E3 2017: Hands-On with The Evil Shift Controller

Evil Controllers is a ten-year-old company. Their primary focus, in the beginning, was to make playing Halo easier by modding a controller and adding buttons to the back of the controller. The company grew by adding cosmetic features and other comfort adjustments in later designs. Evil prides itself on a “no tools, no app, simply change while gaming” philosophy. I was able to sit down and gets some hands-on time with this new controller and talk with the company about its features during E3 2017.

Evil doesn’t use the paddle system that other companyies use, they believe their switch/button is better since you can set them up in a way that can be used by all gamers. Paddles cannot be pressed down just anywhere on the paddle, they can only be pressed at the end of the paddle and you can only use two of the paddles at a time. With Evil Shift’s button/switch system you can press the switches from any direction as well as press all four switches at the same time if needed. Weight is also a huge factor in terms of your gaming experience. The heavier the controller the more stress on your hands and players holding heavier controllers squeeze harder which can cause more sweat and fatigue while playing.

Evil Controllers showed me a prototype of a new controller for the PS4 called Evil Shift. They have spent years trying to get this controller to feel right while still holding the same form factor as a stock controller. The main difference of Evil Shift vs other modded controllers is the ability to reassign any button on the DualShock 4 to the four new switches on the bottom of the controller where your hands already rest. They take a stock DualShock 4 controller and modify them to the needs of the gamer. The reassigning of the buttons is very easy, press and hold Share and the new switch you want to assign. The DualShock lightbar on top of the touchpad will flash and you then choose the button you want to reassign and it’s all done. This reassigning can be done anytime you want, even in the middle of a game play session. Also, you will still be able to use that button for its original use.

… Evil offers fifteen profile settings …

Another great feature is the ability to set profiles for yourself. Evil offers fifteen profile settings. By holding down right on the directional pad and pressing X you can cycle through all fifteen profiles, for example, you would simply press X seven times to get to profile seven. This is a great feature for when you are switching games and not wanting to remap buttons for each game. You have the ability to remap every button on the DualShock 4 except the Share and Options button. And yes, this even includes R3, L3, directional pad, all triggers, and the touchpad.

Like I mentioned before they are modding original controllers and weight plays a huge factor. Evil completely removes the rumble feature. This is very common among pro gamers that normally turn rumble off anyway since it interferes with their ability to land shots when needed. It also helps reduce the weight of the controller significantly. I was able to hold an Xbox Elite controller, which is estimated to weigh about twenty-four ounces vs a standard Xbox controller that weighs thirteen ounces. The Evil Shift weighs about ten ounces. Yes, the three-ounce difference felt significantly different in my hands.

When you order an Evil Shift you will get two sets of three different size analog sticks. Small, medium, and large that can be quickly swapped in and out by simply pulling up on the stick and putting the new one on. I feel this will only take a matter of seconds to switch out and you will get comfortable with whichever set feels best for you. Evil Shifts surface area is larger than stock controllers, giving you more sensitivity and easier control. Once you own an Evil Shift and some new switch or analog stick comes out, you can order the part from Evil that you want and it will work on your current controller.

The next feature on the Evil Shift is sensitive buttons. They have changed out the original face buttons (Cross, Square, Triangle, and Circle) with new hairpin sensitive buttons similar to tactical buttons on a mouse. When I compared these new buttons to a stock controller you really could feel a difference. Now is that a big enough difference to most gamers? Probably not, however, I will get into why I feel all these features are important to the average gamer soon. These sensitive buttons are exclusive to Evil controllers.

Triggers also have gotten some adjustments. The trigger lock is a big feature on modded controllers allowing you to fire a weapon at a higher rate. Using a trigger lock can be a great thing when you’re shooting, but can cause a huge problem when you switch games, for example, going from a shooter to a driving game. If your trigger lock is activated and you go to accelerate your car you will be going extremely slow or fast depending on how the game reacts to the trigger lock. Evil has a unique spring that allows a full rebound pull or a soft trigger pull for quick firing situations. This is simply built into the controller and it’s not something you need a tool to activate, it just works.

… their passion for making gaming accessible to everyone …

Now, why would the average gamer want this controller? Well let’s be honest with ourselves – how many DualShock 4s have you gone through over the last three to four years? Me personally, I have gone through at least three if not four. This started all the way back to a launch DS4 that had the rubber on the analog sticks ripping or from my playing a lot of Destiny, my right analog stick would get a ghost drift and the R3 button sometimes just wouldn’t respond when pushed down. I have also had my triggers either stop working or not work consistently enough.

If Evil Shift launches with a price point of around $180-$220, which is in line with other custom controller companies depending on features, then this will be a very good, long-term controller investment. I never noticed how heavy the controller can be sometimes until you have a lighter and possibly better option for long-term gaming sessions. Plus let’s be honest, game developers are making use of more and more button combinations as the games grow and evolve and in the ways you control them. With this new ability to map any commonly used button to the lower switches, it could make your game play experience much more enjoyable especially if you struggle with certain games control schemes. Yes, I am aware that you can remap buttons on the PlayStation OS but you would have to change this each and every time you played a different game. The fifteen profiles that you can save to the controller could get a ton of use if you play a lot of different types of games furthering your investment.

What surprised me the most during my meeting with Evil Controllers is their passion for making gaming accessible to everyone no matter what the challenge. They told me about a custom modification where the design team pretty much cut a controller in half so that someone who was unable to get their hands close together could still play games. He was also able to make a controller into a mouth guard to work for someone that didn’t have any hands but could use his tongue to control the game.

Keep an eye on PS Nation for more from Evil Controllers and hopefully a review of the Evil Shift when it launches at the end of this summer.

Why not check out the latest E3 2017 news from PS Nation:

Written by Dave Hunt

Dave Hunt

Podcast Co-Host
Reviewer/Features Writer

Helping people in games is the most fun I have ever had.

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