The Nacon Revolution is one of two new controllers officially licensed by PlayStation, the other being Razer’s similarly-styled Raiju. Built with the pro competitive player in mind, they come at premium – £89.99 in this instance. While pretty much double the price of Sony’s standard DualShock 4, it’s a lot cheaper than the Raiju (priced at around £150) as well as SCUF’s high-tier custom pads.
Moving away from cost, the Revolution comes with a 3m braided USB wire, a small set of weights, and one or two Nacon branded goodies. In an age where wireless pads rule supreme, keeping one constantly plugged in can be a hassle, though quickly became less of a problem the more often I used it. Some will argue that a wired connection cuts down latency, but however big that jump is meant to be, there’s little to suggest to me that there’s a notable difference.
One inclusion that surprised me a bit, however, were the weights. Allowing players to adjust the heft of their controller is a simple yet welcome addition. Accessing the compartment where they slot in can be a bit awkward, though it’s something you’ll only need to do once, maybe twice.
The Revolution comes tagged with several other features, some being more subtle. The D-Pad, for instance, sports eight directional inputs instead of the standard four. It’s a design choice that speaks to the fighting game crowd and one that alleviates the awkward gestures needed when pulling off special moves in Street Fighter. It’s no substitute for a tournament-grade arcade stick, but is certainly easier on the thumbs.
For those accustomed to Sony’s DualShock as opposed to the Xbox controllers, the offset analogue sticks on the Nacon Revolution will feel strange at first. After hundreds of hours of gaming, a certain muscle memory builds up and I definitely found myself reaching above the left stick for directional buttons that weren’t there.
The main reason for picking up one of these pro controllers is the ability to customise layouts, add shortcuts, and add macros. The Revolution has four added rear buttons that wrap around your index fingers. These can be modified to mimic just about any input, from making reloads, to crouching, and making melee attacks that little bit quicker (at least in first person shooters). You can load a total of four profiles onto the controller at once, switching between them at the press of a button.
In order to tweak your layout – as well as stick sensitivity, dead zones, and other advanced refinements – you’ll need to plug your pad into a computer and use Nacon’s software. While fairly slick in its design, it doesn’t do a great job in explaining just how to mod your Revolution or what a macro actually is.
It may sport a quality matte finish but there’s something about Nacon’s latest controller that didn’t feel right to me. During play I found myself continually adjusting my grip, failing to get a comfortable hold on it. The way I usually position my hands didn’t gel with the Revolution’s bulky form, my fingers often stretching too far over the triggers. As someone with fairly mammoth hands, it may not be a common issue. Ultimately it comes down to preference and for me, smaller, more streamlined controllers often allow for better comfort and competitive performance.
Like many premium gamepads on the market, you won’t know if it’s the right one unless you get some hands on time. Considering their limited retail presence, that can be a major issue and probably explains why many are hesitant when shopping for these third party controllers. While definitely a safe choice for anyone looking to tailor their gaming experience further, Nacon’s latest effort isn’t enough to dethrone the DualShock, though I’m sure there’s a hardcore niche that would strongly disagree.