According to some, the PlayStation 3 controller is not conducive to competitive first person shooter gaming. The Xbox 360 controller is considered to be the standard optimal design which may leave out PS3 users in the excitement. The GioTeck HF-2 Ergonomic FPS controller has set out to solve this problem.
Taking inspiration from the Xbox 360 controller, the HF-2 features similarly off setting joysticks with the stock PS3 button layout. A rubber-like skin, similar to the "shark skin" controllers of the N64 era, surrounds the controller creating an overall feel that is comfortable to the touch, but its ergonomic design creates a more bulky feel.
The HF-2 is very well suited for gamers with larger hands, but for the average this might not be the controller for you. The crisp lines on the handles have a tendency to rub your palms slightly creating sore spots after a marathon gaming session, and the shoulder buttons are slightly further out of reach than in the stock controller.
The joysticks feature a concave top allowing for a place to fit your thumbs, but the cross hair extrusions actually counter-act this benefit by digging into the thumbs. The bumps, only serving as aesthetic features, make an otherwise well designed joystick a pain to use over an extended period of time.
Shoulder buttons, R1 and L1, are designed in such a way that the activation point is near the knuckle of your index finger rather than the tip. The hinge of button is located directly under the tip, when resting in natural position, requiring your finger to move down the controller and press rather than simply pressing from the original position. In games like Call of Duty: Black Ops where the L1 and R1 buttons are utilized primarily to shoot, this problem is exemplified even further.
However, the featured control switch at the base of the controller allows for a quick control change from the R1 and L1 buttons (shoulder buttons) to the R2 and L2 buttons (trigger buttons). Basically with a flick of the switch, the shoulder buttons now become the trigger buttons and vice versa. While this switch isn’t really meant for quick in game control, it does allow for the HF-2 to change users quickly who requires different button layouts.
The HF-2 is a step in the right direction for third party controllers on PlayStation 3 highlighted with quality joysticks and buttons. GioTeck had an amazing controller, but the "Ergonomic FPS" idea became too much of a focus in the design. It’s a shame that GioTeck forgot to first build a good controller and then only after add in FPS features.
Retailing for $10 less than the stock PS3 controller and featuring a breathable texture that won’t slip under rigorous gaming, the HF-2 is a buy for gamers with large hands who consistently go on gaming marathons. However, it might be a pass for the average gamer unless they want a very good looking controller to show off at the next LAN party.