There are a lot of options out there when it comes to controllers that are available for purchase, but most usually rely on a default choice, like Sony’s DualShock 4. Not that it’s a bad option, mind you, but some players require a deeper experience, one built upon pro skills – for instance, a good fighting stick, like Razer’s Atrox controllers or the classic MadCatz sticks.
But custom controllers are also really quite something, and SCUF Gaming makes some of the best around. Earlier this year, I reviewed both the SCUF Elite Professional Gaming Controller and the SCUF Gaming Infinity1 Xbox One Controller, and while they both perform quite differently, they live up to the high standards that competitive gamers expect from them, complete with varying options, like the ability to customize certain features or take advantage of paddles that are inputted into the back of the controller.
Again, these options may make not sense for all – especially casual players who are just fine using face buttons – but for those who make the investment, you can really feel the difference on some occasions, like with first-person shooters and other types of experiences. And I’m happy to report that the SCUF Impact for PlayStation 4 continues that trend, encompassing a great amount of features into a solid controller design that devotees shouldn’t be without. It’s a bit costly – a genuine custom model will run you north of almost $200 – but you really get a peak performance out of it, compared to, say, the usual DualShock.
The features, broken down here on SCUF’s page, really outline the differences between the typical pad and this company’s. First off, you’ll notice the inclusion of four different paddle buttons on the back of the controller, similar to models we’ve reviewed in the past. For some players, these add to the efficiency of a game, since they don’t have to reach over to hit buttons on a pad in the case of a knee-jerk reaction. They can comfortably reach for the button on the back of the pad – after mapping it with the included key – and move on with ease. Of course, you can take them off if you feel like they won’t make a difference, as they’re both easy to remove and put back on the controller.
Adjusting For Better Performance
What’s more, the controller doesn’t actually feel uncomfortable with them missing. SCUF put a lot of effort into its design so that it was practical in all cases, and even if they’re removed, it’s still quite a comfy pad, whether you’re engaging in an hours-long session of a platformer like Ratchet & Clank, or taking part in a full-on brawl with Injustice 2. The grip and grooves of the controller are just about right.
The adjustable grip on the back of the controller is really something. You can go with a default design or do what I did and get sort of a paint splatter look that adds a little bit extra grip. It may not always go with the design of the front of the pad, but it looks cool anyway, and makes the controller that much easy to hold. It’s ideal for longer game sessions.
Like previous SCUF pads, you can adjust certain things on the controller if you wish to heighten your game performance, including swapping out thumbsticks for slightly longer models (something certain shooter fans like to do) and even adjusting the triggers. I had to do this at first with the SCUF Impact, as the left trigger button was a bit on the repetitive side, particularly with Injustice 2 when I accidentally kept changing stances during a match. But this was real easy to adjust, and, provided you have the secondary accessories to do so (which you can get on the SCUF Gaming website), you can really bump up how it feels.
Of course, if you prefer, you can go with the SCUF Impact’s default design (if you don’t really feel like tinkering around) and really get an amazing gameplay experience out of it. I tested it with a number of games, like DiRT Rally, Injustice 2, Ratchet & Clank, Tekken 7 and Nex Machina, and with each experience, I didn’t experience that many faults at all, that small trigger issue aside. After the adjustment, it performed exactly the way I wanted it to, without missing a beat. What’s more, it actually feels quite comfortable with fighting games, whether you use the default D-pad (which you can get in different colors, if you prefer) or the SCUF Gaming disc, which actually allows for a slight bit more versatility. (I still prefer the traditional D-pad, but you can choose whichever as you customize your controller.)
No Matter What Design, You'll Find Nothing But Quality
The design of the SCUF Impact is something as well. Along with an easy-to-access headphone port on the front of the pad (slightly deviating with a solid color, like the one I chose, but a necessity), the controller itself features traditional placement for touchpad, buttons, and sticks, as well as a cable retention system. This means you can plug in the USB cable, and there’s a small surrounding casing around it that keeps it in place, even during high-endurance sessions (talking to you, Gran Turismo fans). It’s an ideal choice in design and doesn’t get in the way with how the controller feels at all.
The SCUF Impact design system lets you choose what colors you want to make your controller. As you can see, I went with more of a Denver Broncos design for mine, because, well, sports fan, but there are other default designs as well. The Honeycomb White, pictured above, looks pretty slick, and there are plenty of other designs available. If you feel so compelled, you can even make a fine Injustice 2 inspired model, if you’re up for a Superman or Joker design. You can see these examples below.
Of course, this comes back to price. The controller ranges from $139 to $189, depending on how deep your customization options go. That’s a bit hard for typical gamers on a budget to swallow, but when it comes to a deeper gameplay experience, there’s a lot to offer here. Plus, being able to customize your design depending on what you’re in the mood for – whether it’s Denver Broncos, Injustice 2 or even something on the Iron Man side, if you’re nuts enough – is a neat idea. SCUF has always specialized in this field, and seeing the SCUF Impact join this party is something. Don’t break yourself if you can’t afford it, but if you’re still sitting on a nice little tax refund, this is a worthwhile reward for your gaming skills.
While the SCUF Impact will cater more to pro gamers looking to customize their experience with stick and trigger adjustments – along with those sweet paddles – it also has something truly remarkable to offer to casual players as well. It’s practical and comfortable at the same time; the customization options are bountiful; and the performance is second to none, especially if you keep the rumbles in (you can take them out for $4, but I only see true die-hards looking to focus on their game doing that). It may be like more expensive than the usual PS4 peripherals, but SCUF certainly makes sure that it’s worth it.
RATING: Four and a half stars out of five.
Disclaimer: A review unit was provided by the publisher.