The first time I saw the Nacon PlayStation 4 Revolution Pro Controller (I’ll just refer to it as the Nacon!), I couldn’t help but instantly feel that this was a reaction to Microsoft launching the Elite controller. Prior to Sony licensing a controller for eSports, the only other viable alternative was buying a Scuf Gaming controller. Prior to testing the Nacon, I only ever played my games with a Scuf Gaming 4PS. However, the Nacon is one of Sony’s answers to the eSports controller problem, and after having spent a whole week with it, I am pleasantly surprised by it.
The Nacon is not a cheap controller. It sits at double the price of a standard PS4 controller, but is still slightly cheaper than a Scuf. The benefit of the Nacon is that it is a product that is officially licensed by Sony, although Sony does not manufacture the controller. Spending approximately £90 on just a controller is serious business, and as such, it is targeted not for the casual gamer, but the hardcore competitive gamer. The Nacon is a controller designed to cater for those who belong to the world of eSports. It is for those who want to maximize their K/D ratios on Call of Duty, which makes up a large part of the EGL community.
The Nacon Revolution Pro is packaged like a £89.99 piece of kit. The box is glossy, and when you take the outside wrapping off, you’re presented with a lovely black box with the Nacon cobra logo embossed on the front. As you open the box, the controller reveals itself, which is also protected in a thin, but durable piece of cardboard that is carved into the shape of the controller. Underneath the controller sits the rest of the goodies which include a lovely carrying pouch, a cable to connect the controller to the console and the ultimate selling point of the controller: a set of weights! It also comes with a cleaning cloth, which is a nice added touch. I actually used it more for my glasses when playing FIFA to wipe off the sweat whilst playing FUT Champions.
The moment I saw the controller, I instantly couldn’t help but compare it to the Xbox One controller. This looks more like the Xbox One controller than Sony’s PS4 pad. At first, I felt that this was going to be a major issue. However the more I played with the controller, the quicker I realized that shaping the Nacon to resemble a traditional Xbox One controller was a stroke of genius. Whether this was purely coincidence or purposefully designed, the end result is one that Sony should be happy with. As we’re all aware, eSports is becoming increasingly popular on PlayStation. The previous generation was very much focused on eSports on Xbox 360. Call of Duty tournaments would have hundreds, if not thousands of players on Xbox, whilst the PS3 would have a handful of teams. This is now changing, with Sony’s console now becoming a main attraction for competitive gaming.
Those who want to keep up to date would need to migrate from Xbox to PS4, or at the very least be willing to keep up with both consoles. The PS4 and Xbox One have very different controllers. The Nacon provides the perfect bridge between the two, as those who are accustomed to the Xbox One controller can now play on the PS4 whilst using a controller that closely resembles that of a standard Xbox One controller in terms of shape.
The Nacon Revolution Pro even without any weights feels great in your hands. There is rubber in all of the right places to ensure that you have the right grip. It may not be entirely up to the standards of what Scuf provide with some of their grips, however it is still much better than the standard PS4 controller. The Nacon however completely takes the spotlight when it comes to the ability to customize its weight. When ordering a Scuf for example, you have the ability to either keep, or take out the rumble components. This will affect the weight. However, when it comes to the Revolution Pro, Nacon understood that different gamers have different weight requirements. This controller was built with feedback from actual eSports gamers and whilst I personally am not a hardcore eSports gamer, I still appreciate the need for a heavy controller. I also understand that other gamers may not want a heavy controller. Nacon has solved this problem by packaging additional weights. They literally are dumbbells for the controller, all of which vary in weight! Each hand grip has an opening where you can slot in these weights. The controller comes with a weight installation tool that lets you expose the opening for the weights. If you’re weird, you can even vary the weights for each side. If for some reason you want the left side to weigh 17 grams but the right only 10, this is also possible.
Additionally, the controller contains a true, 8-way D-Pad. Whilst other eSports controllers provide some form of disc to make it easier for you to press two of the D-Pad buttons at the same time, the Nacon actually comes with a D-Pad with 8 buttons. The authenticity of the product shines through with the PlayStation home button, which actually contains the PlayStation logo, and the touch pad which if examined closely, has hundreds of tiny PlayStation logos embossed.
The thumbsticks are also purposefully designed for eSports in mind, with a convex right and concaved left thumbstick implemented. The right stick is also purposefully higher to increase the accuracy of your aim when playing shooting games. Additionally, the right stick has a much larger surface area on top in order to prevent you from losing control.
When playing games, behind the right stick is a glowing LED light. The colour of the light will give you instant feedback on what mode you’re playing in. The controller is fully programmable, allowing you to assign one mode to a FPS, whilst another one to perhaps a sports game. Generally you won’t be messing around with these settings once you have set them.
The shoulder buttons are also beautifully designed. The moment you press L2 and R2, you will appreciate the attention to detail that has been given to the controller. They have been purposefully elevated for easier access, and they are also much larger for you to easily access them. There is also a trigger stop so you can rapidly press the triggers for any games that require burst firing. No controller would be deemed as eSports compatible if they didn’t have any macros at the back, and the Revolution Pro contains four buttons behind the controller that act as macros. Are they as easy to access as a Scuf controller? Probably not. Are they still easily accessible? Absolutely. If you’re used to a Scuf controller, you just need to spend some time with the Nacon in order to get used to it. Having said that, if you already own a Scuf controller, I don’t consider you as the target market for this product.
The controller is not without its limitations. Whilst functionally it works brilliantly, it is limited in some of its other features and this is where its competitors really shine. First and foremost, the Revolution Pro is wired only. You need to connect the 5-pin braided cable to the controller and connect it to the USB port of your console. This is frustrating for me when playing at home. The cable is very long, however I am just not used to playing with a wired controller. I appreciate that this has been designed with eSports in mind and in LAN events, you usually have to use a wired controller. However for the money you have to pay, you should be able to turn this into a wireless controller. Chances are that you currently play with a wireless controller since the PS4 comes packaged with one. This adds another concern for me, as I just don’t have the USB ports for it. My PS4 has two ports, and one is used for my Astro Gaming headset and the other for my PlayStation VR. I have to disconnect one in order to use the Revolution Pro. I can get a USB hub, but this is an added cost. On the plus side, the controller cable is at least braided, meaning no tangles.
When I fired up Titanfall 2, I have to admit it took me a short amount of time to get used to the controller. Until then, I have only used a Scuf controller and therefore I wasn’t really looking for an improvement in my game with the Revolution Pro. As long as I felt that my performance wasn’t degrading, I’d be happy. Fortunately, the Nacon Revolution Pro kept up to my standards not only with Titanfall 2, but also Call of Duty, Battlefield and FIFA 17. In fact, I’d go as far as stating that I found the Nacon more comfortable to play with than the Scuf controllers. I found the triggers to be more accessible and sturdier than the trigger stops used in Scuf controllers. Sometimes I’d have to fight with the cable which would get caught under my chair, but this was something I was willing to get used to. It would be a lot worse if I were to be using a wired headset, but the current headset I use is wireless.
The Revolution Pro will not help your performance for titles such as FIFA. It is very much designed with shooting games in mind, which leads me on to my second concern with the controller. For this amount of money, I wish that Nacon would have made the thumbsticks interchangeable. The added height for the right stick is not beneficial for FIFA or other sports games. It’s not needed for single player games either. I hoped for an easy way to swap in and out the sticks. Also, whilst they haven’t worn out yet, thumbsticks will always wear out. That’s another reason why I wish they were interchangeable.
If losing the freedom of wireless connectivity or interchangeable thumbsticks is at the forefront of your concerns, I’d look elsewhere as the Nacon Revolution Pro isn’t for you. The Nacon PS4 Revolution Pro controller however solves a lot of problems. It solves a major problem for those who are either migrating from Xbox to PS4, or are accustomed to playing both consoles (only because of the shape of the controller). It solves a major problem for those who find controllers either too light or heavy. It solves the problem for those who are simply keen to only buy products if they are licensed or manufactured by the first party console company; in this case Sony. I’d classify these three as the unique selling points over the controller’s biggest competitor and more than enough to seriously consider the Nacon Revolution Pro as the go-to controller for your eSports needs. Until Nacon releases a wireless version, I’ll personally be holding onto my Scuf for a little while longer.