Product Description: The Xbox 360 Call of Duty: Black Ops PrecisionAIM Controller is MadCatz’s latest leap into the peripherals market. The greatest asset of this controller is that it is officially licensed by Microsoft; the form and feel of the controller is very similar to one that would come with a brand new console. In addition, this controller offers a laundry list of features:
· Ergonomic, non-slip grip,
· Backlit analog sticks,
· Vibration feedback technology,
· “Combat” buttons for custom remapping,
· PrecisionAIM—Instant sensitivity adjustment for sniping, and:
· 9.8ft (3m) braided cable with breakaway extension.
Packaging Details: The controller sits in a mold that prevents it from bouncing around inside the clear, plastic container. Everything is as you would expect: secure and ordered. The packaging is otherwise unremarkable, but it gets the job done. My controller came out of the case in flawless condition and perfect working order.
Installation/Setup: As with all Xbox 360 wired controllers, the USB connectivity makes setup as easy as it gets. Attach the controller cable to the breakaway extension and plug it into the console and you are good to go. When you grip the controller, your middle finger pads will rest on the textured combat buttons.
Combat button remapping tutorial: Take a look at the back of the controller—there is a 4-way switch above a combat button on each side of the controller. On the right side, the four settings are (using CoD: Black Ops as the example):
· RSB—Identical to pressing down the right stick (executes the melee attack);
· X—Acts exactly like the X button on the front of the controller (reload);
· Y—Acts exactly like the Y button on the front of the controller (switch weapons), and;
· RP—PrecisionAIM: Hold the combat button to reduce look sensitivity from the right stick to fine tune a sniper shot.
On the left side, the settings are:
· LSB—Identical to pressing down the left stick (sprint);
· A—Acts exactly like the A button on the front of the controller (jump);
· B—Acts exactly like the B button on the front of the controller (crouch/prone);
· LP—PrecisionAIM: Hold the combat button to reduce look sensitivity from the left stick to fine tune a sniper shot.
Usability: Obviously, the selling point of this controller is the combat button technology. Does it work? Yes, but it does have a very steep learning curve. Any CoD player will tell you there isn’t much thinking involved in an online match. It boils down to reflex and muscle memory when you turn a corner and an enemy is right in your face. With the RSB remap, you can tap the right combat button to melee and not worry about your thumb flying off the right stick.
For players who love to snipe, PrecisionAIM will be your best friend. By dramatically reducing cursor feedback, you can make difficult adjustments while zooming without having to possess extreme finesse. To get a rough idea of what this is like, go into the options menu and change your “Look Sensitivity” to “(Low) 1.” See how slowly your gun moves around? Imagine that about 10 times slower and you will have an idea of what PrecisionAIM does.
Overall Quality: There are two things I don’t like about this controller: the D-Pad feel and the material the analog sticks are made of. The D-Pad doesn’t snap when you press a direction, it just weakly presses. To see what I’m talking about, grab your Microsoft controller. Slowly apply pressure to any direction and you will feel it click or snap. The MadCatz controller doesn’t have this same satisfying feel.
The sticks are smooth…too smooth. They get slippery very easily and will require you to wipe them off periodically. I can’t nail down what the material is, but it is different than the material used in a Microsoft controller. The sticks do have a small ridge, but lack the raised bumps seen on a Microsoft controller.
I am a big fan of the ergonomic, non-slip grips and the braided cable. The grips sit very comfortably in your palms and resist sweating and oil. They are also ridged to keep the controller snuggly in your hand. The cable, at 9.8 feet with the extension, is long enough for you to sit at the recommended distance for a 47″ TV. The fact that it is braided and not plastic offers durability and longevity that an ordinary cable cannot.
Final Say: The PrecisionAIM controller has an MSRP of $49.99, although you can get it cheaper from Amazon. Don’t expect to be a sniping whiz as soon as you lay your hands on this controller, since it will take a lot of practice to get used to adding another finger and button to the equation. If you only play FPS games casually, you likely won’t reap the benefits that a hardcore player will. If you are an avid CoD player, you will find utility and a higher K/D ratio in this peripheral.