Editorials

Review: DualShock 4 Back Button Attachment

When Sony revealed the Back Button Attachment late last year, the reveal was met with some skepticism and why wouldn’t it? Xbox introduced the Elite series of controllers that are unanimously beloved thanks to their quality, modularity, and design. To this day, Sony has yet to respond to the beloved controller, but the Back Button is a step in the right direction.

The main difference here though is that the Back Button isn’t a new controller, instead, it’s a $40 peripheral you attach to your existing DualShock 4. Including the added functionality of two rear paddles opens up a wealth of programmable button combinations and the ease of use is phenomenal. It’s also something that you’ll want to add to your controller after using it for just over a week on an assortment of games, and something I can’t believe took this long to come out.

So, you’ll need to ask yourself – is the Back Button attachment something you need? For the price, yes, it is. There are some questions I have about the peripheral, like why release it so close to the launch of the PlayStation 5 or why did you miss out on the holiday season. Sony has some questions

Design

The Back Button attachment is beautiful first off, and the unit attached to the DualShock 4 via headphone jack at the bottom of the controller. The all-black body is sleek and the LED on the back displays the buttons assigned to each of the two buttons. My biggest gripe over the last week was the removal and insertion of the device, as a bit of force is necessary to get it on, leaving me fearful I’d break the thing before even using it.

I’m sad to say that I struggle with getting the right angle when using the attachment. After a week, I still feel like I’m not lining up the headphone jack and EXT port properly which leaves me cautious about whether or not I’ll end up breaking the device. This is the only issue I can say I have with the Back Button attachment. Getting the right angle is the only way this will connect to your DualShock 4, otherwise, you’ll be trying over and over to get it right.

Moving on to programming the two paddles includes, it’s simplistic. On the circular screen on the back, you click the button one which enables the screen. After holding the button down, you enter the configuration options by clicking through each button and assigning the one you want to the paddle.

Also, the Back Button is made of a sturdy plastic that reminds me of what the DualShock 4 is made of, and the clicks of each paddle are satisfying to hear. I thoroughly enjoyed how light the attachment was when docked to the DualShock 4, and it feels like a natural extension of what the DualShock is capable of. It’s also a massive shame it took Sony until the end of the lifecycle of the PlayStation 4 to release the device. As for battery drain, it is noticeable but it’s also minimal, however, if you have an older controller you’ll see the drain more than on a newer controller.

Handling

Sony also included the option to save up to three profiles for button combinations. If you play many titles and want a profile for Call of Duty, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, or Need for Speed Heat, for example, you can designate the one you by either selecting P1, P2, or P3. It’s also really easy to swap which profile you want by double-tapping the button on the back of the attachment.

Depending on the title you choose to use the Back Button with, it’s either your best friend or your worst enemy. In Modern Warfare, I mapped the X and O buttons to the paddles which allowed me to slide across the battlefield more intuitively and crouching on a dime when the heat was on. An extra jump button allows me to get up and over enemies in a pinch, and after a week it’s hard to go back to not using the Back Button attachment in an online shooter.

In Dragon Ball z; Kakarot, the evade and block buttons were the buttons I mapped to the paddles. This allowed me to use the Ki Burst, evade, and dodge mechanics better than I’d been able to without the attachment.

Verdict

I’m sold on the Back Button attachment and while it’s out at the tail end of a console generation, it’s a welcome addition to the PlayStation family. Granted, don’t expect this device to compete with the Xbox Elite Series controller as it has little in common with it. Instead, consider it an extension of the DualShock and another way to make your gaming sessions a little bit better. I’m all for the flexibility the Back Button attachment offers, and for the price, this is a worthy and exciting device to own.

[A review unit was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]

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Bobby has been gaming since he was old enough to walk. Since then, the interest has only grown stronger, and here we are today. Follow Bobby on Twitter, and just go with it. @bpashalidis

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