Bad Habits

swordsmanx75 covers some of the bad habits he’s developed while playing first person shooters. I was very interested to hear about his FPS Freek one. He uses the joint of his thumb to aim so I hopped in a game tonight to see what I do. I think I use the flat of my thumb.

Do you use the tip of your thumb on the right stick? The FPS Freek makes it harder to use that because the stick is so long but it might be more accurate. I tried it and it wasn’t at all comfortable. Unfortunately for my little experiment I spent most of my time in the tank!

Ages ago I wrote an FPS Freek review on …

Ages ago I wrote an FPS Freek review on my main blog. It’s a small extender that makes the stick on your controller longer, and supposedly easier to use. I thought I should share it here too with a link.

Short summary: don’t bother buying them. I wish MS would allow the use of keyboard and mouse on the Xbox 360!

Kontrol Freek FPS Freek review

FPSFREEK

The FPS Freek by Kontrol Freek is a small attachment for the Xbox 360 or PS3 controller that helps players aim more precisely in first person shooters or FPS games. There’s a Speed attachment too for racing games.

The FPS Freek snaps on to the top of the controller sticks so your thumbs have to physically move further to make the same in-game movement. This is supposed to help when you want to make small accurate movements, especially useful when aiming at a small distant figures in a shooter such as Modern Warfare 2. From the blurb on the product page,

The added analog stick length provides 40% more linear distance from full stop to stop. This gives you more leverage and increased precision without disturbing your natural gaming playing feel.

I’ve been using it for a week and while my gaming has improved a whole lot, it was improving any way because I was getting better with practice. I don’t think you’re going to see a dramatic improvement in your gaming by using the FPS Freek.
I tried increasing the sensitivity of the controller, thinking that the extra leverage of the thumbstick would help but it really didn’t, and I think it’s back at 3 in MW2 now. At that sensitivity I can aim fairly well. With a silenced Scar-H I was able to make a few kills at the other side of Highrise, but on the other hand, a distant crouched enemy-in-waiting in Estate shot me while I attempted to aim at him.

The FPS Freek is comfortable to use however. It probably has helped my gaming but it’s not the major leap you might think. Learning how to use a mouse and keyboard properly was better for my gaming than using this, but of course you can’t use a mouse and keyboard on the Xbox 360. All you PC gamers will know what I mean!

In the US it costs $10 but here in Ireland or over in the UK you have to buy it from Lime. I think it cost me the equivalent of US$29 including (for some reason) registered postage of about 7 Pounds Sterling. I had to sign for it when it was delivered. At that price it’s not great value for money, but at $10 it’s an impulse buy I could live with.

In theory the science is sound. The extra length of the stick will give you more travel and room to aim precisely but if you’re not a good gamer this won’t work miracles. If you panic when you’re confronted by an enemy on a map, you’ll still do that. If you don’t use a game’s maps to your advantage now, then buying this won’t magically make you immune to enemy fire. It may help you aim if you’re sniping. I’m still using the FPS Freek on my right thumbstick however, it’s comfortable.

Buy it only if you have $10 burning a hole in your PayPal account. Don’t buy it if you’re outside the US, it’s not worth it.

Just don’t expect miracles.

Just so you know I haven’t a clue what I’m talking about, here’s a few glowing reviews:

Short video review of the FPS Freek

Impressive accuracy at custom sensitivity 7 in COD 4, but then this guy is hardly a newbie at the game!