MLG Pro Circuit Controller Review
Product: MLG Pro Circuit Controller
Manufacturer: Mad Catz
When it comes to controllers, most people will stick with the one that comes in the box. Whether it be the standard Xbox 360 controller or the PlayStation 3’s DualShock 3 (or Sixaxis), the price of buying a new controller, for whatever reason, is never particularly low, and whether it’s brand loyalty or the unknown factor when it comes to a third party device, people tend to stick to buying “more of the same” for their second controller.
Aimed primarily at professional gamers, the Pro Circuit controller allows for high levels of customisation, giving the player more choice than ever as to how they control a game.
For example, whilst I have a preference toward the Xbox 360 controller, I don’t like the D-Pad at all, far preferring the PlayStation 3 controller’s D-Pad. With the Pro Circuit controller, the dream of a hybrid controller can become a reality. Inside the box with the pad itself (and the snazzy carry bag included) comes a complete alternative selection of D-Pad and sticks, meaning that – even though this particular model was the Xbox 360 one – you can swap the sticks and D-Pad out with ease and have an Xbox 360 controller that has a PlayStation 3 set of joysticks and D-Pad.
On top of this, you even have a choice of matt or gloss finish. Both the faceplate and the grip areas are swappable, with both choices in the box. But wait, that’s not even the best part. Mad Catz understand that we all have different needs in a controller, so where you’d normally find the battery pack on a wireless controller (or nothing on a wired one) is a small removable “weights” pack containing 2 x 3.5g weights, making for a seriously weighty controller.
Now, if you don’t fancy a heavy controller, you can of course remove one of the weights, or indeed replace that pack with a cover (included) to make it feel more like a normal wired Xbox 360 controller. However, with the weights included it feels like a seriously heavy duty (in a good way) piece of kit.
The one diversion from the standard Xbox 360 design on the Pro Circuit controller is the placing of the Start and Back buttons. The guide button is now slightly more depressed within the unit, and the aforementioned buttons sit on either side of it. It’s a slightly unnatural positioning given that most gamers are hard-coded to know where they would normally be, but the thinking appears to be to place them out of harms way so as to remove the risk of accidentally pushing either button.
In terms of the buttons you’d expect to find, they all feel very nice indeed. Special mention to the shoulder buttons though. The bumper buttons have a satisfying click to them, whilst the triggers feel very smooth when depressed. Whichever joystick setup you go with, they feel incredible, with every movement feeling smooth; you’ll find yourself just fiddling with the controller when it isn’t even on.
Onto the rear of the controller then, which is smooth and fits the hand very naturally. Gone is the plastic found on a standard controller, replaced with an almost rubber-like substance which, as ridiculous as it sounds, makes the Pro Circuit controller that much more comfortable. It’s the little things that count, it really is.
In terms of the wired connection, the cable is removable for easy storage and can be screwed into the device to lock it in place. Again, the idea behind this is aimed at pro-gamers, making sure that no cables are knocked out during key moments. Console end, there is the standard connection before the USB end which can be removed if someone trips on the cable, but it’s closer to the console end than usual, meaning that to trip it out you’d have to be nearly on top of the console in question.
VERDICT: Without question, the MLG Pro Circuit Controller is the nicest gaming controller I’ve ever held. It exudes quality at every turn, screaming “expensive” at the user. The level of customisation means that I won’t be alone feeling this way, because anyone can come along and make the MLG Pro into the controller that they want.
Sure, it’s not cheap, but it’s a testament to the magnificence of the controller that despite being wired, it is now the controller of choice. If you play a lot of games and can afford it, treat yourself to the best controller on the market.