We have all subscribed to the “I’ll never use this in life” mentality at some point during our educational careers. I know that I resorted to it more than my share of times, particularly in science classes like chemistry and physics. While I was able to fathom the application of some of these concepts in the real world, my career path and hobby interests surely wouldn’t be enhanced with the application of concepts like mechanical physics, especially when it came to video games. Boy was I wrong!
KontrolFreek’s FPS Freek line of products rely on nothing more than simple physics combined with an ergonomic design. They aren’t complicated pieces of machinery, they aren’t flashy to look at, and they aren’t expensive. Most gamers will likely overlook them due to their simplicity and that would be their loss. These may be nothing more than simple extensions for your controllers’ analog sticks but they work like a charm.
I have been running both the FPS Freek Infinity and Havoc through the paces over the past few weeks. Despite the difference in name, the products are nearly identical with the only difference being their color and branding. The blue Infinity is emblazoned with the emblem of the UNSC, paying homage to Halo 4 . The Havoc on the other hand is black and bares a skull in the name of the Call of Duty series.
Both products come as a set of two simple extensions that snap onto the top of your analog sticks, one for the left and one for the right. These are designed to work with both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 controllers, as well as a variety of third party controller offerings available on the market so regardless of your platform of choice, they can be used. If you are using a third party controller and want to verify compatibility prior to usage, KontrolFreek offers a compatibility chart on their website at this link
The sticks can be installed painlessly in a matter of seconds and can be removed just as quickly easily should you ever want to take them off. I should note that users should be careful when attaching and removing them however as too much force can easily snap off either their connectors or you actual analog sticks. As long as you take you time them, they will easily slide on and off at will.
As I mentioned above, the secret to the success of these little nubs is a simple matter of physics. By adding roughly half an inch to the length of your analog sticks, the products give gamers a wider range of motion for stick movement. This means that you can increase your look-sensitivity settings in games without losing the physical real-estate that your stick can cover. The resulting wider-range of motion makes it easier for you to fine tune your aim at extremely high sensitivity settings. While the effect can be felt by anyone who plays FPS games, the benefits will be felt the most by those who use longer range weapons. Your crosshair can be moved at higher speeds in smaller increments, making it easier to track your targets that are on the move.
In addition to the added length on the sticks, the concave, rubber design of the thumb rests on these sticks makes extended gameplay sessions more tolerable. This isn’t as big of a deal on the Xbox 360 since the standard controller uses a similar, albeit less drastic, concave design. The Dualshock 3 controller of the PS3 on the other hand utilizes a convex design, which isn’t anywhere near as comfortable. It is nice to have a nice sized groove on the tip of the stick to rest your thumb in, especially if you have sweaty hands (less sliding off). The sticks are also easier to grip thanks to the etched designs emblazoned on the them; you get both a good grip and a comfortable surface regardless of which model you use.
There isn’t really a whole lot to say about these products; they are extremely simple. However, I cannot argue with the results that they have displayed in my personal gaming. I have always been someone who favored a little higher sensitivity setting in my games, usually around a 7 or an 8; the maximum settings are traditionally too fast for my likings. That isn’t the case any more. The ability to move my analog sticks by smaller increments, combined with the maximum sensitivity settings, has upped my game drastically. I have found myself to be faster and more accurate with these on my controllers. Sniping moving targets has also proven to be easier in my experience.
If you play any of the modern shooter regularly, especially on a competitive level, you really should consider giving either of these products a try. The results are absolutely amazing considering the simplicity of their design. The added distance to the sticks really does make a difference, regardless of your skill level. Don’t overlook these as simple pieces of plastic from a company trying to make a buck; these are quality tools that will help you take your game to the next level.