E3 2018: Hands-On with Scuf Vantage Controllers

E3 2018: Hands-On with Scuf Vantage Controllers

The custom controller market is ever growing, with companies trying different things to gain a sales advantage. But at its core, the goals are always the same: figure out a way to make a comfortable controller that keeps the player’s hands on it and makes gameplay easier.

Scuf Gaming gathers a tremendous amount of data when it makes a new controller. With the Scuf Vantage this is no different. They have made other controllers that work with the PlayStation 4 but this is the first time they have partnered directly with Sony for an official license to make a DualShock 4.

The first major difference you will see with a Scuff Vantage is the offset analog sticks. This might turn some people off since they’re so used to the parallel analog sticks the different DualShock controllers have had for years. However, Scuf has data from players about where they prefer the sticks to be and how it impacts the player’s hands.

Personally, this doesn’t bother me since as with any other controller, you’ll become more comfortable holding it over time. It’s no different than owning competing consoles. You’ll just get used to the different feel, so don’t let that be a deal breaker for you.

E3 2018: Hands-On with Scuf Vantage Controllers

The other big difference on the Scuf Vantage versus the Dualshock 4 is the set of four back paddles. In previous Scuf controllers, these paddles had only the face buttons remapped to them. Now you can remap any button you want to any of the four paddles.

This is a great feature for players with hand issues or those that struggle to reach certain buttons that need to be pressed often. All four paddles sit directly under your fingers once you wrap your hands around the controller.

The newest and coolest feature on the Scuf Vantage comes in the form of side action buttons. These are two buttons that sit directly to the left and right side of the R1 and L1 triggers and they can be mapped to any button on the controller.

Common things they have already seen in playtesting are players mapping the building buttons in Fortnite to these side actions buttons and having a much easier time with it. Another great use for these buttons is for situations where you need to hold down a button to then do another action such as getting into a guard position in For Honor or even aiming down sights in an FPS game.

E3 2018: Hands-On with Scuf Vantage Controllers

I was worried that these side action buttons would make the controller feel weird or get in the way and be pressed by accident. However, with the way your fingers lay across the R1, R2, L1, L2 triggers, these new buttons are shaped in such a way that it doesn’t appear to be a problem.

Scuf has made mapping the buttons much easier with the Vantage when compared to other Scuf controllers where you needed special tools or a magnet to remap buttons. With the Vantage, they have a button on the controller that you use to turn mapping mode on. Press and hold the button you want to be replaced and then press the button you are remapping.

So as an example, if you want the Square button mapped to the back left paddle, you switch the controller to mapping mode and press and hold the back left paddle, then press the Square button, and release both buttons. That’s it. It makes for ease of use when switching games or even just switching play styles in a current game.

Another cool feature the Scuf Vantage has that I have not seen yet in another controller is the Audio Touch Bar. When you have headphones plugged into the 3.5mm jack at the bottom of the controller you can turn the volume up and down by simply sliding your finger back and forth across the small bar on the controller. You can also mute your mic by just tapping the bar once. There are two small lights on the left side of the bar to indicate whether your mic is muted or not.

E3 2018: Hands-On with Scuf Vantage Controllers

The last major feature for the Vantage is its customization which allows you to really build the controller almost any way you want. You can change out the heights of the analog sticks, you can add a disc insert to replace the D-pad, you can remove any of the four paddles or even all of them if they bother you, and rumble can be removed as well.

This is a feature that I really like. For some games having rumble is very important while with others it’s not. Having the ability to simply snap off the faceplate off, take the two rumble parts out, and snap the cover back on is a really cool feature. Changing out all the parts is super easy since they either snap into place or they’re magnetized to their spot.

A common theme in high priced custom controllers is also the ability to get them to look exactly how you want. That could be something a simple as a unique color scheme or design or even something as cool as a custom logo or image from your favorite series. The options are almost endless when it comes to color and uniqueness with the Scuf Vantage.

Over the life cycle of the PS4, I’ve gone through numerous DualShock 4 controllers. I just don’t feel like the quality is in line with where it should be and I’ve had all kinds of things fail on me. Anything from the R1 button deciding it doesn’t want to work anymore to my left analog sticks having a small drift as well as my L3 button working whenever it wants.

The market is primed for someone to make a durable controller that can stand the test of time for gamers. Now what the right price is for something like that could be anyone’s guess. The Scuff Vantage in a wired format costs $169.99 with the Bluetooth upgrade pushing the cost up to $199.99.

These prices are a little steep in my opinion. But for me, if this controller lasts more than eighteen months it’s saving me money in the long run because I’m buying a new DS4 about every six months due to durability issues.

If you play just one game an awful lot, custom controllers can give you an advantage in making a layout that fits your playstyle. If you’re a person that has had issues, either from the functionality of your hands, or if you get cramps during long playing sessions, this might be the controller that fixes it for you. The Scuf Vantage is available for pre-order now and comes out later this summer.

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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