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This week’s Ask PSLS question comes to us courtesy of forum user Hybrid Extreme. His forum post asks “Are the capabilities of the DualShock 4 being ignored or underutilized for multi-platform games?” With a bevy of features, from the lightbar and speaker, to the touch pad and gyroscope/accelerometer, the PlayStation 4’s controller is capable of many unconventional and unique uses. Read on as the PSLS staff weighs in on what they think of the DualShock 4 and how the broad feature set is being implemented into games.
Alex Co (@excaliburps)
I’m one of the many that loved the DualShock’s original design and the DS4 just kicks it up a notch. It’s more comfortable to grip now for long stretches of game time, triggers are solid, it’s built more solid and doesn’t feel flimsy (the DS3 in comparison feels cheap). While the touchpad, speakers have been used to some degree, it’s far from being used in an effective manner. For some reason, I think the in-controller audio out can be used to great effect for horror games, but we’ve yet to see it come to fruition.
I’m assuming (and hoping) Ready a Dawn uses it in some ingenious way with The Order. If not them, maybe Naughty Dog? I can see Sony’s powerhouse studio paving the way on how it can be used in games to add to it and not just as a gimmick. If it doesn’t work? Well, at least we still have a solid controller, right?
I do think Sony should try to push the features more if they aren’t already, but I hate seeing features that were obviously forced into games because they never work out that great.
Chandler Wood (@FinchStrife)
I’m a huge fan of the DualShock 4, and as potential input (and output) channels for games expand with a controller’s capabilities, so to should games be able to expand their features based on this improved input. We’re a long way from the original control inputs that we had when gaming began.
That being said, I’ve seen some great uses of the DS4’s features, but I would like to see more. Transistor used the speaker to create a deep level of immersion. inFAMOUS: Second Son used the motion capabilities to add a really fun graffiti feature. These aren’t central by any means, but they help to supplement the gameplay without feeling overtly forced. I want to see more of these small details help to evolve games as we know them, and it’s all thanks to the capabilities of gaming’s most incredible controller.
D’yani Wood (@Dyani)
I really love the DualShock 4. I’m always pleasantly surprised when I hear noises from its speaker or see meaningful use of the light bar and touch pad, because it is such a new thing, though I still think developers are not realizing its full potential yet. Did it take this long for the vibration/rumble feature to be tactfully used by most games when the original DualShock first came out? I’m mildly disappointed in the lackluster use of the features thus far.
Dan Oravasaari (@FoolsJoker)
I absolutely love the DualShock 4 and its features, but as with anything, it is up to how it is being used that matters. We have seen some interesting ways that people have used the light bar, the speaker, the gyroscope/accelerometer and the touch pad, such as spray painting in inFAMOUS: Second Son — which is the best example of using the items available in a creative way to enhance the experience. But still I think it is debatable if the DualShock 4’s extras are little more than gimmicks, with the occasional first-party title showing off something cool.
Louis Edwards (@Ftwrthtx)
The DualShock 4 is a great step in the evolution of the PlayStation controller. The biggest problem right now is that most games are for both the PS3 and the PS4 so it seems the developers are in a quandary as to how to incorporate all of the new features without making the PS3 version of the game handcuffed, since its controller is behind on the evolution chart. Games that are exclusive to the PS4 have used some of the new features well. Killzone: Shadow Fall uses the touch pad for ordering your drone around while inFAMOUS: Second Son uses it for yanking power cores out. Both games integrate the feature nicely without feeling forced. The only game that uses all of the features is The PlayRoom and it’s a great way to demonstrate how nifty the DS4 really is. You need to have the PS4 camera to play the game, but it demonstrates everything from Sixaxis control, to augmentation, to using the light bar and the touchpad.
I think DualShock 4 utilization is at a nice level. I reviewed Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition for example, and every time you acquired a new power, the controller’s light bar would flash in a rainbow of colors. It was a cool effect. Another download-only title, Stick it to The Man!, utilized the DS4’s speaker to peer into people’s thoughts. While these are just two examples, I think they show us some typical use cases – the added functionality should serve to augment games, not to act as a gimmick that you are forced into. Most importantly, as a controller, I think the DS4 is the best controller yet devised. My DS3s feel chunky by comparison now.
Zarmena Khan (@Zarmena)
I prefer the DualShock 4 over its predecessor, and mainly because it’s more user-friendly and offers a better grip on controls than the DualShock 3. The features take some time to get used to, but they’re a good addition to the controller. I think it’s too early to say whether the features are being utilized fully or not. It’ll take developers some time to incorporate them into their games. The only title in which they’ve been used properly is Killzone: Shadow Fall.
What do you think of the DualShock 4 and how it is being used in PS4 titles? What could developers do better? Join the DualShock 4 conversation in our forums here, and remember to send us questions for Ask PSLS on Twitter, Facebook, the forums, and email. Be sure to check back next Wednesday to see what question the PSLS staff answers!