So that there’s no confusion, this is not really a review. Now that’s out of the way…
You may have seen the KontrolFreek FPS doo-dahs being pushed by everyone and their dog lately. This sudden ramping up of viral marketing can be put down to one of two things – they’re either the best thing since thumbs, or there’s commission to be made. Or maybe both. – Yes, I’ve linked to them, but it’s a direct link, no referal codes, if you go there I get nothing, if you don’t go there I still get nothing.
But on with the “review”. It’s only fair to point out that I do not have, nor have used the KontrolFreek FPS thumb dingles. I have read what other people including Donncha, SeaNanners, PyroPuncher and others have said about them. What interested me more is not whether or not they turn you into an MLG Pro player overnight, or turn your 26-3 stats into 75-1, I was into the physics of it. If it worked, how does it work.
But before we get into that, allow me to introduce to you the Cheap Freaks FPS*. It retails for no pennies and is available free in most homes.
*Some assembly required.
What’s in the box?
Well…nothing, but here’s what you’ll need:
A child’s drink bottle (or any that has those little plastic caps on top), your console controller, and some blu, or white tack – white is the choice of Pro’s.
First, take the clear plastic sealer cap from the top of the bottle. Place it to one side and then drink the contents of the bottle – glug, glug, glug. You can use the bottle for other projects as “Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Beginners” or “Fun With Hydro Rockets”, otherwise recycle it.
Now get your blu-tac, or Pro white-tac and roll out a small sticky sausage to fit the circumference of your analogue stick. If you want to be super precise you can use the following formula to work out how long that is: 2 π r
Once you have your sticky sausage, place it toward the outer edge of the analogue stick. You can now get the plactic cap and place it on top. You may need to adjust the placement, but the good thing about this is that you can place the cap to whatever is comfortable for you. And it will look something like this:
Ugly is not the same as useless. As long as something does what I want it to I’m not particularly bothered what it looks like. So does it work?
That really is the big question…..
Well here’s my experience. It didn’t help my k/d. In fact, it was worse during my testing phase of three games. So obviously that makes it useless right? Wrong! My k/d is bad because I’m a bad player, my k/d was worse because I was looking for engagements. To explain a bit more, here’s my conclusion:
The Cheap Freaks FPS does what it says on the tin in my experience. And if my crappy no-monies version works then the proper KontrolFreeks FPS must also work (but look better). I normally play on a Sensitivity setting of 2 or 3 when playing Call of Duty 6 – Modern Warfare 2. With my Cheap Freak attached I was playing on 7 (I incremented up to that). I could probably have gone higher, but didn’t feel the need as the concept had been proven to me.
They don’t make your game better though. No add-on will ever make you a better player – that is completely down to the individual. What it does is give you more control – especially fine control for tricky aiming. Having come from PC gaming this level of control is something that I have sorely missed. If you’re fine with your controller as it is, then these products will not be of benefit but if, like me, you find your aim is erratic then give it a go – either the Cheap Freaks if you don’t mind looking like a street crazy, or the KontrolFreeks if you like to video yourself playing.
Would I buy the proper version? For $10 yes I probably would because I noticed a significant difference when using my Blue Peter version. But since I live in the UK I’m not likely to buy them as I abhor postage charges, nor the $ to £ conversion that suppliers use (“$10….well, we’ll sell it for £10. No one will ever know…..”)
Hey! What about the Science bit?
M = Fd
Okay. How they work…..it’s all about leverage. The nubbins on the controllers are quite small so the shaft (lever) is short. This means that small movements of the nubbin/lever translate into large inputs. So when you extend the length of the lever the fulcrum/pivot relationship is altered in such a way that you have to move the nubbin more to gain the same amount of relative movement as before.
So when you run around the corner and get surprised, instead of wildly flailing and firing at the sky, your knee jerk reaction becomes a smooth arcing headshot. BOOYAAAH! as JunkYard would say.
Found this helpful? Good. Found it really rubbish? Well, you read this far so it can’t be that bad ;-p
After playing last night (Friday 5th March 2010) for over an hour the Cheap Freak went out of position due to the white-tac getting warm and through the pressure of use. White-tac or blu-tac is not designed for this purpose so the flaw is not in the material, but in my choice of material. The issue was a lateral shift which hindered my movement control. So I’ve removed the Cheap Freak and reverted to my old sensitivity setting of 3. In this test, for me, the concept of the KontrolFreek FPS has been proven and if I come across some of these for the equivalent of $10 then I’ll be investing in them.
Peas and loaves.
Find me on PSN – evaDlivE