I love a good controller for gaming. When PowerA sent over their new FUS1ON controller for us to review, I was pretty excited to put it through its paces. We got a chance to check out the PS3 version of the controller, which was even more exciting considering it hosts the same layout design as the 360 standard pad, in my opinion the best style for current gaming. We put the controller through a host of tests to see if it warrants its hefty price tag.
The FUS1ON controller is built for tournament use, and PowerA has claimed to have worked with several pro players in order to design the device. The first thing you will notice is that it comes with a 10-foot braided wire. Tournament controllers are always wired as it reduces lag between the input of your buttons, and the actions on screen. While this may be a deterrent for home users not used to having to deal with wires, it comes with a slick rubber tie to keep it compact.
Also included in the package is a nice, soft case to carry the controller with you on the go. I almost feel like Lucas from The Wizard when I pull out the controller to use. It is like having a special case for my weapon of choice. The controller also has the ability to light up in various colors. There is a button on the back that illuminates the analog sticks and the controller. It is a neat effect. You can cycle through a host of colors, but you can also turn it off, which has become my default setting.
The controller also comes with replaceable grips. You can go with the default plastic grips which feel a bit slippery in my hands, or you can use the included mini screwdriver to install the rubber grips. I actually preferred these and left them on after installing.
The build of the controller is where it shines, though. As I mentioned this is a PS3 controller, but the layout mimics the 360. The analog sticks are now placed one above the d-pad, and the other below the face buttons. The analog sticks also feature a widened area to rest your thumbs on. This makes longer sessions, and pinpoint accuracy, much easier. I love the way they also contoured their surfaces at just the right angle. I actually like them a little more than the 360 analog sticks, and quite a bit more than Sony’s offering.
The face buttons are genuine quality. They have a great feel to them, and their responsiveness is outstanding. Same goes with the triggers and bumpers, which now give PS3 owners a chance to see what real triggers feel like. They are not quite as springy or comfortable as the 360, but they still feel great. Playing LittleBigPlanet Karting with the triggers for gas is no longer a chore.
In fact, the only part that feels not-so-great is the d-pad. While PowerA claims it was designed with gamers in mind, it feels rather stiff, and a little too defined. Playing old-school arcade games still poses a problem, and some fighting games feel a little off at times. This is a minor gripe; most of the time things ran smoothly, but I still prefer the twisting d-pad on 360. The PS3 default is better still.
We tested a myriad of games with the controller, including Black Ops for shooter controls. Things felt great, especially considering the Dual Shock 3 is not the ideal FPS controller. I can’t say I noticed a difference in the lag, but I am not exactly an expert at shooters. Then we tested out Pac-Man Championship Edition for the d-pad. The results were average, with the d-pad still feeling a bit stiff for my liking. We also tried out Street Fighter 4 and Tekken Tag for the fighting game arena and it definitely felt good, if not great.
All the games we played definitely felt good, and again this being on PS3 the FUS1ON felt so much better when compared to the Dual Shock 3. The price tag may seem a little steep, but when you factor in the design and carrying case it isn’t all that unwarranted. I think for tournament gamers this is one finely designed controller that makes good on its promises. I wasn’t a big fan of the d-pad, but it is definitely better than most on the market. I definitely recommend it simply because it outshines the Dual Shock 3 in almost every respect.
Available for: PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
Controller provided by publisher for review. PS3 version reviewed.