Best PlayStation VR Controller
Shooting games are the most popular style of game in the VR community and the PlayStation Aim controller adds a level of immersion you can’t get with your Move controllers. The perfect controller for the PlayStation VR depends on the type of game you want to play, your preferred playstyle, and how much immersion you want for your game. Check out all your options here!
Best Overall: PlayStation Aim Controller
There are plenty of games for the PlayStation VR (PSVR) that revolve around the concept of holding a gun to shoot your enemies. While you can play all of these games with the Move controllers, and some of them with the DualShock controller, the PlayStation Aim controller offers the best immersion for your shooting games.
Once you put on your PSVR headset you’re met with a whole new world of immersion. Instead of playing the game with a first or third person view while starting at a TV screen, you’re playing with the screen directly on your face. This places you into the experience first hand with the ability to turn, dodge, duck, and cover within the game environment. While that’s intensely immersive as it is, you can get more immersion with the feeling of holding a gun in real life.
The Aim controller feels more like a rifle than a pistol, meaning some of the smaller guns you play with may feel a little odd, but the overall “point and shoot” and having to physically aim a single motion sensor (as opposed to holding two with the Move controllers) has a significantly better feel to it. The design is comfortable to hold, but also has the buttons strategically placed around the device to simulate the parts of a gun you would need to interact with if it were a real gun.
The downside? Not every shooting game for the PlayStation VR is compatible with the Aim controller. There is a list of compatible games that I’ve listed below, but I would love to see more games either add support for the Aim controller or newer games to release with Aim compatibility off the bat.
Games the PlayStation Aim Controller is compatible with
- Arizona Sunshine
- Bravo Team
- Dick Wilde
- DOOM: VFR
- Evasion, Farpoint
- Firewall Zero Hour
- Rom: Extraction
- Special Delivery
- The Brookhaven Institute
- Unearthing Mars 2
- Immersive shooting games in PlayStation VR.
- Comfortable design.
- Impossible to “accidentally throw”.
- Not as many compatible games as I would like.
PlayStation Aim Controller
Sun’s out guns out.
While it offers a much better experience for shooter games, it is only supported with the following games: Arizona Sunshine, Bravo Team, ChromaGun, Dick Wilde, DOOM: VFR, Evasion, Farpoint, Firewall Zero Hour, Rom: Extraction, Special Delivery, The Brookhaven Institute, and Unearthing Mars 2. If you don’t have any of these games, with no intentions of owning them, don’t get the Aim controller.
Best for flight simulators: Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS 4
Flight simulators are popular in the gaming community and there are quite a few choice options for the PSVR. When it comes to playing these sort of games you can either use Move controllers or an official HOTAS controller. Using your Move controllers does offer a level of immersion by giving you the option to touch and grab everything in the cockpit, but the HOTAS controller will have you feeling like you’re flying a real plane.
The Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS 4 has a dual-rudder system, a joystick complete with a rapid-fire trigger, a detachable throttle, 12 action buttons, and a resistance system to simulate real turbulence. With all of these options combined you’re left with everything you need to feel like you’re holding the controls of an actual plane. Combine that with the in-your-face visuals of a cockpit while playing inside of a PSVR headset and you’re experiencing the best way to play a flight simulator.
The only major downside to playing with a HOTAS controller comes with the discomfort of it sitting in your lap. While you play any sort of virtual reality (VR) game there is a risk that something will cause a knee-jerk reaction that causes you to move or jump. Because of this, I found myself dropping my HOTAS controller quite a few times during gameplay. Thankfully, the Thrustmaster T-Flight was able to take a beating and didn’t even get scratched, but I still ended up investing in weighted speaker stands to hold my devices in a comfortable spot while I played.
Other than that, the HOTAS controller support suffers the same fate as the PlayStation Aim controller. Not every flight simulator game for the PSVR is compatible with a HOTAS controller, but there are phenomenal games that are. The list I’ve supplied below may seem short, but each one of those games has hours and hours of gameplay— as well as more than enough replay value.
Games the PSVR is compatible with HOTAS
- Simulated flight control.
- Resistance for immersion.
- Customizing options for controls and feedback settings.
- Detachable options.
- You need some sort of stand to be the most comfortable.
- Flimsy to play with out of your lap.
- Not as many compatible games as I would like.
Best for flight simulators
Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS 4
The best controls for your VR cockpit.
The T.Flight has 12 action buttons, 1 rapid-fire trigger, 1 multi-directional hat switch, and a dual rudder system. All of these features offer you the best comfort with separation options, easy mapping, and immersive gameplay.
Best for standard immersion: PlayStation Move Controllers
If you’re playing a PSVR game there’s a 99.9% chance it’s compatible with the PlayStation Move controllers. Not only are the Move controllers perfect for the best immersion of any game because it simulates both of your hands, but you’ll get the best value out of them because it’s easier to list games that aren’t compatible than it is to list games that are. Games like ASTRO Bot Rescue Mission are only playable with the DualShock 4 controllers, but since that comes standard with your PlayStation 4 system it won’t cost you any extra money to play.
The type of immersion that PlayStation Move controllers offer is the ability to use both of your hands in a VR headset. Instead of using the triggers of a Dualshock to select options in the game you’ll be able to physically reach for objects, press a button to grab them, and then wave them around with real-life motion tracking. Since they track your movement with the LED bulbs, your PlayStation VR is able to respond to your actual movements— as opposed to a point-and-click or selection process.
The only major downside is the price for a set of these controllers. For some reason, most PSVR bundles don’t include Move controllers. The fact that you have to buy them separately for about $100 might hurt your wallet a bit, but since there really isn’t a limit for the games you can play them with you’re still getting a great value.
- Compatible with almost every single PSVR game.
- Tracking abilities for both hands while in game.
- Endless color options for the LED lights for the best tracking.
- Can be used outside of the PlayStation VR.
- Comfortable to use.
- Most expensive controller for the PSVR.
Best for standard immersion
PlayStation Move Controllers
Your standard PlayStation VR controllers
PlayStation Move controllers work directly with the PlayStation Camera to track your movements for the PlayStation VR control system. It uses LED lights that counter the environment of your gamespace for the best tracking. The buttons are strategically placed around the controllers where your thumbs rest for the best comfort while playing.
Best for beginners: DualShock 4
A lot of PSVR controllers support the DualShock 4 controller and that’s perfect for any budget. Most PSVR bundles don’t come with the Move controllers but do come with games where the Move controllers aren’t required for play. While there are games that you need the Move controllers, like Job Simulator, you won’t need them to get your first taste of experience in virtual reality.
Every PlayStation 4 user already has the comfort they built up for the DualShock controller and that makes it easy for first-timers with the PlayStation VR. The vibrations, sounds, and buttons of the DualShock have already been perfected for immersive gaming. It fits perfectly into your hands, has every button you’ll need, and plenty of customizing options in most in-game menu options to be perfectly styled for you. You’ll need to buy a second controller for multiplayer games, but you won’t hurt your wallet since your first one already came with the console and they’re the cheapest option. You can even get pre-styled controllers or skins on Amazon for an incredibly reasonable price.
The only downside to a DualShock 4 is the non-preventable wear of the battery life. After a year or two of use, depending on how often you use them, you’ll notice a change in how often you need to recharge the battery and how long the battery lasts. That, combined with the fact that repairs for the DualShock 4 are either overly-complicated for the average consumer or result in needing a replacement, make the wear and tear a little troublesome. Unfortunately, there is no way of avoiding this, but you can extend the life of your DualShock by cleaning it often and being careful not to drop it.
- Comes standard with every PlayStation 4 console.
- Plenty of customizing options.
- Cheapest controller to buy.
- Comfortable to use.
- Replacements and repairs are difficult.
- Battery life gets worse after a year of constant use.
Best for beginners
A little something for everyone
DualShock 4 controllers are your standard PlayStation 4 controller and one comes with every PlayStation 4 console. They’re wireless, have a touchscreen for in-game and typing options, all your standard buttons, a speaker, and plenty of color options. Battery life lasts over four hours and recharge takes less than two.
The PlayStation Aim controller is our favorite because of the number of games it’s compatible with and how popular shooting games are for the PSVR. The controller was built perfectly to emulate the sensation of using an actual gun and it’s incredibly comfortable to use. Each button is placed in an area you would be interacting with for an actual gun and that helps with the immersion of aiming, reloading, and firing.
At the end of the day, the best controller for you will ultimately come down to your favorite genre of game, but we know you’ll get the best value and enjoyment out of the PlayStation Aim controller. Any of the controllers above will enhance the immersion you experience inside of a PSVR headset, but the shooting games tend to have a higher replay value to them. It gets boring to fly a plane in circles in a flight simulator or complete the same puzzle over and over again in an RPG.
Do you know what never gets boring? Shooting things in virtual reality. Do you know what makes shooting things in virtual reality even better? Aiming a controller that feels like the gun you’re holding in the game!
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Essa Kidwell is an expert in all things VR and mobile devices who can always be found with an Oculus Go around their neck. They’ve been taking things apart just to put them back together for quite some time. If you’ve got a troubleshooting issue with any of your tech, they’re the one you want to go to! Find them on Twitter.
Russell Holly Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He’s a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Google+ or Twitter.