Product: Sony Dualshock 4 Wireless Controller for the Playstation 3 (aka Dualshock 3, Dualshock 3 Sixaxis)
Rating: Two thumbs up; 90/100; A-; **** out of 5
Pros: Looks, feels and moves just like the previous PS3 wireless controller.
Cons: No USB cable. Slightly heavier than previous controller. Slight smell of burning plastic either shows signs of newness or faulty design.
Overall: Works well, feels great and definitely worth it for those who need that little extra sensory feedback when they play.
Finally admitting something as small and seemingly silly as game controller wobbling is important to gamers, Sony has released the Dualshock 3 wireless controller for the PS3.
The controller looks, feels and operates exactly the same as the PS3 Sixaxis controller, which is also pretty damn close to the Dualshock 2 PS2 controller (without the cable, of course).
Look Ma, No Wires (Again)
There are only two physical differences. First, the word “DUALSHOCK3″ is printed in blue on the back edge of the controller to the left of the USB port, above the word “SIXAXIS.” On the previous model, the only the word “SIXAXIS” appears on that side on the upper left edge.
The other physical difference is an increase in the controller’s weight from 4.8 oz (135 g) to 6.8 oz (190 g), which makes it heavier than the WiiMote (5.0 oz, 140 g) with batteries. For comparison’s sake, the GameCube Wireless Wavebird controller weighs 8.6 oz (240 g) and the Xbox 360 remains the heaviest at 9.0 oz (255), all with batteries.
The weight change is noticeable, especially if you have become used to using the Sixaxis. Pick up both and you can instantly tell which controller is heavier/lighter. Playing for any length of time, however, and the weight increase is not an issue.
Of course, the main difference is the internal rumble function.
Ready, Set, Wiggle!
To use rumble, you must first connect the controller to the PS3 (plug it in with a USB cable until it is charged and recognized). Also, assuming you have the most recent update, you must turn the Rumble to “ON” in the PS3 controller menu.
So far, the rumble feature only works with certain games, and some require a small software update. I tried the controller with Heavenly Sword and the 15 MB update took less than 5 minutes (even with so many gamers downloading the 1.5 GB Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, which also works with the new wireless controller).
Sony has made a list of Dualshock 3 compatible games available on its web site.
I do have two concerns, though they don’t really have much to do with the actual functionality of the controller. The first is that Sony doesn’t include a USB cable, expecting you to rely on the super short one you got with your PS3. Need to charge more than one controller? Buy another cable.
Also, after using the Dualshock 3 for a few hours, I did notice the smell of hot plastic often indicative of either a computer part melting or warehouse/packaging dust burning off. On closer investigation, I noticed the smell was most intense from the USB port (which is the only real opening to the controllers internal parts). No areas of the controller felt warm, so I am expecting (and hoping, for safety’s sake) for the later of the two possibilities.
The rumble works pretty well, without the noise or uneven wobbling of some off-company controller. Of course, Sony’s been making its controllers wiggle for a while, so it’s pretty good at it now. It’s quiet and works well with different intensities – from subtle movement to more forceful vibration – adequately adding the key feature as promised without interfering with any of the controller’s other features.