Published on August 9th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Accessory Review: The Kontrol Freek FPS Freek CQC
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Developer: Kontrol Freek
MSRP: US $10.99
Review Notes: Samples were sent to GAMINGtruth for review purposes.
Gamers are constantly trying to gain a certain edge when it comes to in-game challenges. Whether it is a competitive edge in multiplayer matches or stomping out an opponent’s score on a leaderboard, gaining the upper hand can come in more forms than just exercising your reflexes.
Since its introduction to modern gaming, controller modding itself has come under much scrutiny from the community. Many non-competitive and pro gamers alike have voiced much concern about taking away the humanism involved when modding a controller. A trigger that automatically fires six times a squeeze is a lot different than any grip or stick installed. On top of that, many gaming competitions do not allow such mods for competitive play. That is where the Kontrol Freek’s FPS CQC (Close Quarters Combat) stick mods come into play.
After examining the sticks and setting them up for play, I soon realized that they were better designed for the Xbox 360 controller. The PlayStation 3 sticks for some, myself included, aren’t exactly great for first person shooter games. Adding to the height of the sticks, the added grips give yet more height to the controller.
Thumbstick grips are hardly an “extreme” modification, but still give the player an opportunity to gain a certain edge. While many skins or gels can be seen in gaming shops, only some are approved for tournament play. The FPS CQC are ready to latch on to your controller and give you extra control for the kill.
The first thing you’ll notice about the mods is their design. Much like other grips we’ve seen in the past, the designs adds grip to your thumbsticks and can replace old warn out material. They are also vary in design based on their job description. The tops of these often come with customized logos, but it is the material they are made of that proves most effective in their use.
The rubberized material that is used in FPS CQCs are a little more coarse, but with a less “rubbery” feel to them. Also, they are placed atop plastic clips that, without sticky material, adhere to the LS and RS. Both fit comfortably and have a high possibility of not moving.
In order to get full use out the grips, I found it necessary to take them for a spin through some of the trials and tribulations that every gamer goes through. Whether it is the slips and follies when under the pressure of being killed by an enemy, or the final seconds in a multiplayer match—every kill counts. That’s how these little nubs were put to our test of everyday wear and tear.
First play test: Extended play
The game chosen to test these in extended play was Borderlands. After taking on a few missions and playing in the co-op arena, it was easy to get used to the grips and survive with sweaty palms. There were moments where not losing grip allowed for some precise take downs and earning that second wind. The grips didn’t bother with any sort of friction or become a nuisance even after two straight hours of use.
Second play test: Competitive
After taking the grips through a low stress environment, it was time to put them to the test. Our next stop was Halo, Call of Duty and Gears of War 3—which are the three main games that they are recommended to be used with according to the website and note issued with the samples.
During matches, I felt like I had more control in many tight situations. When it came to close quarters, instead of fumbling around with the excitement of a kill, it was far easier to grasp the stick with the edge of my thumb and complete my task. The same situations arose in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Even hitting the LS in for a run or maintaining a straight line of sight while shooting, there was a noticeable amount of comfort and precision. That same guidance was noticed in the third person shooter, Gears of War 3.
However, during some intense matches in Halo: Reach, I did have a mishap. While pushing through a running riot, I was excited to return to the game after so long and be doing so well. After sprinting to the top of the rocks in Asylum, the grip slipped off and tore the original material on my LS. While I can admit I was pushing at about a 60 degree angle, it didn’t stay put leaving me to fall victim to a melee, ending my run.
While the controller performed well in both of those settings, they don’t take into account other elements of gaming. What about the snacks? It is not uncommon to have something within arm’s reach while gaming. Whether it is a iced drink or greasy chips to accompany your game, nothing quite says downtime like a cold brew and some fragging.
The first of these snack tests was done with a cold glass. A chilled beverage can leave your hands moist and unready for the match to begin. With plenty of condensation on the glass, it was ready to start. Every minute on the dot, waiting to respawn or not, I grabbed my glass with both hands in order to get them moist from the frosty drink.
This was done for three matches to see if it impacted performance. Even with a light glazing of moisture, the sticks performed surprisingly well, almost improving with the moisture present. This is good news for those peeps whose palms are the pits, leaving them to lose control in the heat of battle. The same couldn’t be said against a controller’s worst enemy: potato chips.
Greasy Food Test
After immediately reaching in for two handfuls of potato chips, the result was immediate. The controller became too slick to play with, which was the complete opposite of the effect of water. There was no use in continuing on due to the inability to play and not being able to control your character.
The FPS Freek CQC performed well over long periods of play and during heated close combat. It also reacted well to moisture and didn’t hinder performance. In the case of greasy food, the grips were too slippery to continue playing. Even though they are 1/4 of the height of the original FPS Freek, they are still too tall to place on the PlayStation 3 controller.
Anyone with a controller that has lost its grips or that new feeling will find comfort in the FPS Freek CQC, particularly for games that require you to snap back into combat right after a kill. While greasy foods may be their worst enemy, they’ll be your best friend during combat. It’s touch to give these nubs a definitive score, being that they will mean everything to the FPS brawler tangled in K/D’s, but not the same to someone outside the realm.
+ Good for extended play
– Doesn’t play well with greasy foods