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Hardware Review - 'FPS Master'

by Thomas Wilde on June 5, 2004 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Designed specifically for Next-Gen First Person Shooter games, the FPS gives you unparalleled control. Featuring symmetrical left and right analog sticks, rubber grips, easily programmable buttons, and ergonomic shape, the FPS gives gamers what they want most: more control and comfort. Works with all Xbox games.

Genre : Xbox Controller
Disitrbuter : Radica Gamester

Here’s an interesting idea: a console controller designed entirely for first-person shooters on the Xbox. The idea is to free you from always having to remove your thumb from the stick in order to press one of the face buttons.

The FPS Master is interesting to look at. It looks like some kind of bizarre steering wheel more than anything else, or maybe the grips on a turret. Holding it, your thumbs rest on the sticks, while your pointer fingers slide neatly into the triggers. The X, Y, B, and A buttons are situated on the bottom of the controller, where your middle and ring fingers typically rest.

It has a small light-up LCD screen like a Dreamcast VMU, which is meant to be used to let you record and use macros; however, I haven’t found a use for such a feature yet. The one game I can think of where it’d be useful – Unreal Tournament 2004 – isn’t on Xbox. Still, points for style.

It takes some getting used to. Fortunately, the FPS Master is nice and responsive, with decent response and surprising durability. It looks like it might be fragile, but it’s built as solidly as most Xbox controllers tend to be, and lacks the sticky buttons or shady reaction time of a lot of third-party hardware.

This isn’t all sunshine and roses, though. If you’re playing a game that makes frequent use of the control pad, the White button, or the Black button, the FPS Master isn’t much help, as those are inconveniently situated on the edge of the controller. You’ll still have to move your thumb off a stick to hit White or Black.

More importantly, to use the control pad, you not only have to take your thumb off the left thumbstick, but you have to engage in some thrilling finger gymnastics. The pad, you see, is directly below the stick. This is slightly unwise.

If you’re a serious fan of FPSes on Xbox, the FPS Master is a decent buy. You’ll have to leave yourself some time to wrap your brain around the idea of using more of your hand than you usually do, as well as reminding yourself of where the buttons are now. Further, I don’t recommend the FPS Master for shooters with platforming elements, such as Deus Ex: Invisible War; it’s at its best when you’re simply running and gunning. It comes into its own for titles like Halo, as one might expect.

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