I finally had the chance to see, touch and hold the new gamepads of this generation (I had not found one single console that could be tried in any shop yet), so here are my very first impressions about them for you to read and for me to come back to in a probably distant future when I will own them, and see if they might have changed after a longer use.
First things first: the two gamepads are not something totally new, both of them are modified versions of the previous models, adding several improvements and new functionalities over their technological fathers. This can easily be seen by just looking at them: there are many similarities with the previous models as far as the form factor is concerned.
This said, what have my first impressions been? Positive or negative? To be completely honest, the best way to describe this would be not positive. This might be because of all the good talk I have read online about how incredibly amazing these new gamepads are that I don’t know what I was expecting. The truth is that they don’t look revolutionary at all to me.
One word about this though: these are really first impressions, coming from just a few minutes of use. It is very likely that they could change if I had the opportunity to test both gamepads for a while.
The Xbox One Gamepad
In my opinion, the Xbox 360 gamepad was (and still is) one of the best of all times. It felt great in your hands, it had great back triggers (great for racing games) and it felt very sturdy. The new one game me similar feelings, with the advantage of being definitely lighter than the old one. However, it felt slightly less comfortable than the previous one when holding it, because it felt a little bit more “edgy”, especially in the rear triggers, which are now less curved than before.
Overall it did feel good, but nothing much better than the old one, which is in any case difficult enough to improve.
The PS4 Gamepad
I am not a big fan of the Dualshock controller. I have never been and I will probably never be unless Sony gives it a major overhaul. For starters, I deeply hate the left analogue stick positioned next to the right one, I would so much prefer to have the regular d-pad there instead. It just feels more natural and less tiring and annoying. Unfortunately, this is the fourth installment in the series and it doesn’t look like Sony is willing to change things in this respect.
At the same time, I have always found the Dualshock great for 2D platformers (in this case, thanks to the d-pad in its position), and I think that the new Dualshock will be the same. Unfortunately enough, there are not many 2D platformers out there anymore, so this is kind of a weak point.
The one one felt good in my hands (even if I could not hold it because it was hooked). The new touch button gives a nice tactile feeling, the rear triggers have been finally improved and the analogue sticks are now slightly concave and thus give a better grip.
Overall, it’s still a good gamepad, but while the Xbox One’s could hardly be an improvement over the already excellent Xbox 360 gamepad, this new Dualshock could have definitely improved the Dualshock 3 in many aspects, but in fact did not.
So what do you think? What were your first impressions about the new gamepads? And, most importantly, what do you think about them after using them for a few days?