I’m generally not big on third-party controllers. the ones that ship standard with the console tend to be just fine. In the case of the Xbox 360 controller, there few (save perhaps, PlayStation loyalists and those with tiny hands) who’ll deny that it’s a smartly arranged, inherently comfortable controller, with near -perfect stick and button placement and wonderfully responsive trigger buttons. It’s That doesn’t mean its without its problems.
It’s universally accepted that the standard 360 controller’s directional pad is terrible, offering sloppy input and imprecise control. More critically is the inherent issue of slow-turn, a phenomenon that affects older controllers – but often impacts their use out of the box. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, perhaps in a game of Halo 3 or Call of Duty, why your cursor moves in some direction’s at a snail’s pace regardless of your sensitivity settings. Slow-turn would explain it.
Mad Catz’ MLG Pro Circuit Controller, available in South Africa this June, fixes both of those problems – but there’s more to it than that.
For the most part, the MLG controller adheres to the Xbox 360 OEM controller reference design – with a few notable, and awesome differences. Like most Mad Catz peripherals since the company’s shift in focus to quality instead of the cheap, plasticky rubbish they used to pump out, the MLG controller is exceptionally well made and sturdy. The trigger and clicky bumper buttons – as well as the guide button are slightly smaller than their OEM counterparts but they’re as comfortable and easy to press as you’re accustomed to. More pronounced is the the placement of the start and back buttons. One hand hand, they’re small and out of the way so you’ll never press them by accident, but on the other they’re small and out of the way – meaning games that require you to actually press them for any sort of gameplay purposes can be quite a bother. The d-pad is wonderful – and far more responsive than the mess on the OEM controller.
Because Microsoft’s stingy with its wireless technology, the controller’s wired – but that’s ok. Most people who fall in to the controller’s target market – those who play for more than just fun - would argue that wired controllers offer lower latencies and better precision. The breakaway, 3 metre long cable is detachable should it break, and braided so it shouldn’t. You’d imagine there’s little else to say about a controller – but this is where the MLG Pro circuit starts to get interesting; it’s pretty damned customisable. where the battery pack should be is instead a weight cartridge with two removable 35g weights, allowing you to tailor the controller’s heft and bank to your liking. The wrist grips and faceplate, held in place through the magic of magnet locks, can be switched out to be matte or glossy – or a sexy combination of both. The controller further differentiates itself from competing premium controllers like the Razer Onza by virtue of the fact that the thumbsticks and d-pad are modular.
Yeah, that’s right.
A simple twist, and you can rearrange the controller to suit your genre-specific needs and playstyle. Want to ditch Battlefield for Street Fighter? Maybe you just prefer the symmetrical layout of Sony’s Dualshock? Simply swop the D-Pad with the analogue. Even better is that the controller ships with PlayStation analogous thumbsticks and d-Pad, so you can ditch the nippled concave thumbwells for the textured, convex sort Sony fans prefer. It’s a pretty neat trick, and both versions of the controller (Yes, it’s available for Ps3 as well) come with both sets of inputs. Included in the package is a cable to attach a headset to, and a sexy carry case to keep it all in.
Will it make much a difference to you game? If you want to squeeze every ounce of precision, or your controller suffers from slow turn? Most certainly. It’s high-end premium stuff – and as such comes at a premium price, but If you’re serious about your controller quality and are looking for something to elevate your pro-game then you need look no further than the MLG Pro Circuit Controller.