|Mad Catz MLG Pro Circuit Controller Review|
|Posted: 18.04.2012 15:43 by APZonerunner||Comments: 2|
While it may sound like hyperbole, I’m quite happy to go on the record and say that I think the Mad Catz MLG Pro Circuit Controller is easily the best third party controller I’ve ever used that doesn’t serve a specific purpose like a steering wheel or arcade stick might.
Designed in conjunction with the lag and performance obsessed folks at Major League Gaming, the controller is designed to allow heavy amounts of customization whilst being of the highest quality with equally high performance. On that, it delivers.
There is a wrinkle in what the MLG Pro Circuit Controller has to offer, though – the price. Clocking in at $99.99, €99.99 or £89.99, the controller is an expensive kit even for the hardcore, costing a significant chunk of the original price of the machine it’s for, or as much as much larger controllers such as Arcade Sticks and Steering wheels. Does it justify the cost?
Regular readers of my hardware and peripheral reviews here on Strategy Informer might remember my coverage of the Cyborg R.A.T. 7 – also by Mad Catz - a hardcore PC gaming mouse that looked like it should belong to Batman, performed like no other mouse I’d ever used and offered clever modular construction.
The MLG Pro Circuit Controller borrows from that design philosophy with its similar modular design, allowing for the most comfortable and customizable experience on a controller for the PS3 and 360. The controller comes with four analog sticks and two d-pads – and that’s just the start.
Obviously you can’t plug in all four sticks and two d-pads at once, but the idea is simple – if you want a PS3-style layout with the two sticks at the bottom and the a d-pad made of four separate buttons at the top, you can have that. If you want a 360 layout, you can have it that way, too.
If you want two d-pads for some reason – one styled like an Xbox 360 d-pad and one like a PS3 one, you can. The four sticks are split into two styles – ones with concave nubs and ones with convex nubs, again mirroring the style differences between the official 360 and PS3 controllers.
The modular sticks slot and lock into place easily and are then covered with a face-plate across the front of the controller that magnetically clicks into place with a satisfying firmness. The controller ships with two variations of the faceplate – shiny and matte – and also two variations of each of the paddles you actually hold in the same texture that snap on in the same manner.
Mad Catz are shipping more variations of the modules separately, so you’ll likely be able to find your favourite choice of analog stick, d-pad or controller texture design with ease.
The underside of the controller is cast in a soft plastic that has a tiny bit of give to it that is very comfortable to hold. The final touch to the controller’s customization comes in the form of two 35 gram weights which slot into the area which on a traditional controller would be the battery pack.
The controller has a decent heft to it even without the weights, but the addition of the weights really give it a weight that make its already high build quality feel better. You can remove the weights if you want individually, meaning there’s three different potential weight configurations on offer here.
With no battery compartment the controller is wired, a deliberate choice given its lag-obsessive co-designers at MLG. It features a thick, high-quality and detachable 9-foot long cable that doesn’t just plug in – it screws very firmly into the port at the top of the controller.
All this customization would be pretty useless if the controller didn’t actually perform well, and thankfully it does. No matter what configuration I had it in or how I was using it, the sticks had a great range of motion with a tiny dead zone, the buttons were firm and responsive and the triggers had a great action to them.
Put through its paces in Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer, The Witcher 2, Modern Warfare 3, Gears of War 3 and a spot of Street Fighter X Tekken the quality and cleverness of the design of the controller quickly became clear.
The Start and Select/Back buttons have even been moved up to the top of the controller, out of the way of accidental presses. It even ships with a carry case which will hold the controller and all its interchangeable parts.
Its design errs closer to that of the 360 than the PS3 on both formats in shape, and I find it one of the most comfortable and ergonomic controllers I’ve ever used.
The PS3 version gets an exclusive feature in the form of the ability to switch the function of the L1/L2 and R1/R2, allowing you to reverse what the top and bottom rows of triggers do. With a lot of shooters mapping shooting actions to the shoulder buttons over the triggers on PS3, I can see this proving a vital feature. SixAxis support is absent, though, presumably deemed useless by the MLG folks.
My only issues with this controller are that it’s not cross-platform – there are separate models for both PS3 and 360 – and the price. At 100 dollars it’s steep, but when I hold it in my hands I can absolutely feel why – it’s just sometimes hard to justify. If you consider yourself one of the top tier hardcore elite, though, this thing is perfect for you – and it’s hard to go back to another pad after it.