For those of you who didn't read the first ever Game Gadgets (and why not? You can read it here) I wrote about the Frag Fx. A controller for the PS3 that, to put it simply, turns the right side of the Dualshock into a mouse and the Left side into a 'FragChuck' to give an easy transition from PC to console gaming. But previously I hadn't actually used one; now I have gotten my hands on the product and I can tell you that it is as good as the hype suggests.
On first impressions the controller looks a little intimidating. The face buttons are placed on the left side of the mouse where your thumb would usually sit. Default controls set R1 to the left mouse button, R2 to the Right and the R3 is a button where a scroll wheel would be. It was very easy to pick up the mouse and use the face buttons; it just feels as if you're holding a Dualshock upside down. A mouse pad mounted on a plastic mat makes it easy to just sit back on the couch comfortably as you would with a normal controller. In addition the mouse can be used on any surface a normal optical mouse can, you don't need to use the provided pad.
The FragChuck has L1 and L2 buttons on the top where you should be used to them and when it was in my hand my thumb felt very comfortable on the analogue stick. The FragChuck also has a sensitivity dial allowing you to adjust the sensitivity on the fly. There are a few things of concern, firstly, with the FragChuck I found that it was awkward at times to use the D-pad and select buttons; admittedly not a big problem since they aren't used much. Some of the buttons feel a little bit loose as they do with most third party controllers, nothing too worrying, but it's something worth mentioning. The last complaint I have is that for some people the USB cord might be too short and I should stress that if you're a left-hander, sorry, you're out of luck. The FragChuck is shaped for a left hand and the mouse has the face buttons for a right hander.
Downloading software from the SplitFish website lets you customise the layout of most of the buttons on the controller as well as adjust sensitivity; the only exceptions are the PS, Select, and D-pad buttons. This is handy since the original layout of the controller was clearly set up for FPS games; but after fiddling with a few settings I was able to easily play Command and Conquer Red Alert 3. Not that that's an excuse for EA to implement mouse and keyboard control, it wouldn't have been that hard!... Its ok I'm calm now. With this controller I felt like I was playing it on a high end PC on my TV without actually having one.
Before I get into playing games with the controller, there are just a few things that I think are great extras that have been added. The first being a mode for web browsing. What you browse is your business but it is made so much easier with the Frag Fx. A rapid option is included and can be set to any of the buttons on the mouse except the start button. A swap mode, meaning the left analogue controls the pointer which is a nice addition.
A 'Frag button is in front of L1, when this is pressed, the sensitivity is lowered making aiming much easier (looking at you snipers). Probably the coolest feature is the motion control customisation; you can just shake the FragChuck instead of using a button. It will work for most buttons such as reloading and melee attacks. This just gives another level of immersion to games.
My first real test of the controller was one of my favourite shooters, I shouldn't have to tell you which one should I? Yes it's Call of Duty 4, who didn't see that coming? This is the perfect controller for this game. I played the single player campaign first to adjust my settings but it didn't take long for me to adapt from the Dualshock to the Frag Fx. It made me feel like a better player and it should since the official Splitfish team is ranked very highly. Seriously, one of the members has a 4.0 kill death ratio.
I played around with a few games to get a good feel for the controller, they all worked really well. The games were Killzone 2, Call of Duty: WAW, Command and Conquer Red Alert 3, Fallout 3 and the Resident Evil 5 Demo. I might actually be able get past the controls in Resident Evil thanks to this controller. I have been told this works with every game, and this seemed to be the case until i came to the Red Faction Guerrilla Demo. Granted this was a demo and the Frag Fx has upgradable firmware so this shouldn't worry anybody out there.
Overall this is a seamless controller. I have a friend who is addicted to Combat Arms, doesn't play console shooters and he loved this controller. I could see a massive improvement in the way he was playing. Native PC users take note; this is a real viable option for you all. Not too long ago availability in Australia was the biggest problem but not anymore. JB-Hi-Fi, Dvd Crave and a few specialty stores currently stock the controller, but I have been told more are interested.
Also a quick but big thank you to All Interactive Distribution, the exclusive Australian distributors of the Splitfish Range.
In summary the Split Fish Frag Fx v2 is a great controller, the best third party controller I have ever used. The controller costs $119.95 RRP in Australia, if the only question you need to know was 'is it worth it?' then the answer is a resounding yes!