Remember faceplates for the original Xbox 360? I sure do. I completely bought into the hype around them and bought quite a few in the early days of Xbox 360. I was all about customizing my console and making it my own. It was such a rare opportunity to give a gaming device some personality that didn’t consist of just slapping stickers on it. Microsoft ended up moving away from faceplates in future SKU’s and I slowly got rid of any hopes of a customized gaming console. Customization seems to have come back in vogue with Microsoft releasing an entire design studio for their Xbox One controller, sadly there isn’t a lot of easily accessible options for the Playstation 4. That’s where Controller People come in. They customize Dual Shock 4 controllers in all sorts of unique ways.
Instead of customizing my own Dual Shock 4 I let the fine folks over at The Controller People send me their own creation. If I was to customize my own I would have probably gone with something pretty subtle, but instead, I was sent a Gold, White and Black Dual Shock 4. However, The Controller People have a full customization suite on their website that allows you to customize literally everything on the controller. That includes the color of the front and rear shell, color and style of all the buttons, and the ability to add-on things like click sticks and grips.
The customized Playstation 4 controller I received was coated bright gold on the front shell and black on the black shell. It has a very nice finish on it that makes it look a lot more elevated than what I feared it would look like. All of the face buttons, the touchpad, and the d-pad were all given a polished white which removes any indication of what symbol was previously on the button. It’s a pretty striking design.
One of the big-ticket items when customizing your controller with The Controller People is the ability to add-on click sticks to the back of the Dual Shock 4 controller. My model came with white click sticks that were mapped to the X and O buttons although could be mapped to whatever button I wanted. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, I loathe the look of the sticks. It looks quite jarring to see these two white click sticks hanging out of the back of the Dual Shock 4. The click sticks don’t look particularly striking or expensive either which doesn’t help.
From a pure design standpoint, I think at first glance the customized Dual Shock 4 controller is striking. It doesn’t look like an Etsy project, but a really well made and well-executed custom controller. However, if aesthetics are your thing, the click sticks might sway you like it did me. The only other aesthetic gripe I have is on the back of the controller on the bottom right-hand side of the controller has a silver screw instead of a black one which stands out.
I want to be clear this portion of the review is strictly looking at the customizations made to the Dual Shock 4 and is in no way a review of the original Dual Shock 4 controller. The big thing in testing for me was to see if I naturally gravitated to the new custom controller or went back to my old reliable standard Dual Shock 4. For the first few weeks, I had the custom controller I forced myself to use it. For me, the click sticks in the back of the controller are more of a hindrance than a benefit. They’re easy to trigger and have a nice click feel but as a lifelong gamer, I really struggled to wrap my brain around using them rather than the other buttons on the controller. For me personally, the only reason I could see getting the click sticks would be if you only played shooters. Otherwise, they’re usefulness is pretty limited.
The rest of the controller performed and felt great. I loved the extra grip that the new analog sticks gave my controller. My current Dual Shock 4 controllers analog sticks are beginning to warp quite a bit so having a little extra tactile grip was really helpful. The rest of the controller felt like a normal Dual Shock 4 with a neat new design.
From a purely aesthetic standpoint, I think The Controller People have done a really remarkable job taking a rather boring design and allowing the user to customize it in some pretty remarkable ways. Even though the colors were not my choice I was pretty blown away by the quality of the craftsmanship. My real only gripe was the click sticks that both looked and performed poorly. They did nothing to enhance my experience and I’d advise against ordering them. Otherwise, if you’re in the market for a custom Dual Shock 4 controller, this may be a great option.
I'm the Owner & Editor in Chief of Darkstation.com. After spending seven years as the reviews editor I took over the site in 2010. The rest is history. Now I work with our amazing staff to try and bring you the best possible video game coverage. Oh and I really like sports games.