A few years ago I wrote a little piece about FPS Freek Havoc and Infinity thumbstick grips for PS3 and I really liked them. But, like the PS3 itself, they’ve been pushed aside (well actually one of the Havoc’s broke sometime early last year and that was my fault).
Out of the box, the Dualshock 4 is an all around better controller than the Dualshock 3 and that includes the thumbsticks. I like the thumbsticks on the DS4 as they are, but like a lot of gamers I’ve had to replace a controller due to the rubber peeling issue. For as good as the thumbsticks are though, they don’t hold a candle to the feel of FPS Freek Galaxy grips, which I also think will help this controller not have that rubber issue.
KontrolFreek has been around for a number of years now and they’ve cemented their position as the go to provider of easy to use controller modifications. FPS Freek Galaxy, like all the other models, easily snap over your existing thumbsticks. While easy to remove, once on they are firmly in place giving you the confidence that they aren’t going to slip off when you’re trying to blow some alien’s head off.
The Galaxy model is advertised as “giving gamers at all levels a competitive advantage,” and it does this through a number of ways. KontrolFreek says these will improve accuracy while aiming and make target acquisition much faster.
Is that true? Yes, but if you suck at aiming then this isn’t going to make you magically better. There’s still a hand-eye coordination and reaction time aspect that FPS Freek’s, no matter how well designed, can’t help you with.
FPS Freek® Galaxy is our love letter to first-person space shooters like Destiny, Halo and Star Wars Battlefront. Boasting a beautiful purple-on-silver color scheme and an original laser-etched design that offers exceptional grip, Galaxy encapsulates our love for the space genre and stands up to the grueling demands of competitive online play.
Unlike the previous version of FPS Freek’s that I’ve used, the Galaxy grips are similar to the popular Vortex model. It’s two different sized sticks that are both concave.
The right stick adds 10.4mm of height to the right analog stick. This increases the range of motion up to 136% on PS4 (118% on Xbox One). This stick is designed to help with your aim and accuracy.
The left stick adds just a little bit of height, about half that of the right one, at just 5.7mm. This serves to make the left stick have better grip and comfort. It helps with the maneuverability as you move your character around.
I’ve been using these for about a week now. It took a little while to get used to them. They felt a little weird at first, and the uneven stick seemed kinda goofy. It didn’t take long for them to get “broken in” though, and now I can’t see them coming off. These are called “FPS” Freek, and as the advertising shows, they’re designed for first person shooters. I’ve primarily been playing Destiny, but I’ve also been playing a lot of Dragon Age: Inquisition and quite frankly find them to be just as useful simply because the grip is so strong. The concave nature and the ridges mean yours thumbs just aren’t going to slip off, and that’s a great thing.
In Destiny, and most shooters, I’m primarily a PVE/Co-op guy. That’s not to say I don’t like or aren’t good at competitive play, I just prefer PVE. Still, in both PVE and PVP, the Galaxy has definitely helped my Destiny game, which was already pretty good. The first mission I played with the Galaxy grips was a bit of a mess, like I said it took a little while to get used to. If you’ve been using a controller with the default grip, then you simply aren’t going to attach these and immediately be better. You’re going to have to get a feel for it.
My aim was off quite a bit the first time using these. There’s video proof of it; just watch the video below and you’ll see my very first game using these grips and you’ll see just how off I was whether it was aiming or turning.
Like I said, it didn’t take long to get used to though and once I did get comfortable with it, my aim was definitely better than before and in the Crucible I was nailing headshots (of course I have a wonderfully rolled and perfectly stable fast firing pulse rifle, which helps too).
This screenshot is from my second game of Crucible using the Galaxy thumbsticks.
My first game was similar to that, first place on the team with 15 kills and a 3.something KD; it was the Skyshock map and mostly snipes.
Yes I had the most kills and the highest KD (and score) in that game, but’s not uncommon. That didn’t happen just because of the Galaxy thumbsticks. It definitely helps improve your aim and increase your accuracy, and yes it helps maintain control of your character. If you consistently get more kills than deaths, then you’ll probably find that you get a few extra kills with the Galaxy. But if you’re the type of player who goes negative a lot, then these aren’t going to magically solve your issues. They’ll help, for sure, but you still need the fundamentals and situational awareness to make use of improved control.
You can’t just assume these are going to make you a better player because the box says it gives “gamers at all levels a competitive advantage.” You have to know how to help yourself before these can help you further. If you round a corner and you’re looking at the ground or towards the sky, then you have put yourself at a disadvantage and no amount of increased control and precision is going to help get you out of it because in the split second it takes for you to compensate and properly aim, the other player has probably already began pumping bullets into you. It’s hard to overcome that.
If you can aim though, then this will most definitely help you aim better and be more precise. If you’re a good player without them, then you will be a slightly better player. If you’re a poor player, these can help you be better but they aren’t going to overcome the issues that make you poor to begin and that’s just a simple fact. Do they give an advantage? Yeah, I do believe so, but one that is slight and perfectly acceptable (these are tournament approved, not some type of cheat that magically makes one better).
Despite the purple on silver look (which is fine and looks good, I just wish they were black), these will not be coming off of my DS4. They’re a fixture now and I can’t imagine going back to not using them, even when not playing a first person shooter. The increased aim and accuracy is noticeable once you get used to them, but in all games I’ve found myself just really enjoying the feel, overall comfort, and superb grip that the FPS Freek Galaxy provides.
Christmas will be here before you know it. For the gamers in your life, or for yourself, these would make an excellent stocking stuffer gift that is sure to be enjoyed. I highly recommend them and think you’ll be more than satisfied once you begin using them.
* FPS Freek Galaxy provided by KontrolFreek for review.