More and more cordless peripherals are popping up these days with Nintendo trying to market their Wavebird Wireless aggressively as a viable controlling solution. The Playstation 2 has a few cordless controllers and today I look at Logitech’s offering known simply as, the Logitech Cordless Controller.
If you read my earlier review on Logitech’s cordless controller for the PC, you’ll see that the design is almost exactly the same for the Playstation 2. Operating on a 2.4Ghz band, the Cordless Controller has all the basic PS2 buttons and triggers. The L2 and R2 triggers are placed at a sharper angle down and is placed inline with the shape of the front. The D-Pad is a complete circle rather than four tabs. Above he select and start buttons are a mode and vibration button. The vibration buttons turns on or off the rumble feature while the mode button switches between analog and digital mode. Like all PS2 controllers, the buttons are pressure sensitive when in analog mode.
The two thumbsticks feature a recessed top and I found the thumb fit nicely in these areas. I did wish that the sticks offered a little more resistance as it is a little to easy to move the stick around. Logitech did say they increased the tension on the sticks on units that were sent out after my review though. The response from pushing the sticks is pretty nice and offers a good feeling click to let you know that you’ve pressed the stick buttons.
While I found the triggers offered a nice physical feedback, the four primary buttons seem to feel a little dead to me. In comparing with the PC version, I thought that the PC controller offered a little better response. It could be because the PC buttons are a little smaller diameter yet protrudes from the controller more than the PS2 one does. From testing various games, it didn’t hurt the performance at all, but I think I would’ve liked a stronger, more responsive spring in the buttons.
The controller is rather comfortable to hold unless you have smaller than average hands. It’s not monster sized like the XBOX controller but it is an increase in size over the traditional PS2 controller. If you do enjoy Logitech’s design on the PC then you’ll enjoy the PS2 one as I stated earlier, they are nearly identical.
Four AA batteries power the controller and there are no rechargeable features. This is a good and bad thing in the fact that if you run out of battery power you don’t have to recharge the unit to get it to work. Just pop in four fresh batteries and you’re ready to go. The down side is you lose the convenience of having an all in one unit with the rechargeable battery built in like the Mad Catz controller. You can, of course, use your own rechargeable batteries instead. The manual states you should get about fifty hours of game time with four new batteries. Unless you’re a power gamer that plays NCAA 2003 eight hours a day like some of my old college friends, the controller should last you a bit of time.
Installation of the controller consisted of plugging the receiving unit into the PS2, pressing the connect button on the receiver, and pressing one of the action buttons on your PS2 controller. The instructions say you can attach up the four this way so I don’t know if you would have trouble for those games that accept up to eight players and you try to attach eight of them in. I only had one so I couldn’t test to see if the controllers interfered with each other. When talking on my 2.4 GHz telephone, I didn’t experience any problems.
To be a successful cordless controller, you better have no lag when pressing the button and having the action be produced on screen. I’ve used a few of Logitech’s other cordless controllers and they have great wireless technology and I expected few problems with the Logitech Cordless Controller. I decided to test out the controller with Grand Theft Auto 3, NCAA 2002, and Virtua Fighter 4. Starting out with VF4, I had a great time in using the controller. I couldn’t tell if there were any lag when playing the game as my punches, kicks, and blocks were produced flawlessly on screen after each button press. Also, there were no extraneous or magic button presses and everything that I wanted the controller to do it did without any errors. As expected, the cordless technology worked great and even had no problems when I was standing a good fifteen feet away. Akira kept punching away as I was standing in the doorway of my bedroom from across the living room.
Grand Theft Auto 3 also played well. It didn’t take me long to get used to the resistance of the analog sticks when driving. Like I said, it’s a little loose for my taste but I did just fine driving the vehicles around Capital City. The pressure sensitive buttons worked as advertised with my acceleration speed being based on how hard I pressed the buttons. The analog sticks worked just fine as my character walked or ran depending on how far I held the stick. All in all, a good experience with GTA3.
As with the other two games, NCAA played will with the controller. I didn’t have any problems taking my Ohio State Buckeyes to a few wins. The controller reacted well as I didn’t have any problems with the pressure sensitive buttons when dictating whether a pass was a gun or a lob. Juking defenders was also no problem as my player reacted quickly and without any noticeable lag when I pressed the button.
It’s nice to see cordless controllers finally being as responsive as corded ones. Other then battery death, I really can’t see going back to corded controllers and Logitech’s Cordless Controller is a good one to have. It doesn’t have any programming features and the design might be a little too big for smaller hands, but it works as advertised and at a great range. A look at EBGames showed that the controller is going for $59.99. Compared to Mad Catz’s wirelss controller with rechargeable battery and macro feature it does seem a little expensive. Also, Nintendo’s WaveBird Wireless goes for $35 for their home system. It’s a little expensive when compared to those and I would’ve liked it if they dropped the price a bit. Still, the controller does what it’s set out to do and does it well. If you’re looking for a good cordless controller for the PS2, look no further than the Logitech Cordless Controller.
It's got good responsiveness, comfortable grip for average to big hands, and good range. The analog sticks in my unit was a little too loose but I was assured that it has been fixed in subsequent releases. It's also a little expensive.