Gaming, Technology, Uncategorized, Video Games

PS4 First Impressions: The Controller

I’m not stretching the truth a single bit when I tell you that the new DualShock 4 for the PlayStation 4 is the most comfortable controller I’ve ever held in my life. I have never been so satisfied with a console controller, and thus, the DS4 is my new favorite gaming input device. Aside from one minor complaint, (and one thing I’m not even sure if I should complain about yet) this is the perfect controller for me. Why the praise? Read on to find out!

First of all, the DualShock 4 is the perfect shape and size. The DualShock 3 is a bit small, but the 360 is a little on the clunky side. This remote has just the right curve that provides a comfortable feel when I hold it; the DS3 doesn’t have great ergonomics like this remote does. As far as weight goes, the DualShock 4 is also a great fit. Its not as light and flimsy feeling as the DS3, but at the same time, it doesn’t feel as heavy (and clunky) as a 360 remote, but I haven’t weighed all my controllers to know for sure.

The trigger buttons have a great curve, and they’re a good size as well. Whereas the DS3 triggers were too easy to slip off when playing an FPS, these are curved in a way that make it much easier to keep a hold of. The face buttons (X, Square, O, and Triangle) and more flush to the surface to the remote, and they’re flatter than the buttons on the DS3; they don’t have the same subtle bubble shape as the old buttons. They’re flatter this time around, and I find that to be a GREAT improvement.

The D-Pad is improved as well. Rather than being four flat buttons like the DS3, the new D-Pad has a certain shape to it. The buttons are each tilted inward to create a faux depression on the controller, and you can see this a little in the picture at the top of the article. Putting your thumb on the old D-Pad is like touching four flat buttons, but the tilted buttons on the new D-Pad feel more like using an analog stick, or more accurately, a 3DS Circle Pad. Your thumb is almost fooled into thinking you’re interfacing with a shallow Circle Pad, but when you look at it, it’s still obviously a D-Pad. It’s tough to explain, but this is the most comfortable and functional D-Pad I’ve used yet.

The analog sticks are more responsive on the new controller as opposed to the old one, and the concave stick with a raised outer ring is a GREAT design. They could be a tad larger for comfort, but this miniscule “complaint” is hardly worth noting. The two analog sticks are placed a bit farther apart on the DS4, and this is also a welcome upgrade.

I can’t comment on the new touchpad because I haven’t used it yet; the games I have played so far haven’t utilized it. I like that the Home button is now below the analog sticks; I hardly use this button and it’s now out of the way, but still easy enough to reach. The new positioning is perfect. My only legitimate complaint about the controller so far is the location of the Share and Options buttons. I find that rather than actually hitting the button I want, I end up clicking the touchpad instead. I think this is more due to the fact that in the PS3 and 360 controllers, these two buttons’ last gen counterparts were in the middle of the controller. I think that once my hands get used to the fact that they have to move up and out rather than slightly up and in, the location for these buttons will cease to be an issue. Hundreds of hours using the old remotes can make it difficult to transition to the new button layouts, and since the button positions for these two are the only ones that have really changed from last generation to this one, I suppose that’s why I’m having issues to this point.

Even still, with only a few hours under my belt, I can’t really say they’re in a bad position yet without really getting used to it.

The only improvement that could really be made to this controller would be switching the D-Pad with the left analog stick as in the Microsoft controllers. The placement of the analog stick isn’t bad where it is now, but I prefer the placement on the 360, so it could be great rather than simply good. I don’t think that Sony can really do much about this though; the current placement of the analog sticks for Microsoft and Sony products have stayed the same for over a decade and I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft could sue if Sony tried to switch up the placement. Can they? I really don’t know.

All in all, this DualShock 4 controller is, I shall repeat, the best controller I’ve ever held. If I could use this remote to control my PS3, I’d gladly toss my old DualShock 3 controllers out a window… or maybe I’d sell them to GameStop, but that’s beside the point. I might just be the lucky one who has the right hand size to fit this remote to a T, but maybe it’s the same for everyone. How do you like the new controller? Any opinions? Leave a comment below, and leave a like or follow if you’ve enjoyed or you want to see more PS4 updates. Check out the LP channels in my “Links” tab, and follow me @OpinionAsAGamer if you would like.

Last order of business is this: I currently own 3 games for my PS3. These are Lego Marvel Super Heroes, Battlefield 4, and Resogun. If you would like me to do a livestream of any of these titles, let me know which one so I can get a feel for what you want to see on next-gen 🙂

P.S. I should also note that the blue light bar on the remote DOES NOT get annoying, even when I played my PS4 in the dark last night… it didn’t bother me, anyhow.

Happy Gaming!
Matt

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5 thoughts on “PS4 First Impressions: The Controller”

  1. glad you enjoying it 🙂 I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Just of curiosity, are you having any problems with the console itself? Overheating, crashes, etc, etc

  2. (1) “an FPS” and “I currently own 3 games for my PS3.”

    a. Much like it’s not ‘an MMORPG’ it’s not ‘an FPS’ and it sure as hell isn’t ‘an historical event’. To understand that last one, talk to some people in their 50s and 60s who pronounce many words that start with the letter H as if it were silent, saying the word as it it started with a vowel. Thus, instead of ‘a historical’ you have ‘an istorical’ even though the letter H will actually be written -it just won’t be pronounced.

    This is a real issue for me because it blurs saying and writing. The letter F sounds like ‘eff’ and the letter M ’em’. It is not a vowel but the way the sound is formed in our mouth sounds like a vowel and it’s become commonplace to remove that distinction when it comes to writing. I’m very big on effective communication and I cannot stress enough that, though you read it commonly in various sources online, using the word ‘an’ before a word that sounds like it begins with a vowel but doesn’t, in fact, begin with a vowel looks bad. It looks amateurish and every time I see that on PC Gamer, Kotaku, Gamasutra or any other site I think the same thing.

    b. I think you mean PS4 here.

    (2) Pseudo-analogue sticks and depressed buttons

    My hands have always been large but with slender fingers. It made the rectangle that was the NES controller actually painful to hold. When I got my hands on the SNES I thought that the controller was perfect and it really was. (I was so accustomed to this that I’ve played with dual-trigger controllers as though there was only one, resting my middle fingers underneath the controller just behind the bottom triggers.) That controller was just the right size and, despite having large hands, the controller for the Sega Genesis was cumbersome because of how thick and fat it was in comparison. When I moved on to the Playstation it was just as comfortable as the SNES and, on par with the Sega controller, the Xbox controllers were just too damn fat and cumbersome. By your accounts I think that the controller would be just as comfortable as the last few generations, with Sony not changing something that works.

    It may seem unimportant, but I believe the depression in the D-pad and the pseudo-analogue sticks (remember, they’re not analogue, they’re digital now) is important. When I hold a controller its the underside of the first knuckle of my thumb that makes the movement, not the part of the finger underneath the nail. This means that when I’m using the D-pad or sticks I’m pulling and pushing in a very particular way and this is made easier by a depressed or angled surface because that knuckle has something to hold on to and grip easily. While I had no issue with the raised surface of the sticks on the PS3 controller, I believe that this feature would allow me to have even more control.

    (3) PS4 heat

    Keep us abreast on potential issues with heat and your PS4. I don’t think I’m alone in being concerned about this after you wrote an entry comparing the inside of the Xbox One to the PS4. Here’s to hoping that it runs cool.

    1. As for point 1, I never really thought about how it should be based on how the word is written as opposed to if it sounds like e vowel or consonant. I’ll try to keep that in mind.

      2, I completely agree with the importance of the shape of the D-pad. It’s definitely an improvement, although I’ve never heard of a person using the underside of their knuckle as opposed to the underside of the nail for pressing the buttons! Haha

      As for point 3, as of now, I haven’t noticed it getting any hotter than my PS3 Slim model (it’s a middle-of-the-generation model; not fat, not super slim). It gets warm, but it doesn’t alarm me. I’ve played in 2 to 3.5 hour sessions, and I’ve not yet been concerned by the heating and airflow. I’ll talk more about the system itself in an article later this week. Also, I wonder if standing the system vertically will make a difference for better or worse as opposed to laying flat; mine is flat right now and I’m not sure if I should get a stand. All of my systems have always laid flat without heating issues, but my current setup isn’t ideal; I need to stand my PS4 vertically or completely rearrange my furniture because I have a SERIOUS lack of space

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