So a couple of days ago we covered the hard drive issues that some of us may experience sooner or later regarding the new set of consoles on the way later this month.

Now its time to talk about the one thing you’ll probably be using just as much as the consoles themselves. The controller.

Its changed enormously over the years from being a cheap plastic shell with four or five buttons to an almost genuine work of art. Both sides have fans who adore the controllers they’ve been using over the past couple years. Some have been hard pressed by the changes made to the next generation of controllers, more specifically the PlayStation’s Dualshock controller. The controller that helped changed us from a 2D age to a 3D age in the console world, while it also brought in the wide use of the now standard analog sticks. Slowly, each version has improved, but the latest change has been the biggest change in Sony’s history, bigger so than the anolog redesign for the PS One.

Dualshock 4

Sony have revamped the shape, design and feel of the latest controller to better match the competition. Lets face it, many of us, whether we enjoy Xbox or PlayStation games, prefer the larger, more bulky Xbox pad against the rather slippy, small and unchanged Dualshock pad. Ever since I got my hands on the original Xbox controller, my heart fell for its design, the fact that it filled my hands and I could hold onto it without fear of snapping its delicate shell. It today is still my preferred controller, even over the newer 360 pad.

Having got my hands on the latest Dualshock 4 recently, I can honestly say, fans have nothing to worry about. Although it’s not as big as I would like it, (I have big and rather clumsy hands,) it is larger and in my view better designed than previous models. The sides have grip that help keep you hands on the controller, rather than the old slippy plastic handles. The weight feels good in the hands and the triggers have finally been corrected so they don’t feel like they’re about to be snapped off.

The best and probably biggest change is the touch pad. Though I was sceptical on how well it might work, after using it during a gun battle on Killzone Shadow Fall, I have to admit how easy it was to use. You simply brushed your finger across the centre of the pad and you’d swap weapon. It only took the lightest of touches to use and felt smooth like a polished smartphone screen does when brand new. Though its long-term use is still largely unknown, and its durability under gamers hands is yet untested, the touch pad might have some future uses that differentiate the console from the Xbox One.

The last little pocket of goodness on the Dualshock 4′s behalf is the continued addition of a battery inside the controller. I admit I was decidedly shocked when I found out the new Xbox One pad would be shipping with two double AA batteries. I was pretty flabbergasted to find this out, considering how bad, (from personal experience,) the 360 battery packs, bought separately, performed for me. I thought it was a sure thing for both consoles to have controllers with built-in batteries, specially as cabled pads seem to be going heavily out of fashion, guess I was wrong.

Okay, that was the Dualshock 4, now lets explore the Xbox One’s new pad.

Xbox One Controller

Although Microsoft haven’t made as drastic a change as Sony have, there are still considerable improvements nestled within the new controller. Speaking from what I’ve heard rather than experience, I have yet to get my hands on one yet.

The shape pretty much stayed the same with the moving of buttons being the first big visual difference. They’ve also improved the much dreaded D-Pad that most people had issues with, what they were is unknown to me, it worked when I needed it too.

They moved the Xbox Home button to an additional layer above the main controller with what looks like a touch button instead of an actual clicky button. Whether we’ll be accidentally brushing it against anything while we play, is yet to be known but it should be sufficiently out-of-the-way enough to avoid such problems for most people.

The two usual buttons in the centre are also different with one believed to be a menu button that swaps between any application and the home menu screen. The other is yet unknown though will probably be a start/pause button.

As I mentioned above, the big let down is the fact the controller still needs batteries unless you wish to buy a battery pack from the get go. A bit cheeky of MS but I suppose we’re used to that by now.

The biggest and I hope the most interesting change in the controller is actually inside.

Everybody knows what a rumble or vibration is when referring to a controller, it’s often used to give the user feedback from a game. Whether that be if you’re getting shot or crashing into another car. That feedback helps guide your actions during gameplay and has always added another layer to any game. With the latest Xbox One pad, the rumble feature has been taken a step further. Instead of the usual two rumble packs inside the controller, usually one in each controller handle, MS have decided to add a couple more around the controller.

From what I’ve heard, this is meant to allow, specially with racing games, the ability to give more accurate feedback during gameplay. A prime example is in Forza 5, when taking a sharp turn the controller vibrates heavily only on the side that your turning, giving you the impression of direct feedback from the car. This should definitely add a new level of realism to certain games, how much it gets used in future games is up to the developers.

I think that pretty much sums up the major changes in controllers. We’ll be back soon with some more details on the next generation, just before they arrive in people’s hands.

 

About The Author

Alexander Bradley

Alex was born a geek to a geek family, so he has a passion for anything sci-fi related. He runs AGR in his spare time. Gaming, reading and writing sci-fi stories means he has very little spare time, though he makes it a point to get back to every comment, if possible.

2 Responses

  1. John

    You shouldn’t be writing this unless you have used BOTH controllers personally! Writing a review on something you have never touched or used just smacks of pathetic gaming journalism that we see everyday! You should be ashamed! What you SHOULD have done, is just give a description on the two updated controllers rather than some stupid review on something you have used!

    Reply
    • Alexander Bradley
      Alexander Bradley

      I’m sorry you feel that way but could you do me a favour and tell me where in the description or title I say this article is a review?

      If you read what I actually said than you may find out that I’ve written a mainly informative article showing the differences and improvements the new controllers have.

      Reply

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