Chris “Parasite” Durate. Patrick “Aches” Price. Matt “NadeShot” Haag. Do these names sound familiar? If not, these names are some of the most storied names in competitive Call of Duty history; forever etched do to their unique styles of play. From Parasite’s deceptive movement in Search and Destroy, to NadeShot’s tenacity in Domination, these players compete to achieve one goal, win. However, as every great warrior wields their preferred weapon in combat, so do these players. No other weapon is more important than the gaming controller; gaming headsets being a close second.
While Scud Gaming’s controller forever changed the FPS landscape of Major League Gaming, one company in 2009 dared to challenge their rule. Their name was N-Control, and their Avenger Controller quietly became a revolutionary device that was underappreciated by the gaming and competitive communities. Fast forward to 2014, and both communities have taken notice in the Avenger Reflex; N-Control’s latest offering towards the current generation of consoles. This newest offering is a much more streamlined product from its predecessor; the Avenger DEFCON F4. However, Scuf Gaming has also armed themselves in the Scuf 4PS; their updated variant of their predecessor; the Scuf PS. Will the Reflex out-edge the 4PS? Or will the term “You get what you pay for” win with the 4PS beating out the Reflex being over $200 vs. $69.99? Find out today in our review!
Calling the Reflex a futuristic arachnid, preferably a spider, isn’t a bad thing. A streamlined look rocking jet black compliments the Dualshock 4 perfectly. Various appendages and dual trigger skis also further its cyborg look. In addition, not only does it look swell on the DualShock 4, it blends seamlessly with it as well. On top of that, there are small rectangular holes found in these “Trigger Skis.” What they do will be explained later on. As for the rest of the appearance, not much else. Not a bad thing, but nothing else to cover. Now, how does it fare against the Scuf 4PS?
Sadly for the Reflex, not good. While I do like the jet black decision made by N-Control, I just wish there were other color variations. For example, in the case of the Scuf 4PS, there are many options to customize the controller towards your liking. For this review, I had used the Digital Camo Green variant. In addition, custom LED lights for the PS button are also an added bonus. Also, the paddles on the back (I had tested the two paddle variation) blend well on the DualShock 4, but for the Reflex, they do not compare to their bionic arms. Even so, the overall appearance of the Reflex does not stand up towards the 4PS, so the Reflex loses this round, as style and representation are two keynotes for the competitive community. It still has a chance to come back, but not at the moment for the time being.
Using the Reflex on the DualShock is going to feel weird for newcomers. For veterans who have used the DEFCON F4, such as myself, you will feel right at home with the Reflex attached towards your controller. The bionic arm placement was a natural fit, but for newcomers, this could take some time getting used to; especially with the bionic edge placement near the X button, which requires some finesse from your right palm. Utilizing the design of the Trigger Skis also takes time. However, there is a work around. You can actually change these hair triggers into loops. Just take the rubber strip out of one of the holes and form a loop to insert it into that second hole. This does alleviate where your placement of either your index or middle fingers go; depending on your play style. This is a learning curve, and you will need to take some time to get your comfort levels in alignment with the Reflex. For the 4PS, if you own or have experience with the DualShock 4, you will nearly feel right at home.
The difference maker is those paddles on the back, and those may or may not take time: which is again, dependent on your playing preferences. Either way, the 4PS gets the nod due to its familiarity towards people who have used the DualShock 4 as opposed to utilizing said controller with a new form of grip and control, and in competitive gaming, even the slightest loss of grip can lead to a loss. At two losses already, the Reflex isn’t holding up towards its arch-enemy, and things will not get any easier for the cyborg warrior.
The Reflex’s build is much stronger than than its predecessor. The arms and triggers have a deceptive look to them; flimsy and breakable. However, these arms are much stronger; able to take greater forms of tension. In addition, the overall plastic body has also gotten a boost. Tosses on the coffee table or on the floor were no match for the Reflex, as tanking those hits were a cinch. For the 4PS, it is the same story in terms of its upgrades. However, Scuf Gaming claims these paddles are indestructible. Taking that into consideration, I decided to put the 4PS to the ultimate test; using the front end of a Philips Screwdriver. To my amazement, even after banging the front on the paddles only, the paddles had the same amount of tactile click and worked throughout testing. Other factors are mainly in part towards the DualShock 4.
Every form of build quality you would find on a normal DualShock 4 will be the same for the super charged variation Scuf Gaming provides. I can say with confidence that attempting to bang the Reflex with a Philips Screwdriver will cause some damage. Even though the gaming crowd or competitive players like F0rmal are not going to perform such a test, it is nice to see Scuf go to such lengths to ensure that your controller can survive such abuse. Therefore, mark it three rounds that N-Control’s product has lost. However, it may have found a fortunate change of events.
Those long arms, edge component, and ski attachments catapult the Reflex into a class that is yet matched. As a bonus, those small black screws on the arms can be twisted to change the sensitivity at which the buttons are pressed. However, even though the comfort will take getting used to, notice the position of your fingers. Each finger is connected towards either the arm or the ski (loops otherwise) in some form of way. After studying this myself with the help of a friend, this placement emulates the placement PC players use in the traditional WASD configuration for FPS shooters.
It is something to be commended for; an idea that borrows a concept that adjusts towards the reflexes enjoyed by PC gamers and one of the reasons why N-Control’s idea was so revolutionary back in 2009, and even to today. If this actually works will be explained later on. As for the 4PS, it applies much of what was used when the Scuf PS came out, but there are some new additions. You can adjust the trigger tensions internally via a screwdriver and a special tool, and there is a feature called EMR, or Electromagnetic Remapping. Essentially put, you place this key on the back of the 4PS, select which option or face button you want to map, and it automatically configures towards that option. Even though the paddles themselves are more ergonomically placed, and hey have added additional options, such as options via their website to increase the stick height of the controller, the Reflex goes beyond with how you can place the rubber strips on the skis, and KontrolFreek offers much better variations for your height preferences on the sticks. It is not docking the usage of electro magnetism of the controller. It is a really unique idea and one that is noteworthy in itself, but while it does change how fast you can map those buttons (how well will be explained later), it doesn’t challenge the traditional way of how you hold the controller and revolutionize it the way that the Reflex does. Something that changes a concept is a revolution, and the Reflex does just that. While players such as “Crimsix” may not consider this much of a bonus, other gamers can definitely find a benefit in it. With one round under its belt after three losses, the Reflex can still eek out another victory, but it will not be easy.
Before I get into how each performed, keep in mind that these products offer two distinct traits; reaction time and reflexes. We already went over what the differences are earlier, but now it is time to see how both performed against one another, and the Reflex will start us out. Firing up its preferred genre in FPS games in Advanced Warfare, I saw impressive results. Much like the DEFCON F4, my reaction speeds were faster than without, but with the upgraded sensitivity of the arms and the edge, my KD soared dramatically and was able to gain faster reaction times than I was with the F4. Face-Offs were won roughly 70% thanks in part towards the Reflex, which is an increase of 10% from 60%, and run and gun became more effective without; easily reloading, switching weapons, and jump shooting towards victory in gunfights. Trigger happy people like myself are also in for a rest treat, as those looped rubber strips actually benefit your index or middle fingers in conjunction with the skis, allowing for faster or those of you new to the Avenger product line, prepare for some learning pains. My aforementioned friend had to play 3 matches before finally getting accustomed towards the overall feel of the device.
Other games such as Shadow of Mordor yielded similar results. Taleion’s moves never felt more fluid with the Reflex, and even inFAMOUS Second Son was more enjoyable with the Reflex than without, as soaring and gliding across the wide open landscape became more graceful with the usage of the Reflex. Against the 4PS, in other genres, the Reflex easily wins. Even when adjusting the trigger tension and paddles via the EMR feature In FPS? A tie. While I do like the usage of EMR and the paddles, it didn’t feel as fast or as fluid like the Reflex. However, those custom analog sticks that Scuf provides can be a difference maker. For those of you who live and die a sniper, the 4PS is your friend. An increased height in the sticks made lining up headshots that much easier, as I went on a tear with the Lynx. Burst-Fire and Semi-Auto users should also feel enlightened as well. From the IMR to the MK14, the heightened sticks will really help out.
Other than though, I did notice my gunfight winning percentage wasn’t has high as I had hoped. I did get a 65% score, up from 50% without, but down 5% frm the Reflex. The issue? Reflexes. The paddles do increase the speed of your reaction times, but not your reflexes. While I did map my paddles towards crouching and switching (I play clawgrip) and noticed better reaction speeds towards an enemy, my reflexes were no up to par, mainly due to the fact that a finger could still be on the controller itself and not being able able to transition accordingly with the paddles quickly enough; something that the Reflex does well. However, even with that said, I did see an improvement due towards accuracy and reaction time; two of three key elements in competitive gaming players need. The Reflex holds down reflexes and reaction speed while missing the mark on accuracy. That being said, it is a tie.
Before we get into the final verdict, price has to be talked about. You get more variations of colors, more additional performance tweaks, and more natural method of playing a game with a few notable differences. However, that does come at a price: $150-200 depending on your route. For someone like NadeShot, this is easy, as Optic Gaming has him covered. For many of you out there however, a steep price. For the Reflex, $70 that nabs you more performance in trade for a learning curve and looks. However you break it, your pockets will feel the burn. However, if I were to pick one, it would be the Relex. Despite its learning curve and lack of options, even though it ties performance wise with the 4PS, N-Control’s product was focused more on how the product functions. That is not to say that Scuf Gaming didn’t have that focus, but they also have to appeal towards an audience who want to represent their respective teams and doing so requires compromise, so the Reflex takes this one.
With that being said, what is B.A.T.G.R.’s final thoughts on the Reflex? At $70, you will get a product that may not have the glamour and require some learning, but if those two criticisms are not factors, this Cyborg enhanced controller add-on will help you increase your reaction speeds and reflexes; ultimately winning you more gunfights or assisting you in other genres. You can find out more about the avenger at their official website: https://www.avengercontroller.com/
Review Score: 9 out of 10
What are your thoughts on the Reflex? Do you own any products from N-Control? What changes would you like to see in the Reflex’s successor? Sound off in the comments below! As always, on behalf of all writers of B.A.T.G.R., thank you for reading. Until next time, this is Devon… Checking Out.
About the Writer:
A man growing up between the gaming boundaries on the 5th generation Nintendo 64, but admiring the 3rd gen. Nintendo Entertainment System and 4th generation Sega Genesis for their contributions, Devon Day always has something on his mind regarding video games and the accessories they contain. His first was a microphone for the Nintendo 64 for the “Hey You, Pikachu!” video game, but expanded towards the next line up of gaming peripherals including the Astro A40, MadCatz MLG Pro Circiut Controller, MadCatz STRIKE 7, and many other gaming gadgets. Now loving gaming tech more than ever, he sees this generation crucial to bring the full circle of social connectivity that the 7th. generation of video game consoles started.