Review: DualShock 4 Controller

Manufacturer: Sony | Year: 2013 | MSRP: $59.99 | Buy from Amazon

dualshock-4-blueThis review has been a long time coming. Even though I don’t yet have a PS4, I’ve had a blue DualShock 4 since Black Friday, when I saw it on sale. With it connected to my Mac, I’ve played through BioShock, Spec Ops: The Line, and BioShock Infinite. I’ve also just finished a 60+ hour playthrough of Dark Souls with it as well (expect a review soon!). I don’t actually own a DualShock 3, but I have used it extensively at friends’ places and will be comparing the DualShock 4 to it a lot. I can tell you right away, that from the 100 or so hours I’ve used the DualShock 4, it has met if not exceeded my expectations in every way.

The DualShock 4 is a fresh new take on Sony’s PlayStation controllers, which had remained largely the same since the 90s when they were first introduced. The controller is quite big, definitely developed with adults in mind, but still extremely comfortable. The back of the controller is textured, making it feel pleasant to hold for a long time and prevents it from feeling sticky after prolonged use. The sticks themselves are smaller, but also indented, which aids in gripping and making precise movements. The L2 and R2 triggers are a noticeable improvement over the DualShock 3’s, as they are now concave rather than convex. You’ll find it easier to use them in first-person shooters, for example, without your fingers slipping off. A glaring addition to this iteration is the touchpad, which I haven’t, unfortunately, been able to use, since I’m connecting the DualShock 4 to PC/Mac, but it does function as a button when pressed, bringing the total number of buttons to a sizable 14. (Excellent)

Everything about this controller screams quality, especially when compared to its predecessor. Where the DualShock 3 had loose sticks, mushy buttons, and an overall lightness, the DualShock 4’s sticks feel wonderfully precise, the buttons feel responsive, and the controller has some heft, even without the AA batteries of something like the Xbox 360 controller. People often complain about the lightbar and its impact on battery life, but I mainly use the controller wired (it connects and charges via Micro USB). Reports online usually cite an 8-hour battery life, which seems sufficient as long as you charge after every use. And I’d like to note that the lightbar doesn’t usually turn on at all if you connect the controller via USB, which can save your eyes some stress in low-light situations. (Excellent)

Of course, the DualShock 4 is compatible with the PlayStation 4, for which it’s designed. However, it also works with the majority of games on PS3, making it a valid choice as a DualShock 3 replacement especially if you eventually plan on upgrading to a PS4 in the future. In addition to that, more and more PC and Mac games nowadays are offering support for the DualShock 4, making me wonder whether it may eventually replace the Xbox 360 controller as the dominant controller for PC gaming. If you’re wondering how to hook your DualShock 4 up to a Mac and make it compatible with games, I’ve created a handy tutorial. If you’re in the market for a PC controller, the Xbox 360 controller may still be the better choice for compatibility as of now, but the DualShock 4 is fast becoming a contender, with more and more publishers adding native support by the day. (Good)

With a list price of $60, the DualShock 4 isn’t one of the cheaper options out there. However, it does go on sale often (in fact, at the time of this posting, it’s currently $10 off on Amazon — link at top of post!). And although early shipments did have some defects regarding the thumbsticks, any new controller you buy now shouldn’t give you any trouble and should last you years of gaming. The comfort and quality is definitely worth the price in my opinion. Like I said, I’ve used my DualShock 4 for 6 months without any issues whatsoever. (Good)

Should you buy it? Yes, if … you’re looking for a replacement for a broken PS3 controller and plan to eventually upgrade to a PS4. Also, if you want to play PC games with a controller, the DualShock 4 is usable with almost all Xbox 360 controller-enabled games, especially with simple 3rd party mods like x360ce. It really comes down to the price. If you’re worried about the higher price tag, then the DualShock 3 or Xbox 360 controller might be better for you. But if you’re willing to shell out the extra $20 for something a little more comfortable and durable, then the DualShock 4 is a wonderful choice.

MSRP: $59.99 | Buy from Amazon

Do you have a DualShock 4? Have you used it for anything outside of PS4 gaming? What did you think? Tell us in the comments! If you have any questions, we’d love to hear from you!

I’ve actually ordered an Xbox 360 controller from Amazon recently, just because I’m curious how it feels compared to a DualShock 4 (I’ve only used the former a little bit). I’ve also ordered a PS4, which I’m not allowed to play until high school is done in a couple months! It’s going to be a struggle, but I’ll have a review up on both of those things eventually, so stay tuned!

Until next time, be sure to check out the rest of our video game reviews and articles!

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