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FPS Freek SNIPR Review

The FPS Freek SNIPR is a new take on the tried and true FPS Freek formula – taking the raised height of the FPS Freek and flipping the joystick design from concave to convex. The concept is that the convex design shrinks the point of force of the joystick, giving even further enhanced accuracy to users.

People tinker with their sensitivity settings in every game… thumbstick sensitivity… Inverted thumbsticks…dead zones, hardcore gamers will go to intense lengths to fine-tune their sensitivity in-game, so it only makes sense to start changing the sensitivity of the controller itself.

Unfortunately I think the FPS Freek SNIPR is an incompatible sensitivity setting, for me at least. The purpose of the add-on is as stated in the name, to help with sniping and long-range combat. The crosshair etched into the rubber also communicates that.  In premise it should work, instead of using the broad area of your thumb as with the concave FPS Freeks, you would instead use the tip against the most raised area on the SNIPR – which will make hitting that bulls-eye that much easier.

For me it doesn’t quite work out this way. I prefer the concave design which cradles my thumb, especially in the wide variety of combat you find yourself in while playing Call of Duty, Battlefield 3, or other shooters. The FPS Freek SNIPR makes the inner areas of the joystick very  sensitive, and the outer areas less so. This design helps with sniping, where you are mostly making small adjustments, and not zooming all over the screen. Having an attachment designed only for sniping will probably not make sense for most players, unless you really favor that class; and even when sniping I found that the FPS Freek SNIPR was not a great aid.

I could feel it improving my aim, making it easier to move the joystick how I intended. But the small area of contact also made it hard to always be accurate, and in the end it ended up being a detriment as often as it was a benefit. Buying the FPS Freek SNIPR comes down to personal preference. If you have thought that using a convex joystick would help, it probably will. But for the vast majority of players concave is probably better – as indicated by the majority of console controllers having concave joysticks.

As PlayStation 3 fans may know, the Dualshock 3 uses convex thumbsticks. This is something I personally dislike as it gives me the same wobbly feeling as the FPS Freek SNIPR’s do. When using the SNIPR’s on the PS3 controller I did like them better than on the 360 controller. The PS3 controllers are by nature, more sensitive than the 360 controllers, and the SNIPR’s worked better since I did not need as much force to move the joystick.

You could buy this along with a standard FPS Freek and switch them depending on what your current play style is. The problem with that being that each time you remove and snap on a Kontrol Freek you are stripping off a small amount of the rubber around your joystick. While putting on a Freek once or even a dozen times will not have any effect, switching them daily or even weekly will prove hazardous to your controller long term.

The design of the FPS Freek SNIPRs is not entirely new. The same convex design is used on the sports line – such as the Tee Freek or Hoops Freek. The only thing differentiating the FPS Freek SNIPR from those is a simple rebranding of the face of the joystick. The SNIPR proved useful in arcade games like Pacman CE DX, where the convex shape closely resembles old school joysticks, and Kontrol Freek’s own Rcade Freek.

The FPS Freek SNIPR’s are far from my favorite Kontrol Freek products. However that does not mean they do not work. For those looking for the absolute most precise joystick control these may be for you, but for the majority of gamers they will prove too sensitive. For those people I recommend the normal FPS Freeks. However if you are a sniping fiend, or think you would prefer the convex feel, then these may be for you. I would also recommend the FPS Freek SNIPR’s for PS3 users who are playing on Xbox controllers and do not like the feel.

+ Good build quality
+ PS3 users may like it on Xbox 360 controllers
– Design may not be for everybody

 

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