Gaining an edge over your competition is key in today’s competitive multiplayer environment. Both professional and amateur gamers alike are always looking for a way to one up the competition when it comes to the highly popular FPS genre. A plethora of accessories have been released to help gamers gain this edge they so desperately seek, which range from the bizarre to the genuinely helpful. One company that has become prominent in this space is KontrolFreek, and it just released its latest controller innovation in time for the launch of Call of Duty: Ghosts.
The FPS Freek Phantom thumbstick enhancers promise to give you the edge over the competition with a little COD: Ghosts flare. The matte white attachments feature a Ghosts inspired logo etched into a concave joystick design, which can be attached to a standard Xbox 360’s or PS3’s thumbsticks. When attached the Phantoms add a half-inch of height to either type of controller’s thumbsticks, effectively providing a 40% increase to the their linear motion. This increase in height promises to add new levels of precision when it comes to target acquisition, thanks to the fact that you no longer have to exert as much pressure to accomplish twitchy movements. The concave design laden with rubberized nubs also provide a much tighter grip than the standard thumbsticks offered by the DualShock 3 and 360 gamepad.
Attaching the Phantoms is a breeze, and only requires a bit of force to place them on top of your controller’s standard sticks. Once attached they instantly feel like part of the controller due to the extremely tight fit. Thanks to the taller height it’s immediately clear what the Phantoms provide. The increased range of motion is staggering, making 180-degree turns much more responsive than while not using the accessory. Less effort is needed to enact any type of movement giving you that extra ounce of precision that can help you to gain an advantage over your foes.
I tested the Phantoms using a standard Xbox 360 controller while playing Batman: Arkham Origins and Grand Theft Auto V, and realized its benefits in both titles. In Batman, the Phantoms made flowing between combatants slightly more efficient, allowing the fledgling Dark Knight to up his combo score, effectively opening up additional special attacks. Traversing the skyline of Gotham is also more precise thanks to the Phantoms, and their ability to make your controller inputs much more responsive. Arkham Origins may not be the style of game that the Phantoms are made for, but they did indeed make controlling Batman feel slightly more efficient.
On the other hand, while playing GTA V, the true potential of KontrolFreek’s thumbstick accessory shined brightly. They made the driving controls a tad more touchy than I’d like, but the increased precession to the gunplay overrides that shortcoming. It’s not like one needs much help when aiming in GTA V, but the Phantoms did manage to make the overly helpful auto-aim that much more helpful, especially while cycling through targets with the right thumbstick. Overall aiming in general was enhanced, which will surely translate to the FPS genre that the Phantoms are ultimately designed for.
The FPS Freek Phantoms do indeed add a few of the benefits listed in the bullet points of its product page, but they also add a high level of comfort. I was amazed at their ability to alleviate the stress put on my thumbs when they worked the joysticks. The increased height just made the act of resting and controlling the thumbsticks much less physical than the standard sticks. I didn’t feel the strain that accompanies long gameplay sessions in the pad of your thumb. The Phantoms also don’t require you to exert as much pressure and speed to make the twitchy movements that shooting games require.
The concave design of the Phantoms feel quite natural and allow for a sturdier grip. The inclusion of rubberized nubs on the tips of each attachment also make it easier for your thumbs to stick to the thumbsticks. I didn’t experience any slipping while making sharp movements, and while I didn’t play a PS3 game with them on, I did attach them to the overly smooth DualShock 3 thumbsticks just to experience the improved grip, which is a main concern with that particular controller. Quite frankly, the increased comfort factor that the Phantoms offer impressed me more than their ability to make me a slightly better aimer.
The FPS Freek Phantoms by KontrolFreek most definitely will make your gaming habit a more refined experience. At first, the increased height may feel a bit awkward since you’re so used to the standard thumbstick height, but once you work through the awkwardness the benefits of using the Phantoms become clear. For $13.99 there isn’t a cheaper alternative for helping you become the best gamer you can be, so get ready for Call of Duty: Ghosts’ arrival next week by picking up a pair over at the KontrolFreek website.
[schema type=”review” name=”FPS Freek Phantom | Review Summary” description=”The Awesome: Increased comfort, Increased precision, Cool design | The Not so Awesome: Slight getting used to period” rev_name=”FPS Freek Phantom” rev_body=”KontrolFreek’s latest controller accessory do indeed offer the benefits advertised on the box. You may not become the next pro gaming sensation, but you will surely experience a more comfortable experience with increased efficiencies while gaming the day away.” author=”Matt Heywood” pubdate=”2013-11-02″ user_review=”9″ min_review=”0″ max_review=”10″ ]
Review Statement: The reviewer received demo units from KontrolFreek for the sake of this review.
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