This Controller Modz review is fueled by my search for the perfect custom PS4 controller. While the official Xbox Elite controller is now the easy go-to for any passionate Xbox One gamer, Sony’s PlayStation 4 still lacks any first-party “pro” solution, forcing those of us who demand advanced features, as well as balls-to-the-wall personalization and themes, to look elsewhere. This is where custom controller creators like Controller Modz come in, allowing customers to pick from a wide variety of aesthetic tweaks, in addition to gameplay-affecting modifications. If it’s not obvious in the image above, I went for a custom Fortnite PS4 controller!
Controller Modz Review | The choice is yours
As with all custom controller purchases, the first step in getting your hands on a custom pad is to actually design it. Picking the theme and colors, as well as the additional buttons and other gameplay buffs, is always an exciting time. The Controller Modz’s “Build Your Own” tool allows users to pick the controller shell, button styles, custom thumbsticks, touchpad, triggers, grips, and engraving. You can make something that looks totally awesome, or totally awful, as it’s all your choice. (There are also some pre-designed options, if you aren’t feeling very creative.) I went for a Fortnite-esque galaxy theme, to match the Samsung “Galaxy” skin, with silver chrome buttons.
Once users have decided on the visual customization, next comes the add-ons that affect gameplay. First, there are the “Domin8or Buttons” for the back left and right sides of the controller. Like the paddles you’ve perhaps seen on controllers like the SCUF Vantage that we reviewed previously, these buttons can be mapped to either X, O, Triangle, or Square. The most common setup will be X on the left button and O on the right. However, it’s worth mentioning that Controller Modz allows the option of only having one button, which is great for someone on a strict budget, and something that competitors do not offer.
In my eyes, the additional buttons/paddles on the rear of the pad are the primary reason to invest in a custom controller. Specifically, the mapping of X to an easy-to-push rear button allows the user to jump while still keeping their thumb on the right thumbstick. This combination means that jumping while aiming is possible, granting a significant advantage in shooters. It’s the same advantage that “clawgrip” users enjoy, only without the risk of damaging your hand!
Controller Modz Review | Competitive advantage
Once you’ve experienced and gotten used to using those rear buttons, going back to the stock pad is jarring. It’s the reason why I take a custom controller to events, as I know that’s how I will perform my best. Despite the clear advantage they provide, these buttons and paddles are accepted at most competitive events, with the majority of pros putting their faith into these types of controllers.
What isn’t accepted at most competitive events, however, are mods like rapid fire, auto-run, and drop shot. Controller Modz does offer the “Razorback Maxfire Modchip” as an optional extra, and it does seem competitively priced, but I didn’t request it for review, nor would GameRevolution encourage gamers to use it in online/competitive environments where you could face a ban.
With that said, for those with disabilities that make rapidly pushing buttons and/or keeping a thumbstick pushed in difficult, this may be a good option in a non-PvP or offline environment. But, again, GameRevolution isn’t responsible for any bans that may occur. We’d recommend taking a “better safe than sorry” approach when designing your custom pad.
Controller Modz Review | Domin8ing the opposition
I chose to have the Domin8or buttons on the rear of the pad highlighted by red and blue LEDs, corresponding to their functions. Red for Circle and blue for X. If I somehow forget which is which, then the colors offer a clue… As for functionality, they work flawlessly, boasting the same level of tactility as the stock buttons. They feel as though they belong on the DualShock 4, which is very impressive.
The rear buttons are placed a little below where my finger naturally rests, meaning I have to consciously think about moving my finger down a little to activate them. This leads to a steeper learning curve than I experienced with the paddle-based custom pads, but after a couple of hours of Fortnite and Black Ops 4, I was completely used to them.
If you have used a paddle-based controller and found that you sometimes activate the back buttons accidentally, often randomly knifing the air and getting your character killed, then you will likely benefit from the Domin8or buttons not being directly under your fingertips. This also comes in useful when someone who isn’t used to custom controllers borrows the pad. Rather than balking at the “weird buttons” on the back and accidentally pushing them, the uninitiated will be able to completely avoid the Domin8ors and use it as normal.
Controller Modz Review | A winning combination
After using the Controller Modz PS4 controller for a few weeks now, I feel I’ve got a good grasp on the pad’s good and bad qualities.
Design-wise, I’m very happy. A good first impression is super important, and seeing the clearly-not-stock controller sitting inside the original DualShock 4 packaging was a nice touch. My concerns over what the silver chrome buttons and thumbsticks would look like instantly evaporated, and they really do stand out when placed beside other pads. I think they work well with the Fortnite Galaxy design I was aiming for.
Functionality-wise, the Domina8or buttons provide a genuinely superb alternative to the paddles found on competing products. I have had zero accidental button presses in all of my time testing the product, something that can’t be said for any of the other controllers I’ve used.
The grip is the only aspect of the pad that I’m not a fan of. Rather than offering more friction, like the grip on my SCUF controller seen in the image above, the Controller Modz pad’s surface is much smoother and waxy. The small amount of additional grip it provides just isn’t substantial enough to warrant the extra cost, though the design is cool.
Controller Modz Review | A worthy custom controller contender
For a custom controller with the must-have features — Domin8or buttons on both sides — the pricing comes to just under $100. (Shipping to the US costs an additional $12.) When you are benchmarking against other custom pads, it’s worth noting the 10% off code that (at the time of writing) can be generated by signing up to the Controller Modz newsletter. This results in a significant saving over the more well-known SCUF Gaming alternative.
Controller Modz has priced its controllers competitively and all purchases come with six months warranty “in the unlikely event that there are any issues with your item.” Additionally, there’s the option of returning the controller within 14 days of receiving it, should the user no longer want it. With premium items like custom controllers, and with prices potentially pushing up to $300 with all mods and features includes, this peace of mind is definitely appreciated.
When you’re shopping around for your next custom PS4 (or Xbox One) controller, be sure to give Controller Modz a look. Its selection of unique shells and other cosmetic options, as well as the Domin8or buttons and mods, certainly deserve your attention.
Controller Modz review unit was provided by Controller Modz.
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