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Hands-on review: PS4 Back Button Attachment

18 Feb 2020

The PS4 console may have been out since 2013, but the device is still receiving a lot of support from Sony. It’s now 2020 and a new device is available for the DualShock 4 controller called the “Back Button Attachment”. 

The Back Button Attachment is Sony’s answer to Microsoft’s expensive Xbox One Elite controllers that give players access to more button configurations. Those controllers usually cost close to $280 in New Zealand, but this Back Button Attachment will only set you back $69.99 (controller not included). 

No power cord or USB cable is provided because the device is attached to the back of your DualShock 4 controller. The controller itself powers the device so you don’t have to worry about extra wires or anything like that. 

The Back Button Attachment is connected via the DualShock’s microphone and headphone socket. The device can be a bit confusing to attach at first, but once you get the hang of it you can easily connect it without any hassles. 

The device has a special hole so you can still attach headphones to the controller if you are still using the Back Button attachment. 

Once the device is connected to your DualShock 4 controller, you press the OLED screen in the middle to power/turn it on. The default setting maps the two back buttons as X and Circle, but you can change it to pretty much any button on the controller. 

The buttons you can assign are X, Circle, Square, Triangle, R1, R2, R3, L1, L2, L3, up, down, left, right and the options button. You can only use two of the back buttons at a time though, but I like the fact that you can save three profiles to suit any game you wish. 

For example, I can assign profile 1 to use for a Call of Duty game, profile 2 for a driving game and then profile 3 is for a sports game. Changing different profiles is pretty easy to do because all you need to do is press the OLED screen twice. 

I actually liked using the back button attachment for shooters because it was more comfortable to press the melee and sprint buttons. I usually don’t like pressing down on the R3 and L3 buttons so the back button was useful in this regard. 

Another game I liked using the attachment for was AO Tennis 2. Making one button for flat shots and the other for topspin shots felt very satisfying to me. Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled is another game where the attachment proved to be very useful as well. 

Street Fighter V, Tekken 7 and other fighting games were suited for the attachment too. They were useful in order to do special moves for several of the fighters. I also used the back button for easier use for grabs too. 

That being said, not every game or genre will be suitable for the back button. A game like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 felt awkward because I am so used to the default settings. No matter what configuration I used, the back button felt weird using it on a skateboarding game. 

However, I admire the fact that the back button attachment works with pretty much EVERY game and app I own on my PS4 Pro. Even when I was browsing on YouTube, Disney+ and Netflix, the back button was useful because I used the device to fast forward and rewind certain videos. 

One thing I will note is the fact that the back button attachment isn’t going to be useful for everyone. I can see the device is useful if you’re a competitive gamer or if you have some type of disability pressing buttons with your hands. 

As for anyone else, I wouldn’t spend $69.99 on this attachment just to press some extra buttons. I’m already comfortable with the default button configuration of the DualShock 4 controller and I don’t have any issues with my fingers or thumbs. 

Another minor issue my brother had is the extra weight the attachment gives to the controller. He usually likes carrying light controllers so he never used the attachment because of this. 

All in all though, the Back Button Attachment for the DualShock 4 is an interesting little device. Some people will find it very useful, although I feel most gamers don’t really require it. It’s also a bit pricey here in New Zealand too as the $69.99 price tag is almost as much money as buying a new controller itself.