ps4-controller
G. Lehri
Editor in Chief

The PlayStation 4 Controller: Hands-On at Gamescom 2013

We finally got a hands-on with the Playstation 4 (DS4) controller and suffice to say, we were very pleased with revisions made to it.

The PlayStation 4 controller  has more obvious additions to it compared to the new Xbox One controller, such as the track-pad and the light-bar functionality that works in tandem with the PS4 camera but unfortunately, we did not get an opportunity to test these specific features out. We also didn’t get to test out the speakers that are built-in the controller or the accelerometer, but these feature strikes us as a bit gimmicky and are not something that we or as we suspect, many ‘core’ gamers will be interested in.

However, having tested a couple of games out on the DS4, we instantly fell in love with the way the controller feels. The DS3 controller for the PlayStation 3 left a lot to be desired in our opinion. Sony appeared to make a last-ditch attempt at trying to replicate Nintendo’s Wii U motion controllers with the Sixaxis, which featured lackluster tilt functionality that at first, sacrificed the vibration functions. The controller felt very light and flimsy and even later revisions that included the vibration functionality suffered from problems such as awkward triggers (L”2 and R2 buttons) and ‘floaty’ analog sticks. The DS4 however, is in a completely different league. As you hold it for the first time, you know you’re holding a product that has been sculpted for your hands. There isn’t even the smallest hint of any complacency on the part of Sony when beholding the DS4; it will serve gamers very well for the next generation of games. Check out the video of our hands-on impressions:

The first thing that PlayStation veterans will most likely notice is the size of the controller. It appeared to be too small to us at first glance but once you hold the controller, you are taken aback by just how comfortably it rests on your hand, and boy is it comfortable. The size of the controller seems perfect (for our hands at least) and there is this great texture at the back of the controller that is not only smooth but somehow also grips your hands. We can see ourselves holding the controller for very long gaming sessions and not feel any fatigue.

The triggers (L2 and R2 buttons) on the DS3 came under fire for their lack of responsiveness, especially when compared to the XBox 360 controller. Sony have been listening and the triggers on the DS4 are vastly improved. The triggers now have more resistance to them and curve at the end so as to avoid fingers slipping (something which the DS3 suffered from). We mention in the video that the L1 and R1 buttons felt like they were too close to the triggers. They do feel awkward at first (similar to how the LB and RB buttons feel awkward on the X1 controller) but this is just a minor gripe as we said and just something we can see people getting used to over time.

Whilst the d-pad and face buttons haven’t seen any major changes, due to the changes in dimensions of the controller, the d-pad seems to perfectly positioned with the face buttons. When I first picked up the controller, the first thing I instinctively did was press down, forward square, the button input for firing a ‘hadouken’ in Street Fighter and it just felt brilliant. To me, it represented a massive improvement over the DS3; everything just feels so intuitive.

The analog sticks, similar to the triggers, have also been tightened up; not only gripping the thumbs better but also allowing a greater degree of control over the DS3 which had a very ‘loose’ feel to it. We did not get to try any  first person shooters with the DS4  however, and that is where the real test of the effectiveness of the analog sticks come in to play. However, as it stands, the analog sticks leave no cause for concern.

The DS4 controller is a joy to behold and is the perfect companion for the next-generation of gaming

PlayStation fans are going to be in for a treat when the PS4 is released. The DS4 controller is a joy to behold and is the perfect companion for the next-generation of gaming.In the video, I gave the PlayStation 4 controller the win over the XBox One controller mainly because of how comfortable the DS4 felt. The comfort factor should not be underestimated; the DS4 controller begs to be held and really feels like an extension of your hands. The DS3, in comparison, feels like a hollow piece of plastic- there really is a generational difference.

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