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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Gadget Review: Sticker Bomb Custom Xbox One Controller

Review by Nick H.

There are too many controllers out there these days, but most of them are of the budget variety. These controllers are usually well-made, and might even do one or two things better than the typical system ones that Sony or Microsoft ship with their units, but generally there are concessions as well that lead to a slightly lower price tag. Evil Controllers takes things in a different direction, offering a plethora of customisable options and upgraded hardware in an attempt to give gamers an edge and a distinctive look and feel to how they play their games.

The typical Xbox One controller is very effective, something I talked about in some detail nearly a year ago when I reviewed the Xbox One hardware. It is very similar in design with the Xbox 360 controller, which is often considered superior to the PlayStation 3 (except perhaps in the directional pad's execution). The Xbox One has a comfortable controller with springy buttons and responsive, rib edged sticks that do not slip even after hours of use. The battery life on this controller is also quite impressive.

Evil Controllers offers a wide variety of options for customers to customise, from the appearance of the shell (you can even mix and match the front and back if you like), thumbsticks, triggers and face buttons. Some of the options are more appealing to me than others, but generally speaking there are some very cool combinations that can be had. Mine was the bright and colourful Sticker Bomb.

Not everything is about the aesthetics, however. What Evil Controllers calls 'pro buttons' can be put on the back of the controller, giving you additional access to buttons for those who would rather use their fingertips for frequently used buttons than the pads of their thumbs while navigating the face buttons. Probably the coolest option are the various mods that can be added. There is a basic rapid fire (that takes me back to the old NES days when the NES Advantage first introduced automatic rapid fire into my gaming experience), but other programmable options as well. This controller is clearly build with first-person shooters in mind, touting compatibility with games like Call of Duty: Ghosts and Titanfall.



Some of the other adjustable features include fast reloads, auto scoping, auto run, a Battlefield 4 auto spot (which I found myself really liking), adjustable rapid fire and more. These features are touted as serving multiple purposes. One of course, is a competitive advantage. As someone who usually gravitates towards less accurate but auto-fire weapons in Call of Duty (whereas my son prefers small burst weapons with greater accuracy), we were curious to see how these single shot and small burst weapons would perform. It certainly does take some practice and fine tuning for the first couple of matches, but I did find that it was handy to use a rapid fire on something like a single shot pistol. That being said, my son is ridiculously fast with the pistols and could keep pace with the pace of the rapid fire without any trouble.

This however, leads into one of the two remaining purposes for these modifications. Unlike clicking away very rapidly for extended periods of time, the pace is sustainable even over two or three hours of gameplay. While my son was convinced he was every bit as fast with or without the rapid fire, he did concede that he had less fatigue in his hands, wrists and forearms when relying on the controller's automated firing for marathon gaming sessions. The third purpose for the mods is related to the hand fatigue, because holding a button down instead of jamming it repeatedly would seem to cause less strain on the muscles.

If there is a drawback to the mods, it is that they are fairly easy to turn on, even if you do not mean to. The controller comes with directions and there are directions online, so it can be figured out easily enough, but I recall playing Ryse: Son of Rome over the weekend and there was a section of the game where I was supposed to hold down the right trigger button to target my enemies with my spears and then release the trigger the throw. The rapid fire had been turned on however, so my men could not actually draw back to throw - they basically stood there jabbing their weapons out in a futile effort that got them shot down repeatedly by flaming arrows. That was when I noticed the LED indicator to the right of the Xbox button near the top centre and realized that at some point I had turned that on without meaning to. As soon as I turned it back off, all was well.

As for the controller build quality, it is excellent across the board and wearing it out really was not a serious concern. Folks looking for an edge in the world of fast-paced titles such as shooters are the target demographic for this device. To that end, it certainly succeeds. This is a premium controller at a premium price that offers precision, modifications and the ability to add a little flair as well. Those who have a tendency to play different types of titles, such as RPGs or puzzle games probably will not get as much mileage out of the modifications (aside from the ability to reduce physical strain as playing), but generally speaking it's a sound purchase to make.


- Nick H.
US Editor



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Gadget Review: Sticker Bomb Custom Xbox One Controller
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