Since the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 era there has been a growing number of controllers aimed at serious competitive gamers. Third party pads are nothing new, though many of these “pro” options came with added features and refinements, mainly catering to those die hard fans of online shooters.
One of the most interesting innovations, which can be specifically linked back to Scuf Gaming, is the use of paddles cushioned on the rear side of the controller. These programmable buttons bring your middle fingers into play – or ring fingers, if you prefer a more unorthodox grip.
Now, thanks to Sony’s release of an official “Back Button Attachment” you can beef up the versatility of your DualShock 4 without splurging £100+ for a high-end upgrade.
While not completely inconspicuous, this attachment snaps itself neatly onto the DS4’s undercarriage, plugging into connector port and audio jack. Setup literally takes just a few seconds with power coming from the DualShock 4 itself, meaning there are no batteries to replace.
The idea behind these back buttons is to eliminate even the slightest fraction of downtime moving your thumbs between the sticks and face buttons. So, when locked in a tense gun battle during a match of Modern Warfare or Rainbow Six Siege, assigning actions such as reloading and crouching to these paddles means you don’t have to let up your grip on the right stick and potentially miss a shot.
Programming the two buttons is very straightforward. The Back Button Attachment has a built-in OLED touch display that lights up when in use, allowing you to swap and customise three separate profiles. When modifying a profile all you need to do is keep hitting the paddles until the button on the display matches the one you desire.
The buttons themselves are perfectly designed in terms of shape and comfort. It will change from person to person, but for me they tuck rather naturally under the top joint of my middle fingers, positioned in such a way that I rarely press them by mistake.
Adjusting to using these back buttons won’t come easy to some. For those who have clocked hundreds of hours across their favourite console shooters, remembering to use a new button (a previously unused finger) to reload a gun instead of instinctively tapping square with your thumb requires some adjustment.
As someone who constantly shifts between different games and genres, I wasn’t entirely convinced the Back Button Attachment would be worthwhile. However, since bolting this new add-on to my pad I’ve developed a habit of analysing controller layouts and seeing which buttons would be the best to duplicate on the two paddles.
One configuration I gravitate towards is having any kind of sprint programmed to the right button. So, whether it’s Nioh, The Last of Us, or For Honor I’m playing (all of which use different inputs for this action) I now have a universal button that’s also more easily accessible.
Meanwhile, I have more specific per-game setups too. Being a huge Siege fan, I’ve been using the two buttons to lean left and right while aiming down sights instead of needing to click L3 and R3. Again, there’s a little mental hurdle to overcome when using the Back Button Attachment but it’s now become a permanent part of my PS4 setup.