FragFX v. 2 Controller for the PlayStation 3 Review

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SplitFish GameWare Company: SplitFish
Platform: PlayStation 3

Occasionally, a piece of hardware comes along that fills a gaping void – a need that you didn't even know existed. The FragFX controller is that kind of hardware. It brings the precision of PC-style controls to the PlayStation 3, and while it is perfect for first-person shooters, it works well with most PlayStation 3 games.

Kyle Ackerman

Here's the simplest way I can describe to you how much I love the FragFX controller: Given a choice, I used to go for the Xbox 360 version of cross-platform games. There are myriad reasons, and it's not worth getting into a comparison of hardware platforms or cross-platform development. Now, solely because of the FragFX controller, if a genre is remotely compatible with SplitFish's controller, I'm getting the PlayStation 3 version of the game.

FragFX v. 2 Controller for the PlayStation 3The FragFX controller splits the standard PlayStation 3 controller into two parts. A left handed grip includes an analog stick (typically for movement) the D-pad and the left shoulder buttons. The right analog stick on the controller is replaced by a mouse that can be used for precision aim and control. The left and right mouse buttons take the place of the controller's shoulder buttons and the controller's circle, triangle, square and "x" buttons are on the left side of the mouse under where your thumb rests. A long cord connects the left grip to the console's USB port, and a short cord connects the mouse to the left grip. The left grip is also the motion sensitive controller.

This controller has a learning curve, but it's completely worth it. Once I'd adapted to the location of the various buttons and gotten the hang of the mouse-like controller, my play was transformed. Playing a first-person shooter, within 10 minutes I was at least as effective as I was with the conventional controller. After an hour, I was easily snapping my crosshairs to any target I wished, rattling off headshots and cruising through levels that would have stymied me with a regular controller. In online play, I easily soared from the middle of the pack to the top of the server.

My shooter skills were honed on the PC, so perhaps I'm prejudiced – I vastly prefer a mouse-style set-up. But I honestly believe that anyone, with a little time to practice, will prefer the FragFX to a dual-analog-stick controller.

It does carry the usual problems related to a mouse. It's important to have a stable surface on which to mouse, and while the included mouse pad is solid, the FragFX carries all the perils of trying to use a mouse on the couch. If someone else sits down, you can miss a headshot, and without care, it's easy to put a lot of stress on the wrist and tendons.

Only using the basic controls, the FragFX controller is easily worthwhile as my go-to controller. But there's a lot more. I've never relied so heavily on the manual for a controller as I did for the FragFX. In fact, I'm not sure that I've ever opened the manual for a controller before.

FragFX v. 2 Controller for the PlayStation 3The FragFX is unbelievably configurable and replete with advanced functions. The sensitivity of everything from the mouse to the motion control can be adjusted. Buttons can be remapped. Functions can even be remapped to various motions of the left grip. There's a frag button that when held down makes the mouse more precise for sniping or other precision motion. Buttons can be set to rapid-fire rather than single press. All of this can even be done on the fly (although I still haven't memorized all the button combinations that allow me to do so). Particularly if you focus on a single game, there is no controller that can be better customized to do exactly what you want to perfect your game experience.

This controller may be the best I've seen for the PlayStation 3, but it isn't perfect. Most importantly, it's right-handed. That's great for me, but not ideal for the sinestrous among us. The mouse portion of the controller could use more tweaking to compete with the more ergonomic mice available, and the controller is wired to the chagrin of those who love wireless. Fortunately, while it doesn't bear on this review, SplitFish is promising to fix all of those issues with the upcoming Dual SFX Frag Pro controller.

Even at the recommended price of $80 for the FragFX controller, this piece of hardware is completely worth the price tag. It's a great controller for everyone, but is a mandatory purchase for anyone who plays competitively online or prefers PC-style controls.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on September 9, 2009 9:32 PM.

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