Finding a working PS2 to buy online is easy. Finding a good controller to accompany it however, is not.
Consoles are barely touched. You’ll press the power button to turn it on, maybe the eject to open the tray. That’s about it for direct contact. The controller however, is our gateway to the gaming world, our conduit of our gaming prowess. As a result, they are subjected to enormous amounts of abuse, and always covered in dust. As a result, controllers will normally live half as long as the console itself.
If you ask the question “which controller should I buy?”, everyone will say the official controller. Nothing can top the Dualshock 2 controller that started it all, but sometimes that is not an option. Revive Today will try to cover any controller we obtain to give recommendations what to look for when buying a controller.
These are based on experiences with the controllers we obtain. Be aware your experience may differ.
Sony Dualshock 2 Controller
- ✅ Analog sticks in easy reach of the thumbs.
- ✅ lightweight design.
- ✅ Simple button design.
- ❌ No triggers on the shoulders.
- ❌ Analog stick can drift after heavy use.
- ❌ No longer manufactured – somewhat rare to find in good condition.
No controller for the PS2 beats the official controller itself. The controller is the perfect balance between usability and comfort. Similar to the PS1 controller, the controller is made of essentially two identically shaped sections joined together. Left side contains the D-pad keys, and on the right is the function keys used by the game, marked by the iconic Δ □ O X keys. On the ‘shoulders’ are four buttons, which work as effective trigger buttons.
Unsurprisingly for an official product, the controller is unparalleled in the experience it offers. The analog sticks are highly sensitive, allowing for precise movements within games. The buttons are all pressure-sensitive, meaning games can use how hard you press the buttons down in-game. In the handles of the controller are rumble packs, which provide feedback for actions on-screen, such as a rumble if you go off-road in a racing game.
The best controller you can ever get for the PS2, with great sensitivity analog sticks and pressure sensitive buttons. However, they are no longer manufactured so you are relying on retro game stores and eBay sellers to sell you a good controller.
Sony Dualshock 3 & 4 Controller
Instead of hunting down either the illusive wireless Katana PS2 controller, or short of building your own adapter, a PS2 port adapter is available!
This reasonably priced device from Brook allows you to synchronise a PS(3/4) controller to a PS(1/2) controller slot, giving you wireless capabilities in an original-style controller.
TPFOON Wireless Controller
This controller is still being tested
- ✅ Same shape and layout as the official controller.
- ✅ Wireless connectivity.
- ✅ Great feel buttons and analogue sticks.
- ✅ Available in many different colours.
- ❌ Analogue sensitivity is far from great.
- ❌ Weak on/off switch – could break with careless use.
- ❌ Cheap plastic design with potential manufacturing errors.
Tested with: Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Grand Theft Auto – Liberty City Stories, Driv3r. Battery life still being tested.
I’m a sucker for OEM. I always believe there is nothing better than the original design, so I normally stick to official purchases. However, Sony only ever released one wireless controller for the PS2 and it takes a lot of searching to get your hands on one.
I came across TPFOON on Amazon, selling what looked like convincingly OEM-styled controllers both wired and wireless. What made these stand out is the buttons – the design varied from the ‘Generic’ options on Amazon, which made me think the controller could be a genuine product instead of a cheap knock-off.
On AliExpress is an official retail store for TPFOON, which made the controllers a lot cheaper. For £8 I thought this product could be worth the risk, And so far it has paid off.
Big difference, but big similarities
The controller takes two AAA batteries in the back. All the buttons feel pretty solid, firmer than the official controller but still pretty solid. The unit does feel cheap however, with matted plastic that shows up fingerprints and minor manufacturing defects.
Performance wise, the unit performs incredibly well for the price. I tested the controller playing an intense game of Need for Speed Most Wanted, and found that it did not miss a button press. The controller could also detect extended presses without dropping the signal. However, the analog stick performance is somewhat lacklustre. I found the dead zone to be rather large, which makes the controller a bad fit for any games that require precise analogue movements. The detection range appears rather similar to an old-style analog stick in an 8 point style, but for the tested games it did not cause much of an issue (could not walk in Grand Theft Auto, however).
For the AliExpress price, this controller is not bad for the money. Do not expect a performance matching the official controller, but works great as a spare controller or an OEM-like wireless replacement.