While I play a huge number of videogames occupationally, I don’t have time to really excel at one particular title or genre. For the most part I don’t even cover the huge number of fighting game or shooter events in the area. There are, however, plenty of gaming tournaments in and around my home town of Los Angeles and no one can dispute the popularity of game franchises like Halo, Call of Duty, and Battlefield.
For most fans, rather than going to tournaments though, it means sitting at home and taking it to your opponents with your buddies, online or real-life ones. Playing in the comfort of your own home also means the ability to have your own, far more customizable setup.
There are lots of modified accessories for games like Call of Duty. Certain controllers will even allow you to shoot faster. Where the Atlanta based Kontrol Freek has focused their attention is the analog sticks of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 controllers. Sony’s DualShock 3’s analog sticks along with the triggers are often the target of derision among gamers. While there are other accessories to address Sony’s trigger issues, Kontrol Freek uses a little bit of junior high level science to improve the squirrely analog sticks.
Kontrol Freek sent me a few samples of their snap on analog stick extensions to check out. I received their new FPS Freek Phantom, a control stick adaptor designed specifically for the new Call of Duty: Ghosts, The FPS Freek Vortex, and The Control Free UltraX. For the most part, they all do the same thing which is to increase the height of the analog sticks, allowing more control over the movement. By changing the angle which the stick is moving, your thumb movements make less of an impact on the input. This isn’t an automatic advantage though, because while it reduces your overreactions, it does take a little getting used to.
The FPS Freek Phantom is a white-on-white, laser-etched skull-themed concave thumb surface, designed to match the Call of Duty: Ghosts logo. The half-inch addition is explicitly designed to perform in medium-to-long-range combat situations typical of the Call of Duty franchise, adding 40% more linear motion. The Vortex has different heights for the left and right sticks with about .2 inches difference between them. With a more rubbery surface than the Phantom, the Vortex offers a better grip and slightly lower learning curve. The UltraX is very similar to the Phantom but has a dimpled and convex surface with a surface between the other two add-ons.
As I stated previously, these aren’t exactly quick fixes for the standard PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 controllers. There is a learning curve, and except for the Vortex, players will have to get used to that extra travel distance between the stick and the face buttons. There is however solid science behind the overall concept and if you spend the time with these accessories, you can be a much more accurate marksman. Sony and Microsoft are releasing new consoles this month, and Kontrol Freek is ready for them. They are currently taking pre-orders for the next-gen of some of its most popular existing products including the Ultra, FPS Freek Snipr, and the CQC Signature.