Third-party controllers come in all shapes and sizes and, in my experience, they’re usually duds. You know what I’m talking about. We all had one as kids and it was always the controller given to the friend who was coming over to play because they’re rubbish. Now, I’ve not been a child (legally, not mentally) for a long, long time, so I don’t know if things have changed much over the years. All I know is that my opinion has been changed, big time.
I’ve been playing with the Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro Controller for the past couple of weeks and I’ve been blown away. My DualShock 4 hasn’t been touched, aside from a few PSVR-required games. I’m in love, basically, and I won’t hear a bad word against my precious new baby.
Now anybody that knows me and has read this site for more than a few minutes will know that I’m not an easy man to please. I’m notoriously stiff and I don’t cave in to hype, so for me to be sat here gushing over a bloody controller means something is seriously good about this bit of kit.
The first thing that’ll stick out to anyone that has ever picked up a PlayStation controller over the last two decades is that the layout is a little different. Instead of finding the analogue sticks sitting snug at the bottom of the controller, parallel to one another, they’re asymmetrical. Yes, it’s a little more like the Xbox controllers. For me this is a big plus – I’ve always preferred the offset stick layout and the fact that Sony doesn’t offer the option has always been a sore point for me. Still, at least others are stepping in to fill the void for us offset fans.
The controller itself is really nice to hold in the hand, too. It has a rubbery texture on the grips that helps keep the pad secure, even during the most sweatiest of sessions. The rest of the controller features a matte finish, and it looks really nice. I’d say I actually prefer the look of this thing to a regular DualShock 4 controller. It comes with a premium price tag, sure, but it certainly looks and feels like a premium product.
The face buttons and sticks, at least during my time with the controller, are perfectly serviceable, and even more so if you’re a hardcore gamer who takes controllers seriously. I do not fall into that latter group but I can at least appreciate the subtle differences a controller can make to gameplay. For instance, the Nacon Pro Controller allows you to change the weight of the controller by pulling off the back handles and inserting little weights. At first I thought it was daft but after a bit of experimentation I’ve come around to it. You can adjust the weight as you see fit by using the little dumbbells. Personally, I opted for the heaviest weights (16g) and it felt really quite comfortable to use. It wasn’t too heavy but there was a definite difference. So if you’re a fan of a more robust, weighty controller, this is a good option. Conversely, you can lighten it up and simply go with no weights. The choice is yours.
What’s in the box?
- Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro Controller
- Carry case for controller and accessories
- Microfibre cleaning cloth (which is now my PSVR cleaning cloth)
- A small flip-box containing various weights, stick adjustments, and stick heads
- A fairly long cable for wired play
- A bluetooth wireless adapter for wireless play
The face buttons and touchpad and all the other accompanying inputs are all present and accounted for, though there are some slight differences. The touchpad is a little smaller and the ‘share’ and ‘options’ buttons are placed a little differently in relation to the touch pad. Meanwhile, the face buttons – I think! – are slightly larger than what is normally found on a DualShock 4. Not that that’s a bad thing. I never had a problem with pressing the wrong buttons (or no more than normal…) and they functioned just as you’d expect. The triggers are also pretty darn good, too. They’ve got a little more roofing on them that makes it easier to snap down with your fingers rather than with your fingertips – something I find myself doing on the DualShock 4.
The Nacon Pro also features wireless play. This might seem like a no-brainer but apparently many third-party controllers are wired. If you’ve got animals or children (same thing?) then having loose wires stretching the length of the living room may not be ideal, so wireless is almost always preferred. Unless, of course, you’re a hardcore gamer who care about input lag. I consider myself to be a perceptive guy, yet I couldn’t really notice any difference in input delay when playing wireless versus wired. There is one caveat. IF you want to play wirelessly, you’ll need to sacrifice one of your USB ports on your PS4 for the controller’s Bluetooth dongle. While the controller is officially licensed by Sony, it doesn’t have access to the console’s native Bluetooth functionality. It’s hardly an issue but it’s fair to bring it up in the review. One thing I will say is that the dongle is a little larger than I’d have expected. It’s around the size of an ice cream stick. Others, such as the Guitar Hero Live! Bluetooth dongle for the guitar (R.I.P) are much smaller, but I’m picking at nits here.
Now, this next point may be a plus or a minus, depending on where you sit on the issue. The controller doesn’t come with the lightbar. For me, this isn’t an issue. It’s only really useful for PSVR games so it’s easy enough to switch over to a DualShock 4 when the need arises. There’s another plus side to the lightbar being left out of this iteration: no annoying light reflections in the telly!
However, it could be a downside for you if you’re a fan of the blinking lights during games. It’s just not for me.
The Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro Controller is a fine bit of kit that’s easy to customise to your liking. If you prefer convex thumbsticks, it’s as simple as popping off the default toppings and replacing them with what’s in the package. If you want a little less give on the sticks, you can change the width with the adapters. You’ve also got the extra grip buttons that can be assigned to whatever you like. You’ve got customisable controller profiles and the ability to use the pad on your PC if you so wish. I had a play around with it using my computer and it was easy to set up and get playing in no time.
There’s a lot to like about Nacon’s latest controller and, thankfully, very few things to hate. In fact, I don’t think there’s a single thing I really disliked about the controller. As a package, it’s wonderful and it has easily become my go-to controller on PS4 and PC.
The only thing that may be off-putting for some is the price tag. It’s not cheap. This is a premium product and it comes with a premium price tag. The RRP of £149.99 may be a little high when compared to a regular, off-the-shelf DualShock 4, but you’re more than getting your money’s worth. Well, unless you hate offset sticks…
Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro Controller Review
The Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro Controller is a wonderful piece of kit that you really need to hold to appreciate. Those who take their gaming seriously will be happy with the customisation options on offer. Casual players looking for something more robust and hearty than a DualShock 4 will also find a lot to like. For the first time in my life, I’m happy to be handed the third-party gamepad when mates come round to kick my arse at FIFA.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a review unit provided by Nacon/Big Ben. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Chris has been writing about gaming news for far too long, and now he’s doing it even more. A true PlayStation know-it-all, Chris has owned just about every Sony console that ever existed. Trophies are like crack to this fella. (Bronze trophies, that is – he only has one Platinum.)