Written by John Yan
on 9/17/2003 for
So you’re looking for a good controller for your PlayStation 2, eh? Well how about one that also lights up. Mad Catz, makers of some really good 3rd party controllers, has released a series of light up controllers in their Lumicon line and today we look at the PlayStation 2 version.
For those that have any Mad Catz PS2 controllers, the Lumicon version will be pretty much the same. The design is the same as the Dual Force 2 Pro controllers. The shape of the controller is pretty close to a regular Dual Shock PlayStation 2 one but the Lumicon is bigger. Even with my small hands I felt pretty comfortable holding the controller and I don’t have any trouble reaching any of the buttons or sticks.
The underside of each grip is covered in a nice easy to grip rubber that’s pretty comfortable to hold and feels similar to the tops of the analog sticks. The bulge in the grips are a little large than the regular PS2 controller. Comparing the two feel, I prefer the Lumicon’s larger handles. I just feel more comfortable with it when switching between the two.
Each button has a nice feel when push and gives good feedback. The have a strong spring underneath that makes it feel ever so slightly stiffer than a PS2 controller. The same can be said for the triggers as they also feel stiffer and provide good feedback. On the lower two triggers, there’s a small plastic lip on top of the buttons. Whether they help you physically feel which trigger you are pressing is a matter of opinion as I couldn’t really feel the lip with my finger on the bottom triggers.
While I’ve had problems with a few 3rd party controller’s analog stick resistance, the Lumicon’s stick resistance feels pretty close to a regular PlayStation 2 controller. You’ll have good controller over vehicles if you use the analog sticks. I felt in complete control of my car in Gran Turismo 3 using the analog sticks to steer. Mad Catz did a great job in providing good resistance on the sticks.
The digital pad is a full cross compared to the four directional buttons of the Dual Shock controller. As with the analog sticks, the resistance of the digital pad also feels pretty good. For diagonal and straight moves, the pad translates the presses pretty well and I never felt like the pad was not correctly producing the movement I intended as with some other directional pads I’ve dealt with.
While the regular PS2 controller’s middle area is pretty thin, the Lumicon’s bulges out. In the middle though is a macro button that enables you to program L2, L3, R2, and R3 buttons. There’s also the switch for digital and analog in the middle. Both the macro button and analog/digital switch button light up to let you know the status they are at.
The cord is slightly shorter than a regular PlayStation 2 controller but the plug features gold contacts. It’s a belief that gold contacts provide a better connection and it’s really debatable whether this is true or not. Nevertheless, Mad Catz was nice enough to put gold plating on the contacts. It also features a cool looking transparent plug and you can see the wires and contacts as they spiral together into the cord.
Performance wise, the controller does a great job and that’s not a surprise as the previous Mad Catz controllers I used also exhibited the same quality. The motors on the rumble effects are strong but not over powering. The controller responded as expected and I didn’t have any problems either using the macro option in fighting games or in regular use.
What sets this controller apart from others is the fact that there are four LEDs on the bottom and some on top that light up when plugged in. Let’s face the facts. The light up feature isn’t going to help or hinder your game and it’s strictly for cosmetic reasons. And if you like the look of light up controllers then the Lumicon will definitely satisfy your needs. I would’ve liked to have seen some more LED’s on top rather then the bottom though. There are a couple different colors to choose from so if you don’t like the blue color I have, Mad Catz has few others they offer.
At a price of $19.99 it costs the same as the other Mad Catz controller, the Dual Force 2 Pro. So for the same price, you get a controller that feels and works the same as the regular one but lights up. It’s also $5 less then an official controller and it has the macro feature that’s absent in a Sony controller. In the end, it’s still a nice quality controller at a great price whether it lights up or not.
This light up controller performs well and is less than a Dual Shock 2 controller. Glow or now glow, the controller feels comfortable and is quite responsive.
Rating: 8.9 Class Leading
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
I've been reviewing products since 1997 and started out at Gaming Nexus. After writing for a few different sites that went under, it's nice to bring back a site that's not dependent on revenue and just wants to deliver news and reviews of products.
I'm married, and enjoy first person shooters, sports games, and real time strategy games.