I had the opportunity to review Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag on the PS3 pre-launch. If you haven't yet checked out my review, you can do so here. Spoiler, the game's awesome.
I managed to get a hold of a PS4 Dualshock 4 controller, which I've decided to put to the test, since it apparently works on the PS3, assuming you have it plugged in via a Micro USB cable.
The Dualshock 3 is not my favorite controller. In fact, I'll go on record saying it's one of the worst controllers I've played with in current gen. Apparently I'm not alone in thinking this, but the comments on that article, and even on NeoGAF showed me that there are indeed gamers who adore the controller's layout. Personally, my hands aren't just meant for its build. It's small, and gets my hands cramped. I obviously don't have to mention the horrendous triggers, and the shape of the analog sticks on top always had me sliding my fingers off to the front if I had to hold it down in that direction for a longer time. It's strange because I remember loving the PS1 and PS2 iterations of the Dualshock. Maybe it's because that's all there was, next to the strange Nintendo 64 and Gamecube controller, and the oversized and bulky Xbox controller.
But we're at the dawn of next-generation consoles, and Sony finally managed to let go of the old design, and come up with something far more comfortable and sturdy
Now keep in mind, some of the functionalities of the Dualshock 4 obviously didn't work as intended, meaning I couldn't click in the touchpad and then use it to scroll around the map. Also, the freerun mechanic is mapped to the R1 button on the PS3, and will switch to R2 on the PS4 version. However, aside from those two slight differences, I had the chance to feel what it's going to be like playing Assassin's Creed with the Dualshock 4.
Immediately I can tell you that the analog sticks are far more responsive, and that's largely due to them feeling snappier and tighter than the DS3. The previous analog sticks were extremely loose, which at least for me, felt like I wasn't fully in control of the direction that I want to go in. I know it seems weird, but feeling the night and day difference between the DS3 and DS4 confirmed that.
Since the PS3 version doesn't utilize R2 for freerunning, I didn't get to use those sweet triggers as much as I would have wanted, but the slight resistance to each squeeze of the trigger, coupled with the new trigger form, feel absolutely perfect. I can look to the future of FPS games on the system with confidence after finally getting to feel them in action.
I have to touch on the new Option and Share buttons, which on the PS3 replace the Start and Select, though on the PS4, Select will be replaced by the Touchpad in select games. When the controller was first revealed, I was worried that these would get pressed by accident since they're so close to the d-pad and face buttons. Sony cleverly made the buttons flushed inside the controller. That means that no matter how hard I actually tried to press them by accident, it wouldn't happen. Their placement is actually so new that even when I wanted to press Option (Start) my fingers gravitated toward the Touchpad.
The TL;DR of the Option and Share buttons is that you won't have to worry about pressing those by accident, in fact, you'll have to get used to their placement.
Like I mentioned, the Touchpad didn't work, but that didn't stop me from swiping it with my thumbs. The middle placement on the controller is actually just in reach of both of your thumbs, which means you don't ever have to really let go of the controller on either side to start swiping, which is awesome.
I've played about half of the game with the DS3 and the rest with the DS4. And even though it wasn't the 'actual' PS4 experience, I can definitely say that the controller is leagues above its predecessor.
Just two more weeks!