Up until recently, competitive gaming on the PlayStation 4 meant that you had to shell out a couple hundred dollars for a “professional” controller. Last year, I reviewed the Astro C40 TR controller and was impressed by its customization and its re-mappable rear buttons. It’s essentially the PlayStation equivalent of Xbox’s Elite controller.
However, its high cost has been a deterrent for many. Enter the DualShock 4 back button attachment. While it might not have all the bells and whistles of the more expensive “professional” controllers, it gives the DualShock 4 more versatility for a relatively low price.
Light, compact and versatile design
The DualShock 4 back button attachment comes in a neat little box that isn’t much bigger than a standard deck of playing cards. The back button attachment is secured by cardboard to protect each of the rear buttons and slides out of the packaging easily.
I was amazed at just how small this back button attachment is. It measures approximately 98 x 42 x 42 mm and weighs only 26.2 grams. Connecting the DualShock 4 back button attachment is quite easy. Simply hold the back button attachment with your thumb behind the stereo headset plug.
Next, line up the stereo plug on the back button attachment with the controller’s stereo headset and push it in. I had to give it a firm push and once it made a “click” noise, I was ready to go. What I really like about the back button attachment’s design is that it isn’t intrusive at all. It fits the DualShock 4 perfectly and includes a headset passthrough so you can still hook a headset up to your controller. And, it does not add any noticeable weight to the controller at all.
Fully configurable and programmable buttons
The DualShock 4 back button attachment has a mini screen on it that allows you to program and store button assignments in a total of 3 different profiles. Virtually every button on the DualShock 4 can be programmed to each of the back buttons and saved. To be honest, I initially thought that programming the buttons would be difficult and tedious. Boy was I wrong!
Mapping buttons to each of the back buttons is easy. To enter programming mode, all you have to do is hold down the back button screen for a second. The profile number (P1, P2, P3) in the middle flashes to let you know that it’s ready to be programmed. Then, by pressing either of the back buttons, you can scroll through the 15 different button options.
Once you have your buttons set, pressing the back button screen for a second saves your configuration and exits programming mode. If you want to reset the DualShock 4 back button attachment, you can do so by pressing all three buttons and holding for 5 seconds.
Playing games with the DualShock 4 back button attachment
After unpacking, connecting and configuring the back button attachment I was ready to play some games and test it out. The first game I played was Days Gone. I mapped weapon change to the back left button and crouching to the right back button. No longer did I have to move my fingers up or down on the controller. My middle fingers naturally rest on the back buttons so all I had to do was gently push down. This made changing weapons a whole lot easier during battle. And, hiding in the bushes from enemies a piece of cake.
Next, I wanted to try a first-person shooter to see how the back button attachment would hold up. I fired up Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and mapped melee from R3 to the back right button and jump from X to the back left button. By changing the melee mapping, I was able to pistol whip opponents in close quarters while also being able to move and look around at the same time. Additionally, changing the mapping for jump to the back left button allowed me to be able to run, jump and look around with next to no effort.
There are so many possibilities with thousands of different games that you can use the DualShock 4 back button attachment. Changing between the 3 different profiles is as easy as double tapping the back button attachment’s screen and can be done on the fly.
The DualShock 4 back button attachment allows you to elevate your gameplay without spending hundreds of dollars
After playing with the DualShock 4 back button attachment, I can’t imagine playing without it. It allows you to use fingers that normally are not used when playing games to perform common actions. I found it very useful for first person shooters. It allowed me to keep my thumbs on the controller to run and look around while jumping or attacking opponents in close quarters.
Releasing this attachment so late in the PlayStation 4’s life cycle leads me to believe that maybe these back buttons will be standard on the PlayStation 5’s controller. And, as a result, the DualShock 4 back button attachment will allow DualShock 4 controllers to be fully functionally backwards compatible. Whether that is the case or not remains to be seen.
In the end, the back button attachment is aimed at the mid to average gamer. Ultimately, the “professional” controllers such as the Astro C40 TR offer more flexibility and options. However, the DualShock 4 is a great way to take your game up a notch without having to spend hundreds of dollars.