It's difficult to revolutionize the gaming world these days, but Scuf has managed to do just that with its line of customized controllers, and the latest iteration of their new line is the Vantage 2. The Vantage 2 refines and builds upon the original Vantage's paddle system and customization options while also expanding the ease of use regarding those options with a streamlined companion app, which lets you switch between numerous profiles. It's hard not to be impressed at the sheer amount of options at your disposal with the Vantage 2, but all those options come at a premium price point, and not everyone will identify the same value.
First and foremost you'll notice how sleek and modern the Vantage 2 looks. The core model is stylish, even without additional colors or accessories, and it's astounding at times at just how many buttons and options Scuf managed to fit into one controller. Scuf incorporates the typical four face buttons with options and share buttons angled at the top, as well as the two triggers and bumpers, but there are also four paddles on the back and one additional mini bumper on either side of the controller, and both the paddles and the side bumpers are completely reprogrammable.
Perhaps even more impressive is how easy it is to swap button layouts and profiles. The Vantage 2 accomplishes reconfiguring through a switch towards the bottom of the controller, and the process is straightforward and immediate. You flip the switch, hit the button you wish to assign, and then the button or paddle you wish to assign it to. Flip the switch back and it's done, and you can do so on the fly with quickness and ease. It makes the process of trying to find the perfect layout for you a breeze, and the app only ups the ante.
Thanks to the app you can assign up to 15 profiles to your controller, and you'll definitely want to do this. Going from an RPG like The Witcher 3 or Godfall to something like Tomb Raider or Uncharted to a sports franchise like WWE 2K20 or NBA 2K20 will mean lots of switching back and forth between button layouts, and the app is streamlined and straightforward, meaning you're just a few button presses away from remapping everything to your liking.
That said, there is an issue with the app in that it is only available for PC, so if you have a Mac or do most of your app using through mobile devices like iOS or Android, you're out of luck and are unable to take advantage of this extremely useful part of the controller. When you're talking about a $170 controller, that makes a big difference, so just know that going in.
The customization doesn't stop there though, as, like other Scuf controllers, the Vantage 2 allows you to switch out the D-pad, the twin sticks, and even the triggers, truly catering itself to your feel and playstyle. As someone who prefers the Xbox thumbstick layout, this was a dream, and getting to switch out the thumbsticks (I prefer concave for movement and domed for camera) and triggers (I prefer the longer triggers) was a big part of the controller's appeal.
Once you get everything the way you like, it's time to actually play, and this is where your mileage will vary. Having four extra paddles and two side buttons presents a variety of possibilities, but you might need to dig a bit to find the one that makes your gaming experience better than the standard setup. The paddles are very responsive, but, at times, having one assigned to a priority button like X doesn't quite feel as responsive as just hitting the X button. Some of that is muscle memory, obviously, but even after a while using the new setup, it still didn't feel like second nature, and I found myself accidentally hitting the face buttons in dire situations.
Don't get me wrong here: depending on the game, you'll definitely see some improvement by remapping, but it never feels like you couldn't live without it, and some will see the price point as too high for something that isn't essential. To me, the value is there, but it's not because of the extra buttons. The value here is having an Xbox style controller layout on a PlayStation 4 and being able to cater the controller to my comfort and style, with the added bonus of the button mapping and profile managing app.0comments
The core model costs $169.95 and the wireless model costs $199.95, and that's a rather high price. I kept my controller plugged in, for the most part, so it would be the $169.95 model for me. That said, its a judgment call on if I will get enough use out of the paddles to really justify the purchase, and that's something you really need to evaluate before going all in. If you're really willing to change up how you play games and rebuild your routine, this might just be the controller for you, but if not, the price might be too steep.
Rating: 3 out of 5