What’s good, everyone? Joshua Evo back again with another product review for your consumption. Now, as of so far, I’ve only ever done reviews on games and arcade sticks and have been meaning to expand into more peripherals. I put it off for a long time, mostly because I really couldn’t find anything that necessitated a review since there hasn’t been too much news in peripheral world lately (unless you’re interested in the Avenger). Recently though, a new controller has been released that looks to make some serious noise in the gaming world. Today, I have a review for you all of the MLG Pro Circuit Controller by Mad Catz.
It should be noted that this review was conducted on the Playstation 3 model.
First, a little history lesson for you all. Mad Catz has long been a mainstay of the gaming community. They’ve been around since 1989 and have been making peripherals of all kinds: from controllers and headsets to the infamous cheat module, the Gameshark. In the early going, the company had a less than favorable rep among gamers who cited that their controllers were less than ideal products. A midst these criticisms, the company worked to improve the quality of their products and struck gold in 2008 when they were commissioned by Capcom to create a line of arcade sticks and “fight pad” peripherals for the fighting game community. They have since become the most prolific maker of arcade sticks in the U.S. and have branched out into different brands like Triton, which makes high-quality gaming headsets. Recently, they teamed with Major League Gaming to put out a controller that was designed with competition and customization in mind. The fruits of that labor are the Mad Catz MLG Pro Circuit Controller for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. Just by looking at it, you can tell that it’s not your average controller. It also bears a mention that this peripheral is at a higher price point than most normal replacement controllers, but is more than fair for what it offers gamers in the long run. Aside from the unique appearance, it has a multitude of features that set it in a class of its own.
So the first thing that I noticed about this controller when I received it was the box. It’s a pretty impressive, sort of hinged box that’s got a sleeve around it that needs to be removed before getting to the controller. Once in the box, the design of the controller struck me immediately. First of all, it’s shaped like an Xbox 360 controller with the buttons and sticks in a PS3 controller configuration. I personally, prefer the shape of the Xbox 360′s standard controller but am also primarily a PS3 gamer, so ends up being a win-win situation . I play a LOT of first-person shooters and one of my biggest problems with the PS3 controller is setting it down the wrong way and accidentally depressing the R2 button, which causes me to toss out a grenade or something. Thanks to this design, that’s a thing of the past. Speaking of intelligent design choices, the rubberized grips on this controller is a stroke of genius. Many gamers (myself included) get really into their games and in some less than nimble moments, either drop the controller or have it slip when going for an input. The grips help deter the occurrences of this and are just comfortable to hold for long periods of time. As a Skyrim player, I appreciate the hell out of this feature. The “long play” factor was a definite consideration, seeing as how this is a screw-in wired controller with a generous amount of cord length that also happens to be covered in a tough, fabric material. These relatively small design choices notwithstanding, the biggest draw for this controller however, has been the high levels of customization in both appearance and most importantly, input configuration.
The faceplates and grip covers are held in place by magnets and can be swapped out to change the appearance of the controller. Currently, it only comes with a glossy and matte black finish but Mad Catz has said that they plan to release more designs in the future. On a more functional level though, let’s take a look at the custom positions of the D-Pad and Analog sticks. The PS3 model comes out of the box with the traditional PS3 controller configuration; with the convex analog sticks at the center and the D-pad on the left hand side. However, the controller comes with several options, including a X-Box 360 style D-pad and concave analog stick modules. Additionally, with a twist and click, these interfaces can be moved around and placed in different slots on the controller so there’s a setup for any type of game and gamer. Most FPS players prefer the Xbox 360 setup of having the left analog stick as the primary navigation option, while a lot of players who play fighting games on pads prefer to have the Playstation style D-pad in the primary control slot. The controller allows for any of these configurations and once locked into place, each method of control and every button on the controller very responsive. The LED indicators for the PS3 model are on towards the bottom of the controller, while the Start, Select and Home buttons are higher up on the face and are well out of the way of any accidental presses. I conducted extended game play sessions with Modern Warfare 3, Skyrim and Blazblue: Continuum Shift, using a different controller configuration each time and each one was fluid and highly responsive. Also, the rugged construction proudly proclaims that controller is definitely built to take some serious play. Finally, is a padded carrying case that sports the MLG logo is included, which is lined with microfiber to keep things clean and protected. A mesh pocket and Velcro dividers are also included so that even the case has compartments that can be set to different sizes to carry all the included extras.
The Mad Catz MLG Pro Circuit Controller retails at $99.99. As previously mentioned, it’s at a much higher price point than a normal controller, but its multitude of different customization options and configurations, as well as its durable construction and responsiveness make it an extremely smart purchase that promises not to disappoint. I’ve been very happy with this controller so far and it’s definitely become my peripheral of choice when doing 80% of my gaming
– Evo out