For the first time in a long time, the Sony brand of DualShock controllers has never had so much quality competition from its competitors. Both the current gen controller offerings by Microsoft and Nintendo demonstrate that there are vastly different ways to approach controller design and manufacturer, and yet these quite varied approaches can be hugely successful. So much so, that the DualShock 3 certainly has its work cut out for it.
In a follow up to his article on the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller, Fuchal takes a look at 5 reasons the DualShock 3 is still a force to be reckoned with in gaming controllers.
1. The analogue sticks
Whilst the first Playstation pipped Nintendo before the N64 release, thus allowing Sony to grow and poach much of the mature gaming community in the mid to late 1990s, the original DualShock controller lacked the analogue stick which the N64 put to great use in games such as Mario64, Goldeney64 and Zelda Ocarina of Time. With the PS2 and the release of the DualShock 2 however, Sony nailed the use of dual analogue sticks and set a standard which the Gamecube, Xbox and Xbox 360 were forced to replicate.
And ever since, the SIXAXIS and DualShock 3 controllers have had the most robust and fine tuned analogue sticks on the market. Whether it be racing games such as Grid and Burnout Paradise or first person shooters such as Call of Duty 4 and Battlefield: BC – all of which are cross platform releases – the Sony sticks seem to slightly edge out the 360 sticks in speed, durability and accuracy. And anyone who has played the brilliant EA: skate on both the PS3 and 360 will testify how much easier it is to pull off the harder 'flick-it' moves using the DualShock 3 – Rob & Big's nefarious 360 flip to frontside crooked challenge is a cakewalk on the Sony system!
2. The D-pad
These days the D-Pad on controllers hardly gets a look in for major use in games. True, it is still mapped for secondary needs such as brining up maps or inventory items, but with the implementation of motion sensing and the more important analogue stick/s, few games will utilise the D-pad as the primary control method. Unless of course you are into fighting games.
This is where the DualShock has always been in a league of its own. The intense flurry of movement inputs required to pull off arcade fighting moves simply can’t be replicated on analogue sticks, and this is where the DualShock 3 totally eclipses the 360 wireless controller. Short of forking out for the purpose designed Hori Fighting Stick, the DualShock D-Pad fulfills the fighting game requirements so well you can just tell the design team at Sony hardware are avid Tekken and Virtua Fighter players.
In fact, the D-Pad is so well constructed that it can double as a digital button for fighting games and an analogue button for weapon scope zooming. Next time you are in a Metal Gear Solid 4 cutscene, test out how easy it is to smoothly zoom in and out with the camera or in-game sniper rifle
3. Internal recharge batteries
One of the many complaints about the Playstation 3 at launch, and still to this day, is the price of the console out of the box. It is certainly the single most expensive console to purchase alone. But along with a whole bunch of next gen needs which come as standard are the rechargeable internal batteries of the Playstation 3’s controllers.
Rather than force us to go out and buy more AA Ni-MH batteries, which the WiiMote and 360 Wireless require, Sony not only includes free internal recharge batteries and a recharge cable for connection to a USB port, but they also include instructions with the system manual on how to open and replace the SIXAXIS/DualShock 3’s internal batteries when they do finally die.
What’s more, because you can play and charge at the same time, you don’t need to go out and purchase a separate proprietary plug and charge cable at a marked up price, which the 360 Wireless happens to require. Lose your Sony charge cable? No problems, just pop down to your closest IT or home electrical store and pick up a universal USB cable for $5.
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