I Really Like The New Dual Shock Controller

by Matt Helgeson on Jun 13, 2013 at 12:01 PM

This E3 was my first chance to put the PlayStation 4 through its paces, and so far I'm very pleased with the new Dual Shock 4 controller.

If you've seen photos of the new controller, it doesn't appear to be much different than the previous Dual Shock designs. That impression is accurate -- to an extent. It's not a huge departure, as the general size, shape, button, and stick layout is essentially the same. However, the controller does feature some important improvements that make this by far the best PlayStation controller to date.

The most important thing I want to convey about the Dual Shock 4 is the improved build quality. All the materials, from the matte plastic of the body to the new concave rubberized control stick feel much more solid than the Dual Shock 3. The feel of it in your hand is very nice, and the new sticks are have a much tighter feel than the too-loose sticks on the Dual Shock 3. I think shooter fans are going to like them. That said, I still prefer the offset stick configuration of the Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers.

This quality feel extends to the buttons and analog sticks, which feel much less "plasticky" and more true than the Dual Shock 3's. This is especially true of the analogs, which seem to move more smoothly through their whole range of motion and have a rubberized surface.

The body, while essentially the same shape as the previous controller, is actually a bit bulkier and more contoured. The "wings" that extend out from the left and right sides fill up the palms of your hand a bit better. For me (I have fairly average sized hands), it was far more comfortable.

The higher quality components do add some more weight to the unit, which I actually prefer, but I can't really speculate whether or not people with smaller hands will find it too bulky.

As far as the built-in Move sensor and the touch pad, I haven't been able to play any games that really utilize them. I did play the Contra-style retro shooter Mercenary Kings, which used the pad as a way to bring up the level map, but that didn't tell me too much about its responsiveness.