to chat with their friends, and it adds a bit of extra value to the DualSense which, I should note, is more expensive than the DualShock 4. In practice, though, having a microphone on a controller is just a headache. Also, Nintendo did it first with the Wii U GamePad – just sayin’.
While I think Destruction AllStars is a fairly enjoyable vehicular combat game, it'll now serve as a constant reminder why party chat is comfortably one of the best innovations humanity has created since we first discovered fire, and why in-built microphones on a controller are one of the worst.