The Rocket Fish Gaming Playstation 3 Rapid Fire Wireless Controller looks like an XBOX360 controller, but it's made for your Playstation 3. If you're one of those people who has been playing an XBOX360 for a few years and recently got a PS3, you may find yourself either loving or hating it. I'm going to tell you in this hardware review whether or not the Rocket Fish Rapid Fire controller is for you.
It looks appealing, one of the reasons I picked it up. It has that fat PS3 and PSP shiny finish all over it. Obviously just like those two systems, shows fingerprints like black glass. It's bluetooth equipped so you don't have to occupy a precious USB slot on your PS3. It appears to have everything a 360 lover would want in a PS3 controller.
How does it feel:
This controller feels decent, it doesn't quite give me the sweaty palms that a 360 pad does, but that may be different for you. The joysticks feel kind of coarse, by that I mean, I had to look very closely to see if there actually was rubber on the tips of the sticks. There is rubber on the joysticks, but it's so tough that those 4 little nubs on the head of the joysticks you see on your 360 controller are sharp and uncomfortable. The shape of the grips you will be palming is very curved as shown in the image below.
It's a little too curved for my tastes. It feels okay but your middle fingers can tend to feel a bit claustrophobic. I don't have large or tiny hands but this controller made me feel like my middle fingers were too big yet my index fingers too short. As shown below, the L1 and R1 buttons feel just barely in reach. I didn't have a 360 controller with me today to compare, but I can tell that the shoulders are too tall.
The L1 and R1 buttons are the same size as the Sony controller not the nice wide curvy clickers (LB RB) as seen on a 360 pad. Even though this controller has a broad top and shoulders, the L1 and R1 are still about the size of 2 tic tacs lying end to end.
Now about the L2 R2 (or LT RT). They feel cheap, really cheap. As you pull them down, you can actually hear a metallic spring sound like an old spring mattress squeaking. They don't feel smooth either. It feels a bit like a loose tooth as you press down, there's too much lateral motion in these triggers.
The sticks themselves as you can see are offset like a 360 controller. Some people claim there is some kind of advantage by having an asymmetric layout to the sticks. I believe it's merely a matter of preference. This controller's sticks work well and are fairly smooth. A negative about the sticks is that they have an odd sensitivity curve. They don't feel quite like a 360 controller and they feel nothing like a DualShock 3. I believe I pinpointed it to some kind of acceleration range. As felt on a DualShock3 or a 360 pad, you should turn more quickly (in an FPS) the further toward the limit that you pulled the stick. The Rocket Fish controller seems to have too sharp of an acceleration curve to work right.
I played one match against bots in UT3 with the Rocket Fish and I got used to the controller after adjusting the sensitivity up, but the turn acceleration way down. Then I immediately played the same round again only this time with a DualShock 3. I didn't adjust the settings once I switched back to the DS3 and I was doing much better that round, I was moving faster, going around corners much more smoothly, and not taking angled turns. That was the moment I knew I shouldn't have bought the Rocket Fish controller.
Pressure sensitive buttons:
They aren't. The most obvious way of testing this is to put in a GT game and map the throttle and brake to a face button. GT4 shows on screen how much throttle you are applying so you can directly see the variance. That's what I did, and no matter how lightly I pressed, I couldn't get the throttle to variate.
Most of the time that I was playing UT3, I was actively trying to feel the rumble in the controller. It was extremely weak, and felt like only one side of the controller was actually vibrating. I started playing Bioshock, knowing I could encounter a Big Daddy and have my hands wracked, it still felt like barely anything was happening.
Did I mention it has turbo? No? Well it does, you can set the turbo to 3 settings, when you do, a light around the PS button flashes red at the rate your turbo is set. First setting is at about 20Hz, almost too fast to tell it's flashing at all. I couldn't think of a single game that would benefit from a turbo button, so while messing with Metal Gear 4, I held the crouch button causing snake to do a tea-bagging motion faster than the speed of sound. The second setting was not worth using at about 3Hz and the Third setting was completely useless at about 1.2Hz.
Wrap it up B!
The most major flaw that I was nagged at by this controller was actually not completely a fault of the controller itself. It was a problem with most PS3 games. Many shooting games on the PS3 have the fire button mapped to R1, and you read what I thought about the R1 and L1 on this pad. Unless you're playing a game, like Killzone 2 or Bioshock, you will be shooting with L1 and R1 with this controller which is significantly more terrible than doing so on a DualShock 3.
Overall this controller looks cool, but feels cheaply made, weighs significantly more than a DualShock 3, and is difficult to play with. I would not recommend you buy this controller as your primary gaming pad. I might, however, recommend you buy it IF you have a friend that comes over to your place, you melt his face with some split screen play, and he blames the DualShock 3 because it's different than a 360 pad. If you have one of those friends and you want to shut his bitching up, it will cost you $47.99 at Best Buy.