Gamepad + PS Camera
The PlayStation 4 is one hot combination of industrial design and gaming hardware, but what about those accessories? How are they for interacting with the system?
Out of the box youve got one DualShock 4 controller and its charging cable. Sold separately, a spare will cost you £49.00, with no extra charging cable included.
Then theres the PlayStation Camera. Its available online for £45, and while it lacks the robust feature set of its new Kinect rival, the fact that its sold separately is likely why the PS4 was originally able to undercut , So thank it for that, at the very least.
DualShock 4 controller
The PlayStation and its DualShock 4 pad have been peas in the proverbial pod since the brands inception. Ever since the introduction of the twin analog stick design in 1997, Sony has changed little about its signature gamepad.
The DualShock 4, the current controller model that ships with the PlayStation 4, is the most refined iteration yet, but Sony has not thrown the baby out with the bathwater. In fact, DualShock fans will find it immediately familiar, and those that disliked Sonys design will find that some, but not all, of their gripes have been addressed.
The DualShock 4 might look an awful lot like a DualShock 3, but its far from the same old controller from the past seven years.
Its built on a series of tweaks, rather than an overhaul, of the last Sony controller. Even though the new DualShock is even PS3 compatible, a lot has changed from one generation to the next, and mostly for better.
Most alterations made to the DualShock seem based on user feedback, targeting a specific annoyance gamers had with last gens model. For example, the twin analog sticks are now spaced a little bit further apart, so its no longer possible to smack your thumbs together when pulling both sticks towards each other.
The tops of the sticks are now dimpled. They also have an extra grippy rubber texture, making them very easy to manipulate. Shooter fans especially should appreciate these tweaks.
Over long gaming sessions we still found its symmetrical stick layout to be more fatiguing than Xboxs asymmetrical design. The DualShock 4 is the best DualShock yet, but die hard fans of Microsofts gamepad, or long time DualShock haters, wont be won over. We would certainly say that the new Xbox One pad is a lot nicer to use, but this is all about personal preference.
The L2 and R2 shoulder buttons, which commonly function as triggers, have been extended. Theyre a lot easier to catch and grip, and its more comfortable to rest a finger on one, ready for that quick reaction shot.
Sony has also stepped away from the classic DualShock design by shifting from Start and Select buttons to Share and Options. Not only are they labeled in a way that better fits their functions, theyre no longer rubber. Theyre very flush, making them hard to hit by accident, and they feel closer to a mouse click then the spongy button we were used to.
Speaking of a mouse, the DualShock 4 also sports a touchpad. Its metal construction feels great to the touch. Fingers glide smoothly and it can be clicked, just like on a laptop. In fact, it feels a lot like what youd find on a MacBook; the overall construction is excellent.
While its underused by the current crop of games, the touchpad is a smart addition. Its fabulously intuitive, and will certainly be a boon for both menu navigation and casual gaming.
Borrowing a feature from the Wii Remote, the DualShock 4 has a little speaker. It leaves us wondering if Sony will best Nintendo here by figuring out something useful to do with it. Right now the best weve encountered is the way Resogun pipes important bits of narration through it, leaving us free to mute the game and blast our own music.
Theres a 3.5mm headphone jack too, so you can plug any old headphones or headset right into the controller. Its extremely convenient, and a great money saver since you can use earbuds or whatever else you already own. The sound outputs in stereo, so its a bit of a waste to use a fancy 5.1 cans this way, but the sound options in settings let you choose between piping chat or game audio into your ears.
Sony has also streamlined the whole whos player one? question. Each controller has a light bar that glows one of four colors: blue, red, green or purple. Players are now identified by color, rather than a number.
Its now much easier to know whos who at a glance, but these glowing controllers can get obnoxious when youre trying watch a movie in a darkened room. Theres really no reason why they should be lit up when youre using Netflix, or when theres only one controller turned on, for that matter. The only solution is to turn the controller off, which means having to wake it when you want to pause your movie.
The DualShock 4 also has less battery life than the previous model. A day of moderate gaming, or leaving the controller on when you watch a film, puts a serious drain on its charge. Our controller frequently ran dry before the end of the day, to the point where we seriously suggest owning at least two, especially if your TV is too far from the couch to play while plugged in.
Basically, you need to remember to keep a controller plugged into the PS4 whenever its not in use. Thankfully the system can charge a DualShock when its off or on standby, something the PS3 shockingly could not do, so at least Sony has addressed that major last-gen oversight.