Scuf Impact Syndicate: PS4/PC controller review

Scuf Impact Syndicate with extras provided by PR for review.

If you take your gaming super seriously – perhaps you compete in eSports, or want to look into how you’d go about showing the world what you’ve got – then chances are good that even an official console controller isn’t quite up to your expected standards. While Microsoft produces an official ‘Elite’ controller for the Xbone, Sony don’t make anything equivalent for the PS4. Other companies have therefore stepped up to the proverbial plate, including Scuf Gaming. Here, specifically, we’re looking at the Scuf Impact.

Even more specifically, in fact, it’s the Scuf Impact Syndicate – so called because it’s a licensed tie-in with ridiculously popular YouTuber Tom “Syndicate” Cassell. The important thing is the controller itself which, incidentally, can be used for PC as well as PS4. The base version without any extras is £139.99; so let’s see what you get for your pennies, shall we?

First: the fundamentals. As soon as the controller’s in your hands, you can tell it’s a premium product. The material, weight, and overall build quality practically scream top quality merchandise here!! into your earholes. The deadzones are perfectly tuned – arguably slightly better than the official Sony offering, though that might just be us – and each button stands proud against its DualShock equivalent. Also, bear in mind that the DualShock is a little more complex than an Xbox gamepad, and as a result most third party controllers are missing functionality. Not so here. Touchpad, motion control, bluetooth, light bar, headphone socket, speaker, and rumble (unless you pay £2.99 to have that last removed, reducing the weight slightly) are all present and correct. Purely in terms of feel for everyday use, we (slightly) favour the Scuf Impact over the DualShock V2.

At roughly three times the price of a DualShock even before extras, though, this needs to really stand out. Well for one thing, each thumbstick can be quickly and easily removed and replaced (extras sold separately) should you, for example, want to switch between concave and domed, and/or tall or short. What really stands out, however, is the inclusion of four paddles on the back of the controller.

Easily removed and replaced, each paddle mimics the function of one of the face buttons. They’re satisfyingly clicky, and instantly responsive. The idea, you see, is to give you access to the face button functions without having to lift your thumb from the right stick. You’ll probably have to spend a bit of time retraining your muscle memory to make use of this, but it’s worth it if you want to claw back a few precious split-seconds of reaction time, and slightly increase your manoeuvrability while moving and shooting in an FPS simultaneously.

One extra you may want to shell out for (£12.99) is “EMR”, which allows you to program precisely which paddle mimics which button. This affords the extra benefit of being able to remap L3, R3, and the left and right d-pad buttons. No more awkward ADS or weapon selection for you!

Meanwhile, for another £13, you can replace the standard DualShock L2 & R2 triggers with Scuf’s “Trigger Control System”. These are adjustable, via a provided key, to become hair triggers. Sacrificing the analogue feature makes perfect sense for FPS games, and shaves a few microseconds off your reaction time when opening fire (though how noticeable this is, of course, will depend on the game and your personal experience).

Model shown features optional grip detailing on the back (£14.99)

We were surprised (especially given the price tag) to discover that the controller doesn’t ship with any kind of charging cable, and the instructions don’t give any guidance for connection to a PC/laptop. The former was explained when we discovered that such a cable is included in a £14.99 “Players Pack”. Cheeky! Still, if you’re seriously considering purchasing an advanced controller, then chances are you already have a few micro USB cables lying around, and connecting a new controller is second nature to you (for the record, the Scuf Impact works exactly the same as a DualShock for PC gaming).

If you’re just looking for a decent DualShock replacement for casual play, this is too pricey to justify a purchase. If you’re keen to eke out every possible advantage in competitive gaming, however – especially for FPS gaming – chances are you’ll find that this is a worthwhile investment. It certainly worked well for us in CS:GO against people using WSAD-mouse…

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Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

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