Picking up a PlayStation 4 controller other than Sony’s official DualShock 4, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I’m a bit boring in always sticking with whatever comes bundled with a console, especially having had to wrestle with my fair share of cheap and tacky third party controllers in the past. The SCUF Infinity 4PS is anything but that, as a more premium alternative to Sony’s own.
For those who haven’t done their homework, the 4PS doesn’t seem to bring a lot to the table. Sony’s design for the DualShock 4 is easily its best to date, so there really wasn’t a need for SCUF to do a complete overhaul. However, wrap your hands around one of these pads and you’ll discover a number of intriguing revisions geared towards competitive play. From adjustable triggers down to a pair of protruding paddles, many of these features can be customised to help improve your performance when playing online.
Since receiving the Infinity 4PS, I’ve carried it into battle at every opportunity, across a variety of multiplayer games – Overwatch and Rainbow Six Siege mainly – and although I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s made me a better player, it’s quickly become my controller of choice. That’s impressive feat when you’re like me and consider the DualShock 4 an extension of your own being.
The shape and form of Sony’s original design remains the same, alongside that all-round feeling of quality. The rumble feature has been removed, but the Infinity 4PS still has a nice heft to it without the cheap weightlessness I previously found with aftermarket controllers. [Update: this is a customisation option and the controllers do come with rumble by default]
No matter which combination of colour scheme and pattern you go for, the shell sits comfortably in your hand, matte on one side, textured grip on the other. Described in SCUF’s marketing as “Military Grade” this non-slip surface isn’t a revelation, but it does make extended gameplay sessions more comfortable, without the common pooling of grease and sweat beneath your fingers.
The most intuitive new feature of the Infinity 4PS, however, is its PRO Paddles that are the most distinctive addition within the SCUF range. They’re positioned on the rear within perfect reach of your middle and ring fingers and can be programmed to copy a variety of control inputs. It sounds like an incredibly trivial feature, but over time using them as shortcuts becomes second nature. The handful of milliseconds saved by hitting a paddle instead of moving your thumb from the right analogue stick to tap a face button is minute yet noticeable, making actions such as reloading, weapon switching, and crouching just that little bit swifter. Again, it might not make you a better play overnight, but for professional gamers, those milliseconds can make a big difference.
Aiming and shooting can also be sped up by adjusting the trigger depth. Tucked beneath the lip of each trigger is a switch that effectively limits how far players need to push down on them, allowing you to turn them into hair triggers if you wish to remove some of that added latency. Sensitivity can also be tweaked to your own personal preference. At its highest, a merely stroking the trigger will have you aiming down sights or firing off a shot almost instantly.
That same degree of customisation carries over into the variety of add-ons available for the Infinity 4PS range. The care package SCUF generously deployed at TSA Towers included a sturdy portable case, two sets of replaceable precision thumbsticks, a pair of extended triggers and the small set of tools needed to modify your 4PS. Whether fiddling with the hair trigger mechanism, reprogramming the paddles, or bolting on a new pair of sticks, each process is easy and hassle-free, without the need for a set of screwdrivers or lengthy teardowns.
Whether SCUF’s latest invention has improved my competitive performance is debatable, though the added comfort, level of customisation, and all-round quality has meant that my DualShock 4 now has a thin layer of dust!
With a starting price of £119.99, it’s a pretty big investment. For gamers who are dead serious about competitive gaming, that’s a premium many are prepared to pay, however. Even with my very limited knowledge of third party accessories, SCUF is a name and brand that has grown to mean quality, which is only bolstered by its links with professional players and the esports scene. Of course, being able to customise the design lets you put your own stamp on your controller, not just gain a slight competitive edge.
That’s not to say that casual gamers should stay clear. In contrast to some other pro controllers, this can be used wirelessly or cabled, for one thing, but the easy modification of the 4PS makes it incredibly easy to swap out key components if they ever begin to wear down from constant use. It was only a few weeks ago that I decided to dig out my original DualShock 4 to replace the analogue sticks, and even with the newer model controllers, those rubber grips have a tendency to erode and tear away. While inexpensive for me to fix the DualShock 4, the process of attaching the new sticks was time consuming and required finesse. Despite accurately following a step-by-step guide, upon reassembling my DualShock 4, one of the triggers had become faulty with the touchpad also losing some functionality.
There’s no such worries with the 4PS, where it took a fraction of the time and effort without the risk of collateral damage. As long as you aren’t prone to roughing up your gamepads, the 4PS offers long-lasting durability and, more importantly, peace of mind.