Most helpful positive review
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Amazing if you prefer gaming on the Xbox 360 controller, a bit harder to recommend otherwise
on January 19, 2012
***DISCLAIMER*** This review was not written by a tournament going pro gamer (like the controller is marketed to) but by a hardcore gamer that enjoys and has access to all the consoles and a gaming capable PC. Thus, I had different expectations for it.
I purchased this controller after watching the MadCatz spokesperson demonstrate it during CES. What grabbed my interest was the modular nature of the controller (swap in different joystick/d-pad types at different positions depending on what style you like to use) and the "Reverse Trigger mode". Most shooters on PS3 map their Aiming/Shooting functions to the shoulder buttons instead of the analog triggers because the Dual Shock 3's triggers are crap for shooting games. This controller mode swaps L1 & L2, R1 & R2. Madcatz has really gone out of their way to change their image as a budget controller maker with their recent fighting game joystick products (I own 2 of them), so I felt pretty confident in giving them another shot.
Overall, I'm extremely happy with my purchase, but there is definitely room for improvement:
JOYSTICK AND D-PAD MODULES WORK AS ADVERTISED
The controller comes with (2) Playstation 3-style joysticks (convex, with same style of rubber on top), (2) Xbox 360 joysticks (concave, with the little rubber nubs on the edges of the joystick top), (1) PS3 style D-pad and (1) Xbox 360 style D-pad. The only limitation you have is that you cannot put D-pads in the right joystick position. You're free to customize it any way you like after that though. I currently use the Xbox 360 gamepad layout, subbing in a PS3 joystick for the left stick, and a PS3 d-pad in the d-pad slot. What I also REALLY liked was that the FUNCTIONS of the controller are tied to the module. Let me explain. When I swap D-pad and joystick positions on this controller to play Uncharted, that doesn't mean that I'm controlling Drake with a D-pad and selecting weapons with a joystick. The controller intelligently maps the functions to exactly what I was expecting: Top-Left Joystick position controls movement, Bottom-Left D-pad controls weapon switching. It works beautifully.
REVERSE TRIGGER MODE WORKS AS ADVERTISED
This, along with the control modules, was the big one for me. When I saw that CES demo, visions of playing the Uncharted games or Killzone 3 with a controller setup that I got used to playing Halo, Gears of War and Call of Duty on danced through my head. I just prefer the feel of the Xbox 360 controller for this generation of consoles, ESPECIALLY for first person and third person shooters. This controller came through in fulfilling my vision. I caught myself playing 3 hours of Uncharted 3 when I meant to only test games 20 minutes apiece because everything just felt so "right" to me now. Killzone 3 also was a highlight; I'm going to definitely go back to that game now.
FACE BUTTONS ARE WELL MADE
The iconic Sony Square, X, Triangle, Circle face buttons feel great; not too mushy, not too firm, and not "clicky". They don't feel cheap, which was a major concern of mine. Most third party controllers don't make the extra effort to make the face buttons feel good like console manufacturers do: This one does.
CONTROLLER FEELS SOLID, GOOD BUILD QUALITY
This is just one of those things that you "feel". It definitely feels like a quality piece of hardware and has some heft. The nice thing is that it actually has modular magnetic weights, in case you want your controller to feel a little heavier or lighter. The detachable controller cord is also very heavy duty, with a mesh sleeve and a heavy-duty screw-on connector.
MAGNETIC CUSTOMIZABLE FACE PLATE
If you're into that sorta thing. It's neat, but not one of the driving forces for my purchase.
D-PAD QUALITY NOT UP TO PAR
Ugh, really? This is probably my biggest disappointment with this controller. If there's one thing that has majorly annoyed me about this console generation, it's that the D-pad quality (ESPECIALLY on the Xbox 360!) is awful. Unfortunately, these d-pad modules follow suit. The PS3 d-pad that comes with this controller is DEFINITELY not as good as the Dual Shock 3's, while the 360-style d-pad is slightly better than Microsoft's stock d-pad. Sadly, this leaves you in a bit of a lurch when it comes to most fighting games and other sidescrolling games (like platformers and other indie games on PSN). I tried playing Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition and it was awful. I had the 2 d-pads set up side by side on the left so I could directly compare them. The 360 one was just as bad as ever (seriously, why even put this one in the box) while the PS3-style d-pad was "Ok". But I'd much rather use a real dual shock (or better yet, a FightStick) to play Street Fighter with. At least Mortal Kombat played pretty well, but that's because I think that fighting game is very "tappy". Maybe Tekken would have been good too. I don't know, I'm not a Tekken fan. Yeah, yeah, you should get a joystick if you're going to seriously play fighters, but you know what? When you spend $100 on a gamepad controller, I think it should do everything well. Maybe this problem can be corrected with better D-pad modules? I don't know. I hope so.
Maybe on average 13 feet will be enough for people. Unfortunately, it was about 3 feet shy for me. I had to use a USB extension cord. Madcatz has said they will offer longer cords, but that's going to be more money on top of a $100 controller. Just get a USB extension cable if you came up short, like I did.
SHOULDER BUTTONS FEEL CHEAP
It stands out in stark contrast to the rest of the controller's build, but the shoulder buttons are VERY "clicky" and don't feel very solid. The right bumper got a little better (had to break it in?) after about 7-8 hours of game testing.
FACE BUTTON ANALOG WONKINESS
As good as those face buttons feel, I can't tell if they have analog functionality like the Dual Shock 3s. If they do, they're overly sensitive or something. The easiest game to test this on is Metal Gear Solid 3 (now conveniently repackaged in a PS3 HD collection!). When you are aiming a gun in MGS3, you can slowly release the button to release lower the weapon without firing. If you have an enemy solider in a chokehold, you can also either firmly press the button to slit their throat or you can slowly let the button go to safely release them. I could not replicate either of these actions on this controller. So, buyer beware if some of your favorite games use the analog nature of the face buttons.
These aren't deal breakers to me, but they might be to some people, so I thought I would list them.
-The controller's shape is clearly modelled more after an Xbox 360 controller. People who are in love with the shape of Sony's Dual Shocks might be disappointed.
-The controller has no vibration functionality.
-The controller has no motion control Sixaxis functionality.
-The controller is not wireless. MLG and Madcatz stated that they wanted to eliminate lag for competitive reasons. It doesn't bother me, but it might for some people.
-You can't turn the system on by pressing the home button, even when it's plugged in. Probably because it's not wireless? I'm not sure.
There may be more cons than pros, but the pros are HUGE in my opinion. I no longer have to worry about using a controller I don't like to play PS3 shooters, or opt for the 360 version of a game just because of a controller preference. However, $100 is a LOT of money for a controller. When you're spending that much money, it's justified to demand perfection. So this controller isn't for everyone. I will definitely keep on using it though, especially for action & shooting games. The things I would like to see improved are a GREAT D-pad module so you can play fighting games and other old school games on it, and maybe a way to customize/swap out the face buttons. Other than that, this is a great start for Madcatz and they continue to impress me with their new approach to controller manufacturing.