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MadCatz 900Mhz RF Wireless Controller for PS2
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by MadCatz

The plethora of next generation systems have made me giddy with excitement. It’s also made me acutely aware of a couple of things. Several systems with up to four controllers each can be a tangled wire nightmare, and it’s clear something has to be done about it. It’s also made me aware that with so many titles coming cross platform at bascially the same price, the determining factor of which version gets played may well come down to such basic factors as controller preference.

What I like about the new wireless controller from MadCatz is that it scores well in both of these areas. Let me say first of all that whether it happens now or later, wireless controllers are the future of console gaming. Living rooms and entertainment centers simply aren’t designed with the multiplatform gamer in mind; finding space and finding a way to deal with my rapidly increasing cord population are both key concerns to me right now.

The MadCatz wireless controller is something of a blessing if you’re beginning to experience this problem, and is just plain handy to have around. What’s more important is that it feels good in the hands. It’s heavy but not overly so. It feels like it has substance. The button layout is pretty standard and the analog stiucks have a smooth feel. Once upon a time third party controllers were less expensive than those of the first party, and they also felt like it. Over the years this has thankfully become less of an issue, and MadCatz should be commended for designing controllers with gameplay, quality, convience, and aesettics in mind.

The MadCatz wireless includes all the goodies of the PS2 Dual Shock, including force feedback. While the benefit of many other cordless controllers has been tempered by the demanding battery consumption and hassle of swapping batteries in and out, the MadCatz wireless has an internal battery and a handy charger. This charger has the added benefit of providing a nice and convenient place to store your controller when it’s not in use. Recharging takes around ten hours (leave it overnight), and a fully charged battery is good for around five hours of gameplay.

Although I really enjoy this controller, I have three issues with it that keep it from being an all around must have. First, five hours of gameplay is good, but it’s not always enough. Although in all fairness maybe this means I play too many videogames. Still this issue is compounded because the battery should be completely drained before recharging. So if you put in a couple hours one night your controller will limit you to around three hours of gameplay the next morning. A more perfect controller will impliment a more advanced memory free battery, making storage and recharging a non-factor. The second issue is that the controller occasionally loses contact with the reciever for a moment, resulting in an annoying flash to the pause screen. This occurrs primarily when my PS2 is stationed low to the ground while I sit in such a way that the controller is aimed up and away from the reciever. Depending on how your system is set up this may never be an issue for you, but it’s weird regardless because RF (radio frequency) technology is supposed to be omnidirectional (like your portable phone), unlike wireless controllers that use infrared signals. Finally the MadCatz controller is going to retail for around $49.99. This isn’t a bad deal when you consider you’re getting a great controller and the battery/recharger set-up, but shelling out fifty bucks for a controller may make the most dedicated gamer think twice—especially since, if you do a lot of multiplayer gaming, several controllers may be necessary to completely do away with the cord problem.

Still, the MadCatz wireless is an excellent product. Depending on how concerned with cords you are, a wireless controller can either be a lifesaver or cool novelty. If you’re just looking to pick-up an extra controller this might not be the way to go, but if you’re already in the market for a wireless controller, this is a solid buy.

Jeff Luther   (11/20/2001)


Ups: Wireless!

Downs: Charge time; signal interference.

Platform: PS2