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Talking Point: Is the PS4's Controller Pushing Your Buttons?

Posted by Sammy Barker

Perfect peripheral

There’s no doubt that the PlayStation 4 comes with a number of improvements over its current generation counterpart. The system’s user interface, for starters, is much slicker than its predecessor’s – despite the implementation of multiple new features such as game profiles and live streaming. Furthermore, the hardware itself boasts some beefy under-the-hood enhancements that enable titles such as Killzone: Shadow Fall to run in native 1080p. But arguably the most important upgrade of them all revolves around the console’s controller, which is a massive step forward from the DualShock 3.

We actually really like the PlayStation 3’s input peripheral, but it’s hard to go back once you’ve tasted the DualShock 4. Having gone hands on with the device earlier in the year, we pointed out that the new controller melts into your fingers like ice cream into warm waffles, and it’s something that you’ll hopefully have now had a chance to sample for yourself. But whether you’ve tested the peripheral at a grungy demo station or have spent the past week handling the hardware in your own home, we want to know whether it’s living up to your expectations.

There’s a chance that the pre-release hype may have boosted your hopes to an unreachable tier. The consensus coming out of E3 earlier in the year was that the controller trumped the Xbox One’s revamped alternative – a strong statement considering that most pundits leaned towards the Xbox 360’s controller during the previous generation. Improvements include the longer handles, tighter sticks, and concave triggers. The device has also been widened in order to prevent your thumbs from clashing.

Arguably the most important PS4 upgrade revolves around the console's controller, which is a massive step forward from the DualShock 3

But the improvements aren’t just strictly shape-based. The peripheral also comes with a handful of gadgets, including the touchpad, light bar, and overhauled rumble and gyroscopes. While we intend to delve into these details a little more deeply in the future, we’d love to know briefly what you think of the new features having got your hands on the device. Do you think that the touchpad will get much use? Is the light bar already beginning to irritate you? What about the enhanced rumble and gyroscopes – have they improved any of the games that you’ve played?

Meanwhile, have you gotten used to the removal of the Start and Select buttons yet? Has the decreased deadzone improved your performance in Call of Duty: Ghosts? Are you a fan of the new triggers? Do you wish that Sony would have moved the position of the left analogue stick? Feel free to partake in our brief survey, and then tap out your full appraisal in the comments section below.


Do you like the DualShock 4 more than the DualShock 3? (53 votes)

Yes, this is a much more comfortable controller to use

74%

To be honest, I really like them both

25%

No, I’m finding it difficult to adapt to the newer device

  2%

Please login to vote in this poll.

What’s your favourite new feature on the PS4 controller? (52 votes)

I’m so happy that the gyroscopes actually work now

10%

I think that the light bar adds a neat futuristic effect

10%

The touchpad is a clever and forward-thinking addition

48%

I quite like the way the speaker is used for extra audio

23%

I’m impressed by how much the rumble has improved

10%

Please login to vote in this poll.

Is there anything that you’re still not keen on? (53 votes)

I wish that the analogue sticks were asymmetrical

6%

To be honest, the battery life is pretty poor

36%

I wish Sony would bring back pressure sensitive buttons

11%

I still have gripes, but they’re not listed in this poll

9%

No, there’s nothing that really jumps out right now

38%

Please login to vote in this poll.

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User Comments (27)

BornOfEvil

#1

BornOfEvil said:

I called in some favors at my local Walmart and got my hands on a DS4 that someone failed to steal. I didn't get to use it in-game, but I was really impressed by how responsive the triggers are and how the analogue sticks aren't too stiff or too loose.

I also really liked the touchpad, it could be used for a lot of unique features. Basically, I have no complaints in regards to the DualShock 4. I'm really glad Sony didn't change the placement of the sticks because that's one of the main things I hated about the Xbox controller.

irken004

#2

irken004 said:

I'm still getting used to the joysticks, but everything else feels pretty good.

Reverend_Skeeve

#3

Reverend_Skeeve said:

I only got a short hands on with the DS4 at a demo station, but pretty much everything I didn't like about the DS3 is gone...the form fits better into my hands, the sticks feel more precise and "tighter", the triggers (L2/R2) are actually that and not something my fingers keep slipping off. It just felt right and pretty much perfect from the first second, so: excellent job, Sony.

And before somebody might imply that I am an Xbox fanboy for not liking the DS3, I own a PS1 and PS2 and play videogames for 30 years, but the 360s pad was the best one I ever used (for my personal tastes)...but the DS4 might just take that crown now.

drumsandperc92

#4

drumsandperc92 said:

i've always preferred the 360 controller to DS3. Up until now the 360 controller was my favorite of all time. But DS4 mops the floor with it. This is the best controller i've ever held or used. Buttons are perfectly clicky, super responsive, tight controller sticks (that revamped concave grip is perfect too) the triggers are miles ahead and your fingers rest on them better than other controllers since they are wide, and overall it's the most ergonomic and comfortable controller to hold. Now feels MUCH better in my hands than anything else before it.
Admittedly i haven't tried the Xbone controller yet, but it looks clunkier and more angular than the DS4 and i can't imagine that being a good thing.

My only complaint is the limited function of the touchpad. I like Injustice's use of it in the mini games, that's fun. I also like how easy it is to get to the map by way of clicking the pad in AC4. However, i always find myself using the sticks to navigate the map because using the pad as a track pad a la a laptop or something just really isn't very responsive at all. Idk if it's the hardware or the software. I'd really like to see it serve as a trackpad for things like maps in future games or even for the web browser app.
Also i don't have a camera so the light bar is utterly useless but is a beautiful aesthetic touch that i am glad they included.

Ginkgo

#6

Ginkgo said:

Have only held it but briefly at a shop demo unit, but it was gorgeous. So much nicer in the hand than the DS3.

I definitely think that the DS4 is one of the reasons there seems to be a swing to the PS4 this generation.

Cowboysfan-22

#7

Cowboysfan-22 said:

DS4 is easily the best controller I've ever used. I tried to play MW2 on PS3 last night and I couldn't get use to the DS3's analog sticks. It really shows how big the dead spots are. I hooked up my DS4 and used it instead. That was really cool

DoublezZ01

#8

DoublezZ01 said:

When i first laid eyes on it it already became my new favorite controller!!! But Actually using it now!!! Words can't describe!!! I loved how i instantly took to it when i started playing games, im already addapting to the touchpad, still trying to map out wich command swipes in killzone are for the owl, think i should have started on easy lmao ...didnt think regular would be so difficult! =D

lietenantdan

#9

lietenantdan said:

The dualshock 4 is much better than the dualshock 3. I have a feeling they designed the dualshock 3 so poorly so that the dualshock 4 would feel like the best controller ever

Ps4all

#10

Ps4all said:

To be honest, the concave thumb sticks are my favorite feature. They keep my thumbs from slipping while playing shooters. Also, the triggers are much more comfortable than r1 l1 for shooters.

Gamer83

#11

Gamer83 said:

I honestly can't think of a better controller. I was a big fan of the 360's but the DualShock4 is awesome. It remedies some of the slight problems I had with past DualShocks, and adds some nice features like the touchpad and surprisingly high quality speaker.

ShogunRokAdmin

#12

ShogunRok said:

I'm not happy about the drastically shorter battery life. If the light bar doesn't take off and isn't used in most software, then I wouldn't mind revamp with a cheaper price tag that comes without the gimmicky bits.

NathanUC

#14

NathanUC said:

I don't personally care for the new joysticks to be honest. I think that with the way I hold the stick at the edge, a convex design is a lot better (at least for the left stick). I find the new concave design slipping in my thumb from time to time where it very rarely did on PS3.

The touch pad is awesome though! I was a bit iffy on it at first, but what few uses it has right now, it's a solid addition. The light bar is cool, but sometimes I wish I'd be able to see it. Buttons and triggers feel a lot better. The speaker was a great borrowed idea as well. I'd love to see more games use the touchpad/speaker. Overall, a solid upgrade.

@KALofKRYPTON I seem to only get a few hours of use on mine. It was a weird feeling charging my controller every other day as my PS3 controllers would go weeks.

Visiblemode

#15

Visiblemode said:

The Ds4 is amazingly comfortable. I love it so much. Ds3 is getting dumped on now, but still my #2 and I still have a big soft spot for it.

Visiblemode

#16

Visiblemode said:

Surprised anyone prefers asymetrical analog sticks, I have a 360...still, never made any sense to me at all. The body is symetrical...

NathanUC

#17

NathanUC said:

@Visiblemode It's not much of a visual thing and I think it has to do with the evolution of games. In the past, your thumb rested on the Dpad (or joystick) and the 4 face buttons the right. This means your thumbs were always pointing up. Moving the right joystick to the bottom center, you're thumb is at a weird angle.

This means it would make more sense for both sticks to be symmetrical and near the top, but a change like that would be difficult to get used to now. I don't like the 360 or Xbox One controllers at all personally, but I do understand why people prefer that joystick layout.

Stuffgamer1

#18

Stuffgamer1 said:

My main problem isn't technically with the CONTROLLER, but with programmers. All throughout the PS3's lifecycle, I was used to aim and shoot being on the 1 buttons...now all of sudden it's been moved to the 2's and I'm having a HORRIBLE time adjusting. Why the hell did they feel the need to do that? :/

@nathanuc1988: " a change like that would be difficult to get used to now"
Ain't that the truth! Anyone with a Wii U can attest to that. The real problem is that they're still programming face buttons as if the stick was in the old place...this can cause problems in 3D games where you have camera control and need to be able to jump and jump is still mapped to B like always.

NathanUC

#19

NathanUC said:

@Stuffgamer1 If I had a trophy for every time I thew a grenade when trying to shoot in Killzone Shadowfall... It was hard to relearn at first, but now it's not a problem.

The real trick is jumping back and forth between Dualshock 3 and Dualshock 4 and fiddling for the select/start share/options buttons....

charlesnarles

#20

charlesnarles said:

Cheap façade plastic, but I like the back side. I get blinded plugging it in at night, but that's user error. I like the stick stiffness but Idk if I like the 3ds-esque stick toppers. I can't get my thumbs comfy (thumb-tips vs meatier middle part). Rumble seems pretty unchanged so far, and the face buttons still feel analogue, even if they're not (I expected Vita's clickers). Triggers have good pull weight, and R1/L1 are little and round and nice. The touchpad will be kick-ass for navigating Pip-Boys (etc.)!!! I also can't stop touching the d-pad, it's so ergo! Oh, you can't turn them off while watching Netflix! = really annoying, even with 10-minute timeout on.

Visiblemode

#21

Visiblemode said:

@nathanuc1988 hmm, interesting you say that because as a gamer who started out in the 70's on Intellivision and played his way through pretty much literally every controller since, the first time I used a dualshock, I was like "finally!"

...but yeah, there is no right answer. It's subjective.

Ginkgo

#22

Ginkgo said:

@Visiblemode Ahh the Intellivision, I remember those puppies. We were a Atari 2600 family ourselves (like most people I guess). I really think that PS and XB should bring back wood paneling as part of their console design. None of this black plastic stuff. What do you think?

Visiblemode

#23

Visiblemode said:

@Ginkgo Dude! Google: icarbon skins! They offer both light and dark wood grain! I saw it the other day and it made me think of those old consoles, so funny.

Visiblemode

#25

Visiblemode said:

@Ginkgo Yep! That's it buddy! I would have linked it, but couldn't remember if the site allowed it.

It's actually pretty tempting. LOL

Madd_Hatter401

#26

Madd_Hatter401 said:

Best feature hands down.. The 3.5mm jack that allows for game audio and chat.. That's easily the coolest feature any controller has ever offered! I love it :D

PMasterTy9

#27

PMasterTy9 said:

I love the DS4 so far. The battery life could be a lot better but is has not been an issue yet because I have been plugging my controller in when I put my PS4 on standby.

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