When it comes to video game controllers, which is more important: how it looks, or how it performs? We’ve just reviewed the SCUF One Elite for Xbox One, a video game controller that adds two extra paddles to back of an Xbox One controller, eliminating the need to pull to finger off the right stick to hit the face button. Today, we are looking an adapter called the Avenger Elite Defcon F4 that snaps over your existing Xbox 360 controller to add even more functionality. But it’s one of the funniest looking packages that you’ll ever find for a gaming controller.
One look at this thing, and you’ll quickly realize that you’ll need to completely relearn everything you think you know about using a game controller. Is it worth the hassle? Do the changes offered by the Avenger Elite Defcon F4 make playing games a better experience than the stock Xbox 360 controller?
Best of all, we have an Avenger Elite Defcon F4 to give away to one lucky reader. Keep reading through to the bottom to find out how you can take one home!
Introducing The Avenger Elite
Let’s get this out of the way right now: the $79.99 Avenger Elite Defcon F4 is the strangest looking accessory you will ever find for your controller. It’s covered in all kinds of arms, rubber bands, and other nonsense, but just because it’s not the prettiest thing to look at, doesn’t mean it’s not worth a look. It all comes down to gameplay, which we will get to soon enough.
The device technically consists of two parts, the Avenger Elite adapter, and extra mods that come with the Defcon F4 package. It will set you back a total of $79.99, which is more than the actual 360 controller itself. Outside of modded controllers from companies like Evil Controllers and SCUF, there really is no device quite like the Avenger Elite. Because while those other companies modify an actual controller, this clips right onto the one you already own, which means you can take it off for games where all the extra levers and triggers are not needed.
There are two ways of looking at the design of the Avenger Elite: looks, and functionality. We’ll start with looks. To put it simply, it’s not a pretty device. It has arms that stick out of all the face buttons in many directions, a stand with rubber bands that stick out of the back, and extra-large triggers on top. It’s quite a strange looking piece of gaming kit. If you were to show up at a LAN event with this thing, you would almost certainly get some weird looks from people, and it would definitely spark some questions about the weird contraption you have strapped onto your controller.
Aside from the looks, it’s a very functional device. Starting with the arms that accommodate the face buttons, you have the one over the “X” button that you push up with your left hand, one over the “Y” button that is accessed in a similar fashion, but with your right hand, and you have the lever of the “B” button, which is used via the top of the index finger. Because we have the additional Defcon mods, there is also a lever that is attached the device with an adhesive that provides a lever for the “A” button that is used by pressing in with your palm.
As for the triggers, there are large plastic triggers that sit over the regular ones, and these help you get a slightly shorter throw for the trigger by adjusting the rubber bands that run down the back. You can also make a loop with the rubber bands, and pull down on it to activate the triggers. The trigger moves in both directions, allowing you to push the opposite direction to get access to the bumpers, which are critical for tossing grenades in most shooters.
Everything feel sturdy, and the arms flex, which should keep them from breaking during intense gameplay sessions.
It’s a complicated design, but it’s interesting. While Microsoft and Sony are content to keep cranking out slightly tweaked versions of the same controllers, the Avenger Elite is completely rethinking the way we interact with video games. The face buttons are not buttons at all anymore, instead they are levers. The whole point is to allow the player to never take their thumb off off the joysticks, which, in theory, allows you for precision aiming and competitive advantage. Does it deliver?
Playing Games With The Avenger Elite Defcon F4 External Adapter
Whether or not the Avenger looks weird is not the main concern. No, it’s all about whether or not it’s a good gameplay device. Your controller is the way you tell your games what to do, and if the controller feels uncomfortable or just not quite right, you are not going to have fun with your game. If you’re not having fun, why are you even playing?
The one key thing to point out is that you’re going to have a learning curve with this device. We’ve all been playing games with a controller that features face buttons, triggers, and joysticks for many, many years, and making a fundamental change to that is going to feel rather weird. I would highly recommend you spend some time with a single player shooter before you take to the Internet, because you are going to get confused, and will most likely make some mistakes that you otherwise wouldn’t.
So let’s start with some things I like about the experience of playing with the Avenger Elite. The placement of the lever for the “X” button is fantastic, and since it’s a button you use for reloading a weapon in the default Call of Duty button configuration, it makes it much quicker to reload and get back in the fight. The B button is also great. The quick motion required to get to it is efficient, and if you tweak the controls to make it so that it performs a melee attack, it lets you smack your opponents in the face (or knife them, as it were) quicker than you ever thought possible.
The triggers, which are obviously critical to gameplay, don’t change very much if you are just using them as normal triggers. If you use the method of pushing on the rubber bands to activate them, or make the loop to pull them, things get very different, but I did not like either of these methods, as it’s just too much of a drastic change from the way I’ve been playing my whole life. Controllers are designed with triggers because it’s what feels natural, and changing it just doesn’t seem right. However, you may find that these other methods help your performance.
Now, there are some things I really don’t like about the controller, starting with the extra “A” button mod. It feels awkward pressing down with the palm to get access to that button, and I never got used to it. Thankfully, this is optional, and can be removed if you don’t like it. The “Y” button, which is accessed via the right hand, doesn’t feel as nice as the “X,” and while serviceable, I’m not in love with it.
My biggest issue is the bumpers. The two way trigger feels unnatural, and I still prefer to move my finger to them. The problem, then, comes from having to move around the “B” lever to get to the right bumper. This adds time, and if you don’t move around it far enough, you end up hitting the button by mistake, which can lead to certain death in a competitive game.
Overall, playing games with this device isn’t bad, but I think it does have some issues. That being said, none of the problems are fundamental design flaws, but rather a matter of personal preference. While I don’t like the placement of the “Y” lever, you might love it. The Avenger Elite most certainly offers some gameplay advantages, and if you take the time to let yourself adjust to the changes, you just might find that it does make you a better player.
In the end, I do have some issues with the Avenger Elite Defcon F4, but it’s not a bad piece of gaming hardware. It’s a device you really need to personally try and see if it works for you. I can certainly understand where the advantages come into play, and you can definitely have an edge over your opponents. The price is a little steep, when you compare it to the price of the controller itself, but alongside a fully modded controller, it’s affordable.
MakeUseOf recommends: Pass, unless you are willing to completely rethink the way you interact with a game controller.
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