Gioteck GC-2 PS3 Controller PS3 Hardware Review
Third party controllers are often cheaper alternatives to official controllers, but there is a reason for that. I’m sure most people reading this will think of past experiences with these controllers and draw similar conclusions that include words such as “tacky,” “cheap feeling,” “not as good” and “it broke,” because most of them have been poor attempts to gain money from gamers. There is this myth that third party controllers cannot be good, but if you take time and figure out what gamers are finding wrong with official controllers, there is totally a market for it.
This is where the Gioteck GC-2 controller comes into the frame, and is available to buy for a tasty price of £24.99. That is around £10 less than the average official controller, but what difference is there between the Gioteck GC-2 controller and other third party attempts in the past? Well, let’s start with the motto “designed by gamers for gamers.” This indicates Gioteck understands what people are looking for in a controller, and on first glance you see that the company has tried to correct problems people have addressed with the PS3 controller, such as stick placements and the shoulder triggers.
But how is the actual hardware? Included in the box is the controller, a short mini USB cable to charge the pad with and an USB dongle. The charge cable is fine to use if you want to leave the pad charging over night or when not in use (can be charged with any device with a USB slot), but, because of it’s short length, is not really ideal for use whilst playing. The USB dongle plugs into a USB slot on the PlayStation 3. The reason behind this is because the GC-2 does not use Bluetooth to connect with the system; instead, it uses a 2.4GHz wireless signal.
I had no problems with the wireless. I just plugged the dongle in and I was ready to use the pad – well, after turning on the PS3, since the pad cannot turn on the system itself. Along with that, you also cannot check the battery status of the pad, since the PS3 cannot determine how much charge is left. The press note states that the controller will hold up to 100 hours of game time, and while I have not clocked in 100 hours during my week with the controller, I did hit around half that and the pad was still turning on and blinking at me to get playing. Also, since you are using a USB port, the PS3 will always assign the Gioteck GC-2 to player 1, even when the pad is switched off. Unlike Xbox 360, the PS3 makes it easy to switch controllers, with a simple jump into the menus and changing the controller number to get you back in order.
To the most important part, the controller itself and how it feels. Picking up the Gioteck GC-2 and placing my hands around the device felt natural. The placement of the sticks – concave to help stop slippage – and the triggers make it feel like you are holding an Xbox 360 controller. Now, I personally do not consider my hands large, but holding the controller makes my fingers touch the bottom of my palms (check the picture above to understand what I mean). Some people might not be bothered by that, but after an hour or so of use, I began to get a little pain in my pinky finger due to the pad end resting on the side of that finger. Once I had adjusted to the design of the controller, it became a less of a problem. It is just something that you should be aware of in case you suffer from it as well.
The triggers, which are close to copies of the Xbox 360’s, are slightly thinner than Microsoft’s design and have more feedback due to the strong spring. This caused some slight irritations for me in games that required long use of triggers. I spent an evening playing MotorStorm: Pacific Rift, a game where you often hold down the acceleration while the brake is less often used. My right trigger finger started to ache after an hour, mainly due to holding down against the pressure of the trigger for such a long period. My left finger was fine (brake finger). I am not sure if it will affect everyone, but for me, the spring strength is a bit too strong. Using the triggers feels great though, and is a good replacement for the official pad if you feel yourself needing to play racing games or shooters, where you would rather have real triggers instead of using the PS3’s strange attempt at analogue shoulders.
The rest of the main buttons are great. The only other problem is the placement of start, select and the turbo button. They are right next to each other in the middle of the pad and are not elevated enough, causing for missed buttons when I was moving for the pause button or select button. Having them spread apart would have been a better design. Sixaxis is none existent in this pad, but with hardly any games using the gyros in the DualShock 3 nowadays, it is not much of a missed feature. The last feature, and quite nifty I might add, is the customisable analogue stick sensitive that allows users to hold down the turbo button and tap left or right on the stick to adjust the sensitivity of the sticks. Think of it like a gaming mouse, where you can speed up or slow down the controls on the fly; this is the same concept but with a controller, and it’s great if you are in the middle of a FPS and want to adjust the speed of your aiming without the need to jump into the options screen.
So there you have it. Despite some minor gripes with the controller, the Gioteck GC-2 is actually a great pad with solid build quality that is a worthy addition to sit next to your Dualshock 3, especially for anyone who prefers the layout of the Xbox 360 controller or is looking for a cheaper and good alternative to the official PS3 pad. It is the best third party controller I have used for the system (that was not an arcade fight stick) and one of the best I have come across during my years of gaming across many console platforms.