Modified controllers are an area that have absolutely fascinated me for a long time. From the days of being immersed in competitive gaming and cursing at someone firing desert eagle rounds at the rate of a minigun in full swing, to the wonderful work done by our good friends at SpecialEffect for disabled gamers, the market has been one that I have been curious about, but never really dipped my toe into. With the Xbox One offering their Pro Controller, and also having a vastly superior range of colour options, the PS4 is a little bit lacking in terms of hues to put in your hands.
Cue The Controller People. They got in touch to see if we’d be interested in taking a look at one of their range of Dual Shock 4 controllers, featuring their unique “Click Sticks”. Personally, I’m glad they did, because what’s on offer here is a genuine delight, and a much more affordable option than the competition.
Arriving in a regular Dual Shock 4 box, our Red Shadow custom controller was kitted out with their signature Click Sticks, and the SST Trigger Stops. At first glimpse, these appear to be 3D Printed parts that have been modified into the DS4, and overall the quality is excellent. The Click Sticks are essentially two little nubs which poke out underneath the controller, allowing your middle fingers to quickly allow you to hit the X or O buttons without needing to move your thumb across the face buttons. The SST Triggers have a magnetised stopper in them, which will prevent the trigger from going all the way down, and theoretically allowing for faster response times when firing single-fire weapons in FPS games. Both of these are great little options that I can see being handy for a number of people with different requirements. The build quality of the custom DS4 is fantastic. The bottom half is a regular Sony built controller, with ours sporting a gorgeous matte finish on the top half, and everything else as you’d expect. The texture of the Click Sticks and SSTs is a little strange at first, but you’ll become accustomed to them extremely quickly.
The Click Sticks come in two variants. The first (and the one we’ve had in our build) allows for the left stick to duplicate the X button, and the right stick becomes the O button. The other variant on offer allows you to completely customise the two, letting you choose which buttons are mapped to them. The concept is brilliant, and one that’s present across a bunch of custom controllers. The implementation from The Controller People here is very good as well, with the sticks jutting out at the right height as to not interfere with your hands through normal use, but available with a very tiny movement of your finger. One bonus (that I’m hoping is through design rather than luck) is that the sticks sit perfectly either side of the official Dual Controller Charging Dock without any hint of them hitting it.
When it comes to the triggers, there is a lot to like about a physical stop on them, significantly shortening the throw. For someone like me, it’s not necessarily going to be a game changer, as I have moved away somewhat from being obsessed with multiplayer shooters, and I am definitely no longer in the “strive to be top of the leaderboards” camp any more. What this controller provides, for me, is a much more responsive set of triggers, and a much easier way to jump and crouch. It’s not going to get me into any E-sports teams, and I’m pretty sure it’s having zero effects on where I end up in the leaderboards (hint – it’s somewhere near the bottom), but for someone with a disability, this could be a lifesaver. If you’ve got the inclination, you can also pick up the trigger stops separately to tinker with your own controller as well.
Price wise, TCP’s offerings start at around £65, and price increases depending on which options you decide to add on. The controller we received would clock in at £99 if you were to pick one up. When you consider that a similar model from the likes of Scuf will add another £20 or £30 on top of that, it’s almost a no brainer.
I don’t have a great deal of experience with Scuf, or indeed any of the “pro” controller variants, but I’ve been really impressed with not only the product, but also the service and communication from the guys at TCP. If you’re in the market for a new controller, it’s well worth giving them a look. There are a wealth of further customisation options and a bunch of finishes to choose from, and if they’re anything like the unit we’ve received, it’s hard not to recommend them.
Find The Controller People at https://thecontrollerpeople.com – If you order by the 9th, you’ll get it in time for Christmas!