One of the best controllers you can get for your PC or Xbox is the super customisable Microsoft Elite, but if you’re a PS4 fan you’ll have to go to third party peripheral maker Scuf to get any kind of customisation. We’ve liked Scufs PS4 controllers in the past quite a bit, but its latest PS4 controller, the Vantage, throws out the PS4 design to create a hybrid even Microsoft would be proud of.
First there are the paddles on the back that a Microsoft Elite owner (or previous Scuf owner) will be familiar with. Previous Scuf PS4 controllers had only 2 paddles. The Vantage squeezes in two more, plus a few more buttons, a slew of customisation options, and some much-needed audio controls. At $170 (£127; UK pricing and availability TBA) it ain’t cheap, and all those buttons seem like overkill, but I suppose that’s the price you pay if you’re a professional gamer who wants to maintain the upper hand—or a more casual one who wants to beat their friends.
I got an hour with the Vantage recently and found myself kind of digging it! The rear paddles let gamers play at a professional level without resorting to weird controller configurations or potentially dangerous contorting of their fingers to hit all the buttons they need to on a traditional controller. You simply hold the controller as you normally would, and use the four rear paddles as substitutes for your controller’s face buttons, letting you keep your thumbs on the sticks. You can also remap those paddles on the fly by flicking the remap switch below the controller, and hitting the button you’re looking to move. My first go at remapping buttons to paddles was a confusing experience, and I wasn’t exactly sure if I was properly configuring them until I got back into the game to test them out.
The controller, while meant for PS4 consoles, seemingly borrows its thumbstick and button layout from Microsoft’s Xbox One controller, which may take some getting used to if you consider yourself a PlayStation fan.
It’s got two extra side buttons called “Sax” buttons, which rest below your index fingers, making them easy to hit without removing your fingers from the shoulder buttons. Those shoulder triggers are also customisable, and support longer trigger accessories for easier use, and adjustable dials that allow you to modify the trigger button’s travel distance for more rapid fire shooting.
All images: Scuf
To make it easier for players to deal with voice chat during online play, there’s also a volume slider below the joystick and D-Pad that lets you quickly adjust and mute the conversation, a most useful addition I’d love to have on my standard PS4 controller.
The list of customisable, adjustable, and removable components is pretty long, as nearly everything about the Vantage can be tweaked, replaced, or taken apart. You can swap out the magnetic faceplate, opt for different thumbsticks, pop off the rear paddles, and remove the Vantage’s rumble modules to make it lighter (and to stop that vibration from throwing off your shot). Those customisable elements didn’t detract from the device’s feel, at least during the half hour or so I spent using it to waste soldiers in Call of Duty. Still, I could definitely go for a slightly smaller controller.
At the moment the Scuf Vantage is only available for pre-order in the US and Canada, though its prices might take some of the sting out of that. The wired model costs $170 (£127), while the wireless/wired model costs a cool $200 (£149).