The perfect controller for the PlayStation VR (PSVR) depends on the type of game you want to play, your preferred playstyle, and how much immersion you want for your game. 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. Check out all your options here!
Best overall: PlayStation Aim Controller
PlayStation Aim Controller
Sun's out guns out.
There are plenty of games for the PSVR that revolve around 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. Instead of playing in a first- or third-person view while staring 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, it's only heightened by making you feel like you're holding a gun in real life.
The Aim controller feels more like a rifle than a pistol. Some of the smaller guns you play with may feel a little odd, but the overall "point and shoot" idea 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 PSVR is compatible with the Aim controller. There is a list of compatible games (see below), but I would love to see more games either add support for the Aim controller or for new games to have Aim compatibility out of the box.
Games the PlayStation Aim Controller is compatible with
- Arizona Sunshine (opens in new tab)
- Borderlands 2 VR
- Bravo Team (opens in new tab)
- Dick Wilde 2
- DOOM: VFR (opens in new tab)
- Farpoint (opens in new tab)
- Firewall Zero Hour (opens in new tab)
- ROM: Extraction
- Special Delivery
- The Brookhaven Institute
- Unearthing Mars 2: The Ancient War
Best for flight simulators: Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS 4
Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS 4
The best controls for your VR cockpit.
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 sorts 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 a HOTAS controller like the Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS 4 will have you feeling like you're flying a real plane.
The 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 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 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.
PSVR games compatible with HOTAS
- Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (opens in new tab)
- End Space
- Eve: Valkyrie (opens in new tab)
- StarBlood Arena (opens in new tab)
- Space Rift
Best for standard immersion: PlayStation Move Controllers
PlayStation Move Controllers
Your standard PlayStation VR controllers
If you're playing a PSVR game there's a 99.9% chance it's compatible with PlayStation Move controllers. Not only are the Move controllers perfect for the best immersion of any game since 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, for example, but since that comes standard with your PS4 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 PSVR can respond to your actual movements— as opposed to a point-and-click or selection process.
The only major downside is the price. 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 isn't a limit for the games you can play them with, you're still getting a great value. That value is also why Move controllers are sold out just about everywhere right now.
Best for beginners: DualShock 4
A little something for everyone
A lot of PSVR controllers support the DualShock 4 controller, and that's perfect for any budget. Most PSVR bundles don't come with 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 PS4 user is already partially comfortable with a DualShock controller, and that makes it easy for first-timers with the PSVR. 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 offers plenty of customization options. You'll need to buy a second controller for multiplayer games, but one already came with your PS4, so your wallet won't be hurting too much. 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 how 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.
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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 a real gun, and that helps with the immersion of aiming, reloading, and firing.
The best controller for you will ultimately come down to your favorite genre, 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 flying 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
Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, specifically focusing on PlayStation on Android Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.
Samantha Nelson is a freelance writer for Android Central, Windows Central, and iMore. When she's not playing or writing about video games and hardware she's probably roleplaying, hanging out with her pets, or binge-watching the latest genre show. Find her on Twitter.
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.
Anthony Nash is a freelance writer covering all things gaming on Android Central and Windows Central. When he's not writing about games, he's usually playing them. You can find him on Twitter @_anthonynash.
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