What's the best gaming controller?
I owned the Duke, and I didn't mind it, but I have decent sized hands and it still felt like a bowl with buttons so when they brought out the newer controller I felt it was a good move. Ever since then Xbox controllers have been the most natural, comfortable controller out there, without question. I had a 360 controller for over a decade and a half across the Xbox 360 and PC, and it just worked.
I love the concave thumbsticks, I'm cool with the offset sticks, the buttons have always felt solid and the triggers get smoother with every release. It's a solid controller in every way, the D-pad on the new Series S controller is clicky but robust, the whole thing is comfortable and high quality. I love the Xbox controllers. They are now, however, missing some significant features.
What can I say. They are clunky, laggy, and overpriced, but you have to love them. It's the compromises that makes the Switch so charming, and you really can't compain about the joycons given what they contribute to the Switch's portability. It's a shame that the motion sensors are so underused.
It just can't compete with the Xbox and Playstation and doesn't even want to try. It's much better than the the joycon but it's still just a cheap Xbox imitation.
I was always a fan of the Playstation controllers and enjoyed their skinny form. The PS5 controller however is a little bulky and it surprised me that they would do that after 4 generations of the skinny form factor. It's not the worst thing in the world but I did find myself distracted by its thickness from time to time.
other major complaint with the Playstation controllers, and it's a big
one, is the convex thumbsticks. I don't know if it's the material or
just because I sweat 😅 but I found myself slipping off them often,
frequently causing me issues in game. No such issues with the concave Xbox thumbsticks.
A minor but significant
complaint is the positioning of the D pad. I realise this is a long
standing Playstation custom, but the reality is, in this day and age,
the D pad feels out of place where it is, because it's something that's
no longer significant in games. Maybe it's just me and my 15 years
playing with an Xbox controller, but hey, Nintendo (the makers of the
centre stick N64 controller) decided to follow Xbox for a reason.
However, the innovation in the Dualsense is unmatched. Playing Astro's Playroom was one of the most significant moments in my gaming life - because of this controller. And it's not just the tactile triggers, which are absolute game changers in the world of gaming controllers, but also the sound, light and vibration which all genuinely add to the immersion of the game, setting this controller far ahead of all the rest. No other controller out there uses the sound and light to such immersive effect.
It also has a touchpad, and motion sense. It's the one controller with absolutely everything.
I really think that more time needs to be spent talking about those triggers. The way that they tense up, and then release, and how that adds to the immersion, is an absolute joy. Maybe because its paired with some vibration and joypad sound, I'm not sure, but they make the game seem more real, more physical.
If you haven't tried the Dualsense triggers, you are missing out on a whole other dimension of gaming. I'm sure the other controllers will copy this feature soon. Until then, the PS5 will have a huge advantage.