I recently had the chance to play on the PS4 for the very first time. I also got dirty hands-on with the DUALSHOCK 4 controller.
As you may know already, the DUALSHOCK 4 looks different to previous Dualshock controllers. Even though it may look different, there have been several improvements to the controller to make the gameplay experience feel smoother than ever before.
One of my favorite improvements has got to be the altered R2 and L2 buttons. I never liked the R2 AND L2 buttons when they were on the DUALSHOCK 3 controller. They felt too uncomfortable while playing on driving games as my fingers would slip off. Not to mention it was difficult pressing the buttons while shooting in Grand Theft Auto IV. I preferred the old R2 and L2 buttons from the PSOne and PS2 controllers.
Thankfully, the R2 and L2 buttons feel more like triggers and it’s more comfortable to press. I did not have a chance to play a shooting game, but Driveclub felt very comfortable. The buttons are also wider than the thin triggers you get on the Xbox 360 controller so this is a good feature for those who might have big hands. It’s also worth mentioning the controller itself is slightly bigger than a DualShock 3 controller, but isn’t too bulky even for my girly hands…
When it comes to the directional and core face buttons, nothing has really changed. This is actually a good thing because these buttons were always comfortable. SIXAXIS controls are still present and are very responsive. I used the controller to try and steer my car in Driveclub. It’s very responsive, although it will be a feature where you’ll need a lot of practice.
One big change to the controller is that there’s no more “Start” and “Select’ buttons. I remember I wanted to pause the game, and then realized there was no more start button anymore. If you pre-ordered a PS4, you’ll have to remember that the “Start” button is now the “Options” button. The “Select” button has been replaced with the “Share” button. I did not have a chance to “Share anything because the PS4 I was playing on was only a debug console.
PlayStation veterans will also have to get used to the touchpad that is positioned on the middle of the controller too. The touchpad kind of acts like a laptop mouse pad as you will use your finger to move around certain objects. The only game I got to play that used the touchpad was a mini Pong-like game. I got to say, the touch pad feels great. Here’s hoping game developers use the touchpad in more innovative ways in the future. You can also click down on the touchpad which acts as the new “Select” button in some games.
Overall, I though the DUALSHOCK 4 was a great controller and much better than the old SIXAXIS PS3 controllers I have at home (don’t own a DualShock 3). The triggers are the biggest improvements and will make driving and shooting games feel more comfortable.