If you’ve ever played with an Xbox One Elite Controller for any period, you’ll notice that it’s lightyears ahead of anything on the market when it comes to customization and durability. Unfortunately, Sony hasn’t produced a similar controller for the PS4, and no third-party controllers really matched the Elite, at least until the SCUF Vantage.
The SCUF Vantage is an incredibly customizable PS4 controller that finally gives the console something comparable to the Xbox One Elite Controller. Whether the controller is for you or not, though, depends on whether you feel like the DualShock 4 isn’t giving you the best control experience possible, and you’re willing to pay the $150-200 to do something about it.
SCUF Vantage Wireless PS4 Controller Review – Xbox Aesthetics
I respect the lineage of the DualShock 4, but the Xbox One controller in the pinnacle of current controller design in my opinion. The offset joysticks are far superior to the DualShock layout, and they make it easy to keep control of movement and the camera in most games without requiring you to pull off any awkward hand movements to reach all the buttons.
While there have been some third-party PS4 controllers that have emulated the Xbox layout, only one other, the Razer Raiju Ultimate, has come close to the quality you get with an Xbox One Elite Controller. Comparing the design of the Vantage and the Raiju, SCUF’s design wins in my book, mostly because the Raiju can be a bit awkward to grip. The Vantage has full-size “legs” which feel natural coming off either the DualShock 4 or Xbox One controller, while the Raiju’s grips are a bit stubby.
The Vantage is fully customizable with different colored triggers, thumbsticks, faceplates, and anti-friction rings being available. The faceplate is held on by magnets and lifting it reveals the removable vibration modules. You can also change out the triggers for long or short variations, as well as adjust the trigger tension. There are several lengths of joystick, and you can switch the d-pad out for a “control disc” which makes executing diagonals easier in fighting games.
You’ll also find some inputs on the Vantage that don’t come stock with the DualShock 4. There are two sax buttons on the side of the controller that can be mapped and are easily activated with your index finger. This basically adds the equivalent of another shoulder button, and used effectively it can keep you from having to move your fingers to the face button as often.
Like the Xbox One Elite Controller, you’ll find four paddles on the rear of the Vantage that are easily activated with the fingers you use to grip the controller with. It’s a bit difficult to get used to the paddles at first, but they can replace the entirety of the face buttons, and increase your response time and comfort while playing.
SCUF Vantage Wireless PS4 Controller Review – Build Quality
No controller matches the Xbox One Elite Controller in build quality, but the SCUF Vantage comes close. It’s hefty, without being heavy, and features rubberized grips. However, it’s mostly plastic, which is a bit disappointing. The triggers especially can feel a bit insubstantial when you’re swapping them out. They’re plastic, and they snap in, so I’m not sure how much swapping they can take before they break.
The rear paddles, too, are plastic. While I had no issue with wear on any aspect of the controller during my month or so playing PS4 with it exclusively, it does seem like the paddles may be a weak link.
For $169.95 for the wired version and $199.95 for the wireless version ($229.95 if you want anything other than silver) I had hoped there’d be more metal parts used in the construction of the SCUF Vantage. When spending that kind of money on a controller, I want something that is gonna hold up for years, and though the Vantage feels solid, experience has taught me that plastic is not the material to go with if you want a product with so many moving parts to last.
SCUF Vantage Wireless PS4 Controller Review – Wired or Wireless?
I reviewed the wireless version of the SCUF Vantage, and I was impressed with how well it worked on the PS4. Sony has kept their platform pretty locked down when it comes to wireless connectivity, and because of this we just haven’t seen many wireless controllers for the console.
Only when connecting the Vantage for the first time do you need another controller. From then on you can turn on the console wirelessly with just like if you were using a DualShock 4. The Vantage controls all the system menus just as easily as a stock controller, and it has a working touchpad for use in games that require that.
The only two things the Vantage can’t do that the DualShock 4 can likely lay with Sony restrictions rather than with SCUF. If the controller is in wireless mode, you can’t use the headphone jack, and it doesn’t work with PSVR. I know for a fact that the headphone issues are due to Sony just supporting Bluetooth audio on third-party peripherals, which is no fault of SCUF’s.
SCUF Vantage Wireless PS4 Controller Review – Getting Good
The real question for anyone interested in purchasing the SCUF Vantage is whether it’ll actually make you better in games. It’s not a magic wand that’s going to make you instantly a pro gamer. However, it does give you way more options than the DualShock 4, so if you get it set up in a way you’re comfortable with it may give you an edge.
One of the banes of playing on a console is that most games don’t offer a way to remap controllers. With the Vantage, that problem is a thing of the past. You can remap buttons without using any app or accessory. You just slide the right slider on the bottom of the controller to the right, hold the sax button or paddle you want to set and then press the button you want to map to it. This is one front the Vantage has even the Xbox One Elite Controller beat in since the Elite has to use an app for a lot of the configuration options.
SCUF Vantage Wireless PS4 Controller Review – Better Than Stock
I love the SCUF Vantage, as it addresses one of my major issues with playing on PS4: the DualShock 4. I’m not saying the DS4 is a bad controller, but I’ve been dying for an excellent wireless PS4 controller with asymmetric joysticks for a while now. The SCUF Vantage isn’t quite an Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller, but it’s as close as you’re going to get on PS4.
I have some minor concerns on the longevity of the controller, but my experience so far has proven it to be sturdy. The sax buttons add functionality I didn’t even know I was missing, and the paddle inputs allow you to avoid having to use the claw method in some games. It’s a bit expensive, which may dissuade some, but I think the increase in comfort and flexibility over the DualShock 4 makes the SCUF Vantage worth it.