This past weekend we had a short but sweet Xbox Live session at my apartment the Ask An Enemy offices with some Modern Warfare 2. My pal Adrian, who lives on the other side of the country in Las Cruces, New Mexico brought down his box, monitor, wireless wi-fi adapter and games, but bearded ass motherfucker forgot the most crucial part of his set up. His gamepad. He's made of all sorts of cash now that's he's building missiles or some shit, so he decided it was easier to go buy one than head back home. 'Twas after 9pm and all the good shops were closed so we headed into the belly of the beast, Walmart. Knowing Infinity Ward had worked with MadCatz, makers of some-shitty-some-not-so-shitty third party peripherals, on some officially licensed gamepads, I thought I'd trick him into buying one recommend he pick one up. Worked out for the best as I was able to hold onto it and write up a review. Just in case, the band, any of you folks were considering picking one up, don't. Spend the extra 5 bucks on the official wireless pad.
MadCatz peripherals are usually hit or miss, leaning heavily on the miss side. I'll never understand why people prefer to save a couple of bucks and go with third party gamepads, but to each Walmart Shopper his/her own, right? Usually these gamepads are a complete mess plagued with wonky sticks, color choices you'd think even a pimp wouldn't touch and buttons that feel like mashed potatoes. Infinity Ward's Robert Bowling started taking suggestions from fans through Twitter about what type of sticks (convex/concave), grips, artwork and such to use and while that method may have worked wonders for Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer, this gamepad ends up suffering a huge miss.
I'll start with the pros. The triggers are beyond compare. I fell in love with their slightly curved-out, extremely responsive feel immediately and when put to use there really just isn't anything like them in any other pad I've tried. The angle at which your index fingers rest on them while holding the control just feels natural. I used to have a habit of playing shooters with my index fingers on the top shoulder buttons (LB/RB) and using my middle fingers for the triggers. As I drifted more towards playing shooters on 360 I lost that habit quick since, unlike Sony's DualShock3, Microsoft's gamepad just doesn't feel right when it's held that way. The MadCatz gamepad feels right at home in this position as well, thanks to it's gigantic flat bumpers, but I can't see myself getting back in the habit of doing so unless I can do something about those horrendous Bon Jovi sticks.
Bon Jovi sticks you ask? Yeah, much like his 1986 fist pump of a record, these sticks are slippery when wet. If you suffer from sweaty hands after chugging a knife into xxIshitbitsandbyt3sxx throat and jam on that sprint button you'll find yourself really loathing the design of these sticks. Some double sided tape, like the pros use, or shredding a bicycle tire for some of it's inner tubing should definitely help with the slippage.
It's main selling points are the two macro combat buttons located underneath the gamepad which, although conveniently placed and easily accessible by your middle fingers they're still relatively useless. The macro buttons can be switched on the fly to take the place of either the face buttons, X,Y,A or B and even the right stick button (R3) or left stick button (L3). In theory and for example, they're meant to allow you to reload without taking your aim off of your opponent but as many of us are accustomed to, habit will continually have you reaching for the face button and putting that middle finger to better use.
The biggest con of this gamepad is it's wired. With Microsoft still blocking third parties from using it's wireless feature for gamepads it's a lose-lose situation. You can't crap money in a shit hat and expect me to accept anything that's not wireless these days. If you're accepting of wired controls you shouldn't own a next gen system, you should grow a mullet, bust your teeth, eat some shit and shop at Walmart. Beast. Fuck you.