The DualShock 4 Back Button Attachment adds two extra buttons to the backside of the PlayStation 4-controller. While this might seem like a very specific addition to a controller you’ve been accustomed to for years now, it might just be what you were missing all this time, while not even realizing it.
Unfortunately, this product is currently out of stock. Unless you really want to pay up.
Xbox-gamers can attest to it: extra buttons on the backside of a controller can be very handy indeed. The highly praised Xbox Elite-controllers have them since their first version released in 2015 and are amongst the most prominent examples of this feature, but other brands have also been implementing them. Scuff Gaming has made it it’s trademark feature, Thrustmaster has experienced with back buttons and The Elite-controller of Mojo has extra buttons to place the middle finger on.
Add-ons for existing controllers that include this feature are also a thing, like the Strike Pack FPS Dominator from Collectiveminds. Sony’s foray into this market by launching their own version of this add-on for the DualShock 4-controller is an interesting one. If anything, the current market leader of the console space should know exactly what gamers want, so the Back Button Attachment should feel like a necessary addition to the streamlined controller.
Attaching the Back Button Attachment
It is fairly easy to click the DualShock 4 Back Button Attachment on the controller, although impatient gamers might need a few tries. You might try to plug it into the micro-USB port at the top, but you’ll soon realize it should be plugged in the stereo headset jack-opening at the bottom of the controller, where it fits neatly. This places the front of the add-on between the two analog sticks. The add-on has a stereo headset jack-opening as well, so you can continue plugging your headset in the controller.
Once attached, when holding the DualShock 4-controller like you normally would, you’ll notice two extra buttons on the backside of the controller where your middle or ring fingers (depending on the size of your hands) will naturally rest on. The changed shape of the controller takes some getting used to – the add-on itself is about three by two inches – but you’ll be using it like you always did in no time.
Programming the Back Button Attachment
You can program the two new buttons with almost every existing button functionality on the DualShock 4 – with a few exceptions that we’ll touch upon later. This programming is easily done with a flashy looking display on the add-on itself. Under that display is a single button you can press once to start the programming. By pressing the two extra buttons you cycle through their functions, which you can see on the display.
Once you’re happy with the set-up, you click the display again and you’re all set. It is also possible to save three different set-ups, for instance for games you’re planning to play a lot. It’s easy enough to program the Back Button Attachment, but depending on your goals, its uses can leave something to be desired.
Questionable in its use
First of all, the Back Button Attachment-buttons lack the variable resistance the R2- and L2-triggers offer. With those triggers, you are able to decide for yourself how far you press them, which comes in handy when you’re accelerating in racing games or when you’re trying to make a certain amount of shots while firing a gun. The back buttons just feature a single click, so we’d advise against programming them as an accelerating or shooting button in racing games and shooters.
However, the buttons are very serviceable replacements for the L3- and R3-buttons – the extra click that is normally situated on the analog sticks. The usual placement can feel awkward in the heat of the battle – for example, to run or do melee attacks in a Call of Duty-game – and mapping them on the back buttons feels much more natural.
We also tried to use the back buttons in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. We were planning to map the Option- and Touchpad-buttons on the new buttons. This way, we would’ve had faster access to the in-game map and the questlist. Mapping the Option-button on the back button wasn’t a problem – and it was great to not have to move the thumb to the Option-button to open the questlist – but we found out we weren’t able to program the Touchpad-button on the back buttons. It’s a logical choice by the manufacturer: the Touchpad is meant to be more than just a button (for example, in some games you can swipe the Touchpad for extra functions), but it’s still a shame we weren’t able to have easier access to the map this way. It’s a restriction to an accessory that’s already questionably in its use.
A ticket to the future
The Back Button Attachment might be the solution to a problem, but one has to wonder how many gamers actually are struggling with the current DualShock 4. There might be professional gamers that appreciate the extra flexibility the programmable buttons offer, but there’s a big chance they’re already invested in a third-party controller with the needed functionalities.
If you really want to keep playing with the DualShock 4, these extra buttons can be a welcome addition. They do require you to shelve out an extra 30 bucks, on top of the 60 you have to pay for a DualShock 4. For that total sum of 90 dollars, you can also buy the Nacon Revolution Pro Controller 2, which comes with double the amount of back buttons.
In the end, the Back Button Attachment feels like a temporary solution for something the PlayStation 5-controller probably won’t lack anymore. By paying 30 euros or dollars for the Back Button Attachment, you’re able to get used to the inevitable future where this might be the standard. Not a bad idea at all, but perhaps a bit premature.