Evil Controllers created the custom controller industry over ten years ago, as the first company to develop controller modifications for Xbox and PlayStation controllers. At E3 2017, I was lucky enough to meet some of the key members of the company, and talk to them about the Evil Shift Controller. Since then, they’ve worked tirelessly to innovate and improve on their designs. In late 2019, Evil Controllers proudly launched the MASTERMOD Controller for Xbox One. This controller offers near limitless customisation, but how does it compare to the Evil Shift Controller?
Like all things gaming, first impressions count. I’m pleased to say that first impressions of the MASTERMOD Controller are positive, as the packaging was excellent. Combining the signature Evil Controllers colours of green and black, the box looks slick and clean. The small window on the front of the box allows owners of this controller to see their personalised design, which is a nice additional touch.
Along all sides of the outer packaging are small snippets of information. The front of the box for example states “Wireless Operation”, “Modded circuitry” and “Unbeatable Gameplay”. This “Modded Circuitry” is once again echoed on the side of the box, along with a small image of the insides of the controller. Moving onto the back of the box is a diagram showing a breakdown of the controller. The mods are also listed below this diagram to further inform the owner of what this controller is capable of.
Profiles And Mods
Back in 2018, when I previously spoke to the team at Evil Controllers I provided feedback about the Evil Shift controller. I mentioned to the team that changing profiles was incredibly difficult to figure out, due to the lack of instructions that came with the controller. I’m thankful for the team listening to that feedback and providing a detailed step by step booklet on how to change profiles, along with other valuable details.
Understandably, the MASTERMOD Controller gains its name from the large range of mod options. This isn’t just physical modifications, but digital ones too. There are a total of 20 customizable profiles on the controller. The first 10 profiles have a fire rate equal to that of their profile number. E.g. profile 5 is 5 shots per second. Of course due to the nature of this controller, it is not tournament legal and is recommended only for friendly games with friends.
Various other mods such as special button combinations exist, but some are limited to specific games such as Battlefield or Call Of Duty. These will likely not be used unless you play these set games in a specific way, but are still neat features to have if you want to try messing around in a few games.
Paddles on any scuff or pro controller are one of the key selling points. If the paddles don’t work as intended or get in the way, they’re not filling their purpose of being a good button replacement or addition. One of personal key selling points of the Evil Shift controller was the paddles. On the Evil Shift the paddles operated more like buttons. Their response was fast and the click given off by them instantly told me i’d pressed the paddle correctly.
Unfortunately I’d say the paddles on the MASTERMOD Controller are a bit of a downgrade. Whilst they keep the same style and design, they have far more movement in them. This movement can make the paddles feel like they’re stuck on, rather than part of the controller, which in turn effects how the paddles feel when used during gameplay. This extra movement means that at times, the paddles seem more like thumbsticks, due to their overwhelming ability to move around.
Button Mapping (On The Paddles)
Button mapping on the paddles is something that can be extremely confusing to new players, especially those who have never owned a scuff or pro controller. Luckily the MASTERMOD Controller comes with various sets of instructions to help the player. One set of instructions is how to remap your paddles. These diagrams and easy step by step instructions make the process of mapping the paddles quick and simple.
In terms of remapping these buttons in game, it’s again extremely easy. It takes mere seconds to adjust the buttons that are mapped tot he paddles and as such can sometimes be easier than switching profiles. As someone who uses an Elite Controller, this ease of button mapping is certainly a breath of fresh air, as no additional app or program is needed.
The triggers are one of the features that have been altered since the Evil Shift design. The tension on the triggers has now seemingly been maxed out, leaving very little room for movement. This means that even the slightest press will count as a full input, which is perfect for certain games, like Call Of Duty, but can make other games impossible to play.
A key example of games that would be difficult to play with such triggers would be Halo 5. A range of weaponry, such as the Plasma Pistol, would be impossible to use in the correct way, due to it requiring players to charge up their shot. This isn’t something that couldn’t be done due to how extremely sensitive the triggers on the MASTERMOD Controller are. They’re certainly a game by game trial, but will be a positive addition to most FPS titles.
One issue I brought up to the team about the Evil Shift was the fact that the triggers may sometimes get stuck if pressed hard enough. This problem has been completely solved by the Evil Controllers MASTERMOD Controller, due to the triggers being restricted to only slight presses.
With most customised controllers, the thumbsticks are a key point. A range of sizes is important, but so is a range of designs. Back when the Evil Shift released, it came with three sets of thumbsticks ranging from small, medium and large sizes. This is once again the case with the MASTERMOD Controller. I was honestly expecting a range of variants for the thumbsticks, such as a domed, a indented and a rimmed, so them all being the same design but just in different sizes was slightly disappointing.
The thumbsticks are fully removable, to stop them accidentally coming off during gameplay. A common issue that was known with the Series 1 Elite Controllers. The thumbsticks are extremely easy to remove and attach, but may require some force when attaching the taller sticks. These sticks, as intended by their design, also don’t suffer with lean over time. Much like the Evil Shift, the thumbsticks are designed to go back to the very centre after every use, which is good for high sensitivity FPS gaming.
Along with their staple Evil Controllers logo on the thumbsticks, there isn’t a lot more to the design. Different colours and different patterns would be my next suggestion for the thumbsticks, as they seem to be one of the only areas of the MASTERMOD Controller that isn’t customisable.
The buttons of the Evil Controllers MASTERMOD Controller are one part that surprised me. Not due to the innovation, but due to the lack of it. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I was expecting something different from such a unique controller. The buttons on the Evil Shift allowed half the travel time for button presses and had a click type feature to easily alert players of a successful input. All buttons, including the D-pad, seemed to lack any additional functionality on the MASTERMOD Controller. In fact, when comparing it to my standard Xbox One controller, I could not find any noticeable difference in button presses.
The click type buttons and half the travel time was certainly an amazing feature for the X Y A B buttons on the Evil Shift Controller, so it’s a shame to not have that as a feature here. It seems most of the focus for the MASTERMOD Controller went towards the customisation of gameplay and aesthetics, where as the Evil Shift Controller focused heavily on innovation.
All in all the Evil Controllers MASTERMOD Controller is nor better nor worse than the Evil Shift Controller. It’s simply different. It has evolved and upgraded some areas, such as the modded button combinations, additional physical instructions, packaging and customisation. I’d say the triggers, paddles and buttons have all been downgraded somewhat compared to the Evil Shift, but all in all it’s still a very good controller and fun to use. As far as usability goes, it’s less ideal for some games and more ideal for others, but has more customisation than the Evil Shift. As such I’d rate it at the same level in terms of value for money as the Evil Shift.
You can find more information about the MASTERMOD Controller on the Official Evil Controllers Website. The images used in this review were taken by myself. The controller was provided by Evil Controllers.
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