I’ll be honest, I haven’t used a joystick since the days of Microprose’s F-19
and Origin’s Strike Commander
. Back in those days the construction was plastic and the controllers were bulky and unfunctional. Yes, I’ve missed out on quite a lot, HOTAS setups, yoke and rudder sets, the rise of Microsoft’s Sidewinder units. You can say I’ve been living under a hardware repellant rock for the better part of five years but that moment changes now, and it begins with Saitek’s Cyborg Evo
In terms of features and functionality this puppy has it all, and more importantly, it features some great craftsmanship. Aside from the weight of the base, nothing on the joystick feels cheap and weak. Instead the unit feels comfortable and sturdy, just like an instrument of destruction should. When I first played around with it I feared that the small eight-way-direction POV hat would be too small and uncomfortable. However, it took only a small feel of the hat to be satisfied with its construction. It’s big enough to where it’s comfortable for you to maneuver with your thumb and it’s large enough to be practical in the midst of gameplay. Best of all the spring mechanism on it is strong and lends a very satisfying amount of resistance to it.
In fact all of the buttons exhibit a really satisfying amount of resistance. While the plastic construction might feel a little cheesy at first, it’ll only take one quick click to turn a skeptic into a believer. There are five buttons that are easily accessible by the thumb while the trigger is just far enough to be activated by your index finger. On the top of the device are two metal knobs that can be used to adjust the angle and orientation of the upper half of the unit. One allows you to actually adjust the height of the piece that holds the buttons while the other button allows you to adjust the angle for maximum comfort. A third metallic knob lies more towards the base of the unit and allows you to adjust the wrist rest, making the stick accessible to both righties and south paws.
On the actual base are a throttle are six extra buttons that can be mapped out to your liking. I liked the amount of resistance exhibited by the throttle as it allowed me to be more precise when using it. The additional buttons really come in handy when you’re playing true-to-life flight sims like Microsoft Flight Simulator
and you want to rid yourself of the keyboard entirely. Also, the actual stick itself can swivel left and right, a feature that comes in handy when you want to want to turn the torso on your mechs. For those who are easily amused by bright lights you should be happy to know that the six base buttons emit a red glow as well.
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