Video game accessories come in all shapes and sizes from specialized headsets, high-tech charging stations, and professional gaming peripherals. KontrolFreek, a company based in Atlanta, Georgia specializes in the latter field, offering video game enthusiasts a series of professional-grade, performance enhancing thumbstick adaptors.
Boasting claims that any shooter fan can appreciate: increased range of motion, higher precision aiming, and less grip fatigue, I jumped at the opportunity to test these little unsuspecting analog add-ons for myself. Over the course of a rigorous gaming weekend, complete with Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts on PS4, I put the KontrolFreek Ultra thumbsticks through its paces and I must say that I am pleasantly surprised.
What is a thumbstick adaptor?
KontrolFreek has made a name for itself by catering to gamers of all genres and play styles. Their hallmarked analog accessories extend far beyond the arena of first-person shooters, with styles specific to sports, racing, and even arcade games.
The KontrolFreek Ultra is one of the cheapest gaming accessories you will find on the market. With models selling for $11-$14, gamers’ curious about the analog sticks can try them out without the pangs of buyer’s remorse. The thumbstick adaptors are just as easy to “install” as they are to buy. No additional tools, screws, or mechanical knowhow is required to get these accessories in working order. The models snap right on top of the controller’s existing analog sticks and can easily be removed at any time.
In terms of actual functionality, the FPS Ultra’s increased thumbstick length granted a noticeable improvement in playability. With the thumbstick adaptors equipped, character maneuverability and control required much less analog movement to perform. A slight tilt of the analogs was all I needed to do everything from sprinting around corners to performing long-range headshots.
The Ultra thumbstick adaptors boast a wide array of benefits, but let me tell you, they are very difficult to get used to. The additional height of the thumbsticks makes every movement, from aiming down the sights to switching the camera angle, feel different and somewhat foreign. It certainly takes more than a few games to acquire the same level of comfort that you may be accustom too. You may need to tweak a few in-game settings to better adjust gameplay with the thumbstick adaptors. Personally, increasing the sensitivity worked wonders for me.
While outfitted with textured grippers to prevent thumbs from slipping during intense gameplay, I did prefer texture of the regular PS4’s analog sticks to the Ultra’s thumb-face. This is not necessarily a fault on the thumbsticks themselves, just a preference.
Should You Buy?
Overall, the KontrolFreek Ultra is a fun peripheral accessory for the everyday shooter fan. For users with a more tailored play style such as exclusive snipers or the up-close and personal type, KontrolFreek offers specialized thumbstick adaptor models that may be more beneficial. But as someone who favors a more varied style, the ability to switch between close combat one match to sniping the next, the Ultra seemed to be the perfect fit.
The bottom line is, if you’re willing to take the time to adapt to playing with the thumbstick accessory, it could very well improve your FPS gameplay and shooting performance. However, don’t expect this device to transform a bad player into a pro. The KontrolFreek Ultra is not an overpowered miracle gadget nor does it bestow gaming prowess that you do not have. Think of the KontrolFreek adaptor as a tool used to better showcase your skill set and to help sharpen your precision. At under $15, I’d recommend the thumbstick adaptors to both serious players seeking to hone their craft and the average FPS fan in need of a little aiming assistance.
*Editor’s Note: This review was conducted with the KontrolFreek FPS Ultra Thumbstick Adaptor on the PS4.