rAge 2013: PS4 And Xbox One Controller Impressions
I’m sure you must be wondering why I’m writing about the next generation consoles’ controllers. Well, after fondling and playing around with both the PS4 and Xbox One’s controllers, it occurred to me quite obviously that hey, these are the little devices that you’ll be playing your games with for the next six years or so. Surely they should be comfortable, sleek and better than their previous iterations, right?
That’s what we’re here to find out. And we’ll start with the PlayStation 4 controller.
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PlayStation 4 – Dualshock 4
While I do like my PS3 controller and have naturally been completely used to it over the six years I have owned a PS3, it did have glaring issues that often put me off in certain genres of games. For one thing, the marshmallow triggers were useless in fighting games, and for me only really felt good for racing games or, well, cooking grenades in shooters or action games. Furthermore, the analogue sticks had far too much space to move, which often made it feel like it lacked precision, and made it susceptible to wear and tear, in that it could get stuck or move awkwardly later on in its life. I have always appreciated the symmetrical, neat layout of the controller though and feel more comfortable with it than the Xbox controller, but these flaws were pretty hard to get over at times.
I had the opportunity to try out the PS4 controller this weekend, and right off the bat I have to say that it is a huge improvement over that of the PS3. For starters, the analogues have thumb indents, which makes them better to latch onto. They also have less space to move freely, which means they feel far more precise and satisfying to rotate and aim in desired directions. They are also easier to press down, thanks to the indents and reduced area of movement. I’m really glad to see the analogue improvements, because despite being a PS3 fan and owner for the entire generation, I was never the biggest fan of the PS3 analogue sticks and triggers.
Which brings me to the PS4’s trigger pads. They are, as well, a massive improvement over the PS3 controller. They are far less wide, and are now actual triggers. However, I am not one hundred percent sold on their efficiency just yet, as they can still be pushed down slowly and partially similarly to that of the PS3’s triggers, which makes me slightly concerned about precision when it comes to registering an actual button press in certain games, especially a quick one. That is something I’ll know for sure when I experience it in other games, as only Knack and Drive Club were at rAge and there was no sign of Killzone: Shadow Fall or Infamous.
Lastly, the controller feels awesome in your hand, and the rubber-like grip is really excellent. It looks really sexy too, and much less ordinary and bland like the PS3 controller. The touch pad works like a charm and, along with the light bar, gives the Dualshock 4 a very stylish appearance. I can say for absolute certainty that the PS4 controller is miles better than its precessor, and I can’t wait to experience it in a diverse genre of games to see how it holds up. But I’m happy to see that my two big issues with the PS3 controller have been addressed, and now it’s just a matter of getting good game time with it.
Many gamers always call the Xbox 360 controller perfect. Personally, while this assessment is probably not far from the truth at all, as it was a magnificent little thing, I was often not comfortable with the bulky feel of it, the positions of the anlogue sticks relative to the size of it, and the circular D-pad, which always felt inaccurate and cheap to me.
Bring in the Xbox One controller, and I am extremely impressed. While it didn’t have a lot of work to do to improve on an already awesome controller, and as such is more a refinement than a restructure, the new one is up to the challenge anyway. It feels far less bulky, much more comfortable in the hand and I personally felt that the analogue sticks were better sized and easier to use. The controller’s appearance takes a little bit of getting used to, as at some angles it looked less pleasing to me than others, but it’s got a clean look that many will like and the most important thing, which is how it feels to use it of course, is all up there at the top.
I really liked the face buttons, analogues and triggers, as well as the glowing white Xbox logo, which gives a nice finish. I also very much prefer the new D-pad, which is more traditional and more accurate to use. I’m sure you’ll definitely want to be seeing this baby in other colours.
The impulse triggers are certainly the highlight of the device. While the shape of them will take a bit of getting used to for those who love the sharp triggers on the 360, as these have a bit more width on their corners, they feel great to press and the feedback is awesome, especially when playing a game like Forza 5. The Xbox One controller is certainly a sleeker and more refined version of the Xbox 360 controller. While it will of course take lengthy play sessions to properly evaluate, I feel confident in saying that those who worship the 360 controller will feel that there has been an improvement on that even, and will be extremely happy with what the Xbox One offers.
To end off this slightly curious write-up, both controllers are really nice improvements over their predecessors, with the PS4 one having more work to do to improve than the Xbox One had. That said, Microsoft definitely deserve praise for improving on what many call a perfect controller already. Personally though I’m more comfortable and happy with a PlayStation controller, which is also a bit obvious since I’ve been a PS3 gamer this generation, so to see the improvements to the PS4’s is as much a relief as it is impressive. Otherwise, I think it’s safe and easy to say that whether you’re a PlayStation or Xbox gamer, the controllers are both fantastic and you’ll be happy to get your hands on them once the systems launch.