Product Type: Sony game controllers
Newest Review: ... runs on bluetooth I think. It works in any situation - sometimes when it's cold in winter I can keep my hands under the duvet in bed and it... more
It's official or nothing for me right now
Sony Dualshock 3
Member Name: carl_lazarevic
Sony Dualshock 3
Advantages: Shape, button layout, features
Disadvantages: Too small for some, expensive
As the PS3 runs down to its twilight years I find myself selling a number of different controllers for it. None of the third party controllers that I've sold have ever lived up to the original however. In fact I've had a number of customers return their cheaper controllers and exchange them for a Duel Shock 3 despite the £43 price point.
The Duel Shock 3 was an update to the original Six Axis controller. Like the original the Duel Shock 3 comes with an option for Six Axis controls. This means that the controller has a limited motion control ability. This has been utilised very well in games like Heavy Rain where you could shake the controller in order to mimic the actions you have taken on screen. For the most part however this is a minor gimmick that few developers even bother to remember. Although if you are going to invest in a PlayStation Move kit then this controller can save you money, as you can use this in place of the second Move controller itself.
What makes this controller special however is the very feature it is named after. The Duel Shock 3 sees a return to the Duel Force rumble feature that was first introduced on the original Playstation. It can make games a lot more immersive when the vibrational pad is used correctly; such as in driving games where the pad simulates the vibration of the engine. It can also be used quite comically as seen in one cut scene for Metal Gear Solid 4.
Still the good thing about the Duel Shock 3 is that it genuinely is a solid pad outside of these 2 gimmicks. The pad is a decent enough size for most people; although can be slightly too small for those with larger hands. It carries over the same functional M shape as the older model PlayStation pads and so is immediately comfortable for seasoned gamers. The rarely used directional buttons are on the Left side of the pad, and the four action buttons are on the Right. Each of these buttons are analogue buttons; which means that each has a degree of pressure sensitivity. This helps when playing fighting games, as pressing the buttons harder can inflict more damage.
In the centre of these two sets of buttons are the expected start and select buttons. Then there are two analogue joysticks; again pressure sensitive, that you will be using for most of your gaming time. If I'm honest I find these sticks a little too loose, and prefer the stiffer sticks of the Xbox360 pads. Other people disagree with me regularly, but I just find them too sensitive to offer a true feeling of control.
At the back of the pad are two shoulder buttons and two trigger keys. For me this is where the pad begins the falter. These trigger buttons are used more often than any other button, but are located so high up that my fingers often miss them during a frantic game. You can purchase some third party 'trigger guards' for a small price that extends the range down by an inch or so. This helps immensely as long as you can accept the added expense.
The only other feature of note is that the controller is completely wireless. It connects to the PS3 using a Blue Tooth connection with a fairly solid range. No additional dongles are required as the controller connects directly to your PS3. It also comes with an internal battery that can be charged up using a standard micro USB cable. Others have complained to me that this internal battery means that when the battery dies the controller dies. I haven't noticed as I've had my PS3 for around 5 years and have never had to replace the controller.
These days the Duel Shock 3 is available in a variety of colors. Personally I will always favor the original Black that gives the controller a very sleek look that sits well next to your PS3 on the table. Personally I find that effect somewhat diminished when you shade the controller in either Bright Red or Blue.
The one sting to this controller is its price tag as £42.99 is a lot to ask for a game controller. However with the sofisticated electronics found in a modern game controllers this is becoming the general rule. Besides which when you factor in the cost of either batteries or external chargers, then the Duel Shock 3 actually works out as cheaper than the Xbox360 Wireless Controller.
Whether that price is worth it will depend on how frequently you like to play. You can get third party controllers for a fraction of the price but they are not designed with the level of functionality found here, and are very uncomfortable to hold. Other than the trigger buttons the Duel Shock 3 is a very comfortable controller to hold, and so will be worth the money for those who spend a few hours a day gaming.
Summary: A functional pad with a few decent features and a hefty price tag.