Accessories have always been a part of gaming culture. With each passing console generation, gamers seem to be split on what type of accessories could better their gaming experience. Additionally, many gamers seem to avoid gaming accessories altogether claiming that they are just another way for companies to get more money out of the consumer. This particular mindset has not been helped by the accessory breeding ground console known as the Nintendo Wii. It seems like every other day there is some new plastic cover released to put on the WiiMote that is supposed to make the experience more realistic and authentic. But, it seems that the company Kontrol Freek is trying to bring accessory usage to the First Person Shooter crowd with their FPS Freek line of joystick mounts.
To give some context, Kontrol Freek has a large line of joystick mounts for both the FPS and Sports game genres, Lusipurr.com received the Havoc and Infinity mounts which are meant for first person shooters. This review will primarily focus on the Havoc mount since it was the one most used by this reviewer. On their website, Kontrol Freek describes Havoc as “developed for the competitive Call of Duty player who demands the ultimate in precision and control match after match” and “perfect for your right or left thumb stick and is optimized for medium to long-range armaments like the SIG556, MSMC and SVU-AS”. So with that in mind I decided to do a small experiment with the Havoc. So I whipped out my roommate’s copy of Battlefield 3 and played a match online without the use of the joystick mount. It is best to say that I did horribly with a final kill to death ratio of two kills and fourteen deaths. At that point there was nowhere to go but up.
So in the second match I pulled out the Havoc mounts and attached it to the PlayStation 3 controller, which took a few tries and sometimes the mounts would come off in the middle of the match. Instantly I noticed two things; one positive and one negative. The first being that my thumbs felt more comfortable being slightly elevated and the second that the mounts felt way too close together, giving my thumbs an almost claustrophobic sensation. Right away I could tell that these would probably be better on a 360 controller, but since I did not have a first person shooter on the Xbox 360 the PS3 controller had to do. So I played a second match of Battlefield 3 and did a little bit better with a ratio of four kills and six deaths. At this point I was more comfortable with Battlefield 3 and felt that I had a better handle of the game. But was this because of the Havoc mount? I was not fully convinced it was so I played a third match.
In my third and final match I went ten kills to seven deaths. I continued to play for a bit but the scores did not really differ from being a few kills above how many deaths I had. Would I continue to use these for my FPS gaming sessions? Sure, it makes control a bit easier but I could see them becoming a bit annoying after an hour or so of game play. Do I think they improved my performance in Battlefield 3? Well, yes and no. I feel a bit of it was luck, a bit getting over the learning curve, and a dash of using the Havoc mounts.
In conclusion, the Havoc mount was slightly more comfortable on the thumbs than just using the regular PS3 joysticks. Although it may have been better for Kontrol Freek to make PS3 and 360 exclusive mounts with the problems of “thumb claustrophobia” I had. Additionally, the mounts could be better fit to the controller seeing as one of the mounts kept coming off in the middle of game play, which felt counter-intuitive for a product that advertises itself for gamers who “demand the ultimate in precision and control match after match”.