PS4 gamers don't have much choice when it comes to alternative controllers. You can opt for an over-priced and limited-featured scuff, or the DualShock 4. However, last year Sony partnered with two of the biggest gaming tech giants in the world, Razer, and Nacon. A few months later and we now have two extra options to choose from in terms of PS4 controllers. The Razer Raiju, and the Nacon Revolution Pro-Controller.
I have spent two weeks with the Nacon, and it has grown on me in more ways than one. Its customization options are astounding, while its price range is affordable at R1499. Given that a standard DualShock 4 retails for R1100 in South Africa, the Nacon has become an option for anyone looking for a new controller. If I was in the market for a DualShock 4, you would not see me spending R1100 on a standard, boring controller when the Nacon is just a few hundred rand more.
It's a Pro
So what is the Nacon, and what makes it so awesome? Well, when comparing it to the Razer Raiju which I have played with too, I actually preferred the Nacon. Sure the Razer is R1000 more at R2499, but the simplified Nacon layout and solid design aspects of the controller made it more appealing to me. The controller has some complicated features to it, especially when you start looking at the customization options on the Nacon PC program, but if you want simple, it comes with it out of the box.
What makes a Pro Controller so “Pro”, is the vast array of customization options when it comes to the extra buttons, dead zones on the analogue, and even hair trigger toggles that adjust the length which the L2 and R2 buttons need to travel back before detecting a shot. Once you have the options to adjust all that, you can call the controller in your hands a “Pro Controller”
Nacon: What's in the box
The Nacon comes in a pretty box with everything you would need for the controller to function. It is a wired controller so its comes with a 3-meter braided cord, which has a proprietary connection on it. There is a handy carry pouch, and the weights that you will use to adjust the controller's heaviness to your liking. Other contents in the box include a toggle to open up the grips to place in the weights, and some paperwork like the instructions, and a few stickers for your laptop, or whatever.
Setting Up the Nacon
Once unboxed, the first thing I noticed was the controller was an Xbox One clone. Yes, the Nacon Pro Controller has the Xbox controller design, that sees the left analogue stick at the top left of the controller, over the typical centered position on the DualShock 4. I have always loved the design of the Xbox controller, and the higher thumb position works well with my larger hands, but I am not fussy at all. It is not only the analogue placement that screams Xbox, it is also the back buttons, L2 and R2, which have almost the same identical design to them.
The controller is coated in a rubber material for grip and feels great in my hands. I also noticed that before I placed the weights into the grips, the controller is very, very light. I am so happy that optional weights were available, as they give the controller a premium heaviness to it, which is necessary for comfortableness of the controller.
Inserting the weights was easy enough as they are slotted into the shaft of the grips. Using the tool that the controller comes with, I turned the bottom like a coin slot, and the case slid open for me to insert the weights. The controller comes with three pairs of weights that range from 10 grams and up. I wanted the controller to be as heavy as possible, so I put four in, two on each side. Once the slot is back in and sealed you will never know that it was open in the first place as it seals tightly.
Screwing on the cable was also simple, and it comes with a plastic seal to protect it from heavy movement and possible breakage. Once it was in place, I never even thought about removing it as it was unnecessary to do so.
Design and Function
The controller has everything you need on it. All the PlayStation buttons are on the front, with a home button, winged 8 directional D-Pad for easy access with the tip of your finger, and two analogues, one concave, and one normal extruded stick. Both analogue shafts are made from a metal material, so that it does not ware and tear while in use, and it also helps make the movement quicker as the sticks are as light as a feather. It is important to note that this controller does not have a back lightbar, or built-in speaker like the DualShock 4. It does however have a 3.5mm audio jack for chat.
Apart from the standard features, it is the extra buttons on the controller that makes it a pro controller. The Nacon comes with four extra macro buttons, namely M1 to M4. These buttons are placed at the back of the controller, where your middle finger, and ring finger would normally sit, which makes the buttons instantly functional as they are right there all the time for you to press. As I have larger hands, I opted to always use my middle finger to press these buttons, as my ring finger was too far back on the controller, but I can see how the design of the controller has made it comfortable for a range of different hand sizes.
The show-off feature on the controller has to be the LED light ring that glows under the right analogue stick. The ring changes colour depending on the mode that I used, and this is all determined in the program which is installed on your PC. The Revolution controller is nothing without this software, as it allows you to mod almost every feature of the controller. It is here that you assign the buttons to the four macros at the back, adjust the dead zone for the analogue stick, and even the hair trigger falloff of the R2 and L2 buttons. The program lets you save four profiles at once on the controller, and you can switch to them easily with a press of a button on the controller itself.
It took some getting used to as the program is complicated at first. So many advanced settings that will first come across intimidating, become a breeze after I read up on them, and watched a few YouTube videos on just what they do. The software and manual in the box is very bad at giving advice on this feature, so make sure you use Google as there is help out there for you.
After I set up the controller the way I wanted it, I made use of two of the four modes. One for FPS games like Overwatch, and the other for third person games. Playing Overwatch with the controller was tough at first, especially given that I have used a DS4 for so long. It took me a while to adapt to having jump (X) on the M3 trigger, and melee (R3) on the M4 trigger, which meant that I never had any sort of interference with my camera movement in game, as everything I needed was at the back of the controller.
Games like Uncharted 4 I saved as a second profile where I could easily press M1 (O) to take cover. With four profiles available, I doubt I will ever use more than two, but it would cool to have the other two customized for my favorite heroes in Overwatch, and just switch to that profile when I play them in a game. Saying that, I still had a habit of pressing the normal buttons on the controller at times, but I suppose it just takes some getting used to.
The advantage is clear while using the controller, and it makes for a comfortable alternative. The Nacon Revolution is packed with so many customization features, and a wide array of profiles that you can really get into.
When you want to take on the advanced trigger modification, and analogue dead zones, you can too. If you let the controller take over, and embrace everything it has to offer, it will make for a great addition to your PS4. Sure the wired cable is an issue, but I suppose it helps eliminate latency, and perhaps it is better given the power in the controller.
For R1499 (Loot.co.za) you cannot go wrong with the Nacon Pro Controller. It is just a few hundred rand more than a new DualShock 4, and with that controller's limited features, and lack of any modifications, you should look at this; even if this means you will make use of one of the macro buttons at first, it will grow on you the more you use it.