For a long while, many North American Playstation 3 owners have gone without a simple novelty that some gamers take for granted or rarely seem to notice. This feature, introduced to the console gaming world by way of an external peripheral for the Nintendo 64 is vibration. Having lost a lawsuit with Immersion, the patent owners on the rumble technology used in past editions of DualShock controllers, Sony was forced to package the Sixaxis controller, sans rumble, with the Playstation 3.
Well, Sony has since kissed and made up with Immersion and has since released the DualShock 3 with both rumble functionality and motion sensors intact (contrary to earlier claims) to North American audiences. Fairly recently, I picked up my DualShock 3 from my local game retailer and gave it a whirl.
This, however, wasn’t my first encounter with the DualShock 3. Having used my friend’s controller, which was imported from Japan around the time the DualShock 3 was released there, I had a general idea of what to expect. Upon taking the controller out of the box and holding it for the first time, I recalled my initial joy in feeling the added weight, undoubtedly because of the new rumble motors prior to even using it. By comparison, the Sixaxis feels rather cheap due to its incredibly light frame. Aesthetically, it feels better clenched in my hands, which makes for a more comfortable gaming experience.
The main reason I purchased the new controller, like many others, was because of the newfound vibration functions and the DualShock 3 delivers in that respect. It sort of feels like the plastic surrounding the controller’s innards is a bit thinner than that of the DualShock 2 (without sacrificing quality), which actually makes for a better, more vibrant feeling rumble. The rumble feature feels great in the many Playstation 3 titles I’ve tested. So far, I’ve taken Resistance: Fall of Man, the Devil May Cry 4 Demo and the Japanese Gran Turismo 5: Prologue demo through the paces and so far, each of these titles uses the rumble functions to great effect. Of the aforementioned titles, the Gran Turismo 5: Prologue demo was the most impressive.
Overall, the DualShock 3 was impressive. There isn’t much to say about it aside from the new vibration functionality because, in terms of design, it’s practically identical to the Sixaxis. Is it worth the five dollar premium over the cost over the price of the Sixaxis? Yes. I must say I’m disappointed Sony couldn’t work out their differences with Immersion sooner and package this controller with the Playstation 3 in the first place and being was forced to pay extra for a feature I’ve already had with both the Xbox 360 and Wii does sting a bit. Despite that, I feel the DualShock 3 is a worthwhile investment for upcoming titles such as Metal Gear Solid 4, which should make great use of the controller’s functions, considering the franchise’s history.
If you’re in the market for a new controller or just can’t do without a little rumble in your games, the DualShock 3 ultimately makes for a worthy buy.