Game Rant's Andrew Dyce reviews FPS Freek SNIPR, CQC & ELITE (Xbox 360/PS3)
With the arrival of November comes the annual climax of competitive online shooters. With Battlefield 3 already burning up consoles and PCs alike, and Modern Warfare 3 blessing the gaming world with its presence in a matter of hours. Accessory manufacturer KontrolFreek has been hard at work for just such an occasion, and have released their brand new line of FPS Freek analog stick attachments to celebrate. The FPS Freek SNIPR, FPS Freek CQC, and FPS Freek ELITE are all tailored to appeal to differing styles of shooter gameplay, with the company claiming the ELITE is the must-have attachment for the arrival of this latest Call of Duty.
But are these joystick attachments an unnecessary accessory for all but the most serious of competitive shooters, or the perfect holiday gift for the CoD fan in your household? Read our review to find out.
First off, if you're anything resembling a serious player of online shooters, it's extremely likely that you are already aware of this latest batch of accessories, and need no convincing. If you are someone who takes their Call of Duty seriously and have yet to pick up any FPS Freek attachments, there is no reason not to. The previous models were a surprisingly effective in adding sensitivity and range of motion to the blunt analog sticks of both the Xbox 360 and PS3 gamepads, and this new lineup puts those to shame.
Now with a slicker paintjob, some artistic flourishes, and a price tag starting at $9.99, the reasons that shooter fans may have had to hold off on accessorizing their gamepads may no longer apply. The stick extensions clip easily on top of the existing analogs without damaging them, and are just as easily removed.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that extending the analog sticks would lead to a smoother and more responsive experience in just about every shooter, but what is most surprising about these three new models is how differently each one feels and plays. The FPS Freek SNIPR in particular will be a dream come true to those who prefer to stalk their prey from a distance in class-specific shooters like Battlefield 3. With a larger convex surface sporting a laser-etched crosshair, the sensitivity and smoothness of the SNIPR was easily the biggest surprise of the batch.
We would hate to give quick-scopers and sniping griefers an even better edge against us in multiplayer, but the added range of motion and benefits of a larger surface area have to be felt to be believed. The FPS Freek SNIPR is available now for $13.99.
The FPS Freek CQC or 'Close Quarters Combat' is a nice middle of the road extension, sticking to the standard Xbox 360 analog design, while still tweaking the performance for up-close-and-personal combat situations. Sporting a lower rise than the other sticks and three times as many 'nubs' as the standard Xbox 360 gamepad, this accessory offers a bit more accuracy while still allowing for quick and responsive melee attacks.
The CQC really shows its strengths in more confined modes like Gears of War 3 and Halo: Reach multiplayer, granting a smoother range of motion while staying shallow enough to allow for quick input. Extended bouts of Gears multiplayer tends to leave many massaging their thumbs and cracking their knuckles, but the CQC provided more comfort than the standard analogs, without greatly impacting the range of motion or response time.
If you have yet to try out any of KontrolFreek's various accessories and are hesitant to re-learn the fundamentals of shooting, the CQC is a nice starting point. The FPS Freek CQC will be available November 15, for $9.99.
With Modern Warfare 3 the star of the shooter show this year, it's likely that the FPS Freek ELITE will be the accessory that catches the eye of most gamers. Designed specifically with the third chapter of the story in mind, the stick is emblazoned with the Delta Force insignia, complete with the unit's motto of "Swift, Silent, Deadly." That imprint may be enough to convince completionist fans that this is a must-purchase, but those of you who have a CoD-addict on your holiday shopping list should think about picking up a set of ELITE's for the fan-factor alone.
The ELITE's notched and beveled surface gives a very different feel from the standard shape and finish, which may or may not be preferred by some players. The length of the stick is, like that of the SNIPR, double that of the Xbox 360 analog, which also may not be what some players would design if given the chance. The designs have obviously been a success among the hardcore community, and the added fluidity of greater motion is sure to make the difference in clutch matches, but is certainly not for everyone.
Both the SNIPR and ELITE will leave plenty of players with sore thumbs after extended sessions, but learning to use the accessories to their specific purposes is just as important as understanding the ins and outs of online multiplayer. Regardless of how easily accessible the accessories may be in some cases, any competitive edge is an absolute must for those who treat shooters as more than mere recreation. And like the new service of the same name, the ELITE is a stand out in the new lineup, both aesthetically and in form factor.
The FPS Freek ELITE is available now for $13.99, and let's be honest, a must for those of you who have had MW3 marked on your calendar since Black Ops.
Whether you're debating picking up the entire set for the endless hours of online multiplayer that this month will entail, or thinking of picking one set up as a gift, the quality of the accessories themselves won't disappoint. For CoD fans, the FPS Freek ELITE is a no-brainer, but for those who have yet to try out any of KontrolFreek's previous products, the FPS Freek CQC is a good starting point for the right price.
The FPS Freek SNIPR, FPS Freek CQC, and FPS Freek ELITE are available for both the Xbox 360 and PS3 controllers, and can be found at Microsoft stores across the United States, and through the company's website.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.