SCUF’s High-End Controller for PC Will Prove How Bad You Are at Games

SCUF’s High-End Controller for PC Will Prove How Bad You Are at Games

SCUF’s Envision Pro controller feels so good, so clicky, so responsive, it makes me hate it. I know it’s not the controller, it’s my dumb thumbs, and yet SCUF’s $US180 device feels like a memento mori for all the years I spent trying and failing in online multiplayer. The Envision Pro is packing so many extra paddles and bumpers I inevitably squeeze the controller too hard and click on one I didn’t intend. I die. I fail. I curse my screen, my game, my controller. Inevitably, I realize it’s none of those things. It’s me. I suck.

SCUF’s expensive, high-end controller looks like it ought to be able to connect to the PlayStation 5, but it can’t. It won’t work with the Xbox Series S/X either. It’s PC only. It’s capable of both wired and wireless connections, but without some obtuse workaround, the controller is designed specifically for PC gamers, especially those players looking to abandon the once-dominant keyboard and mouse paradigm and come on to the new wave of gamepad-first players. Out of all the controllers I’ve used over the years, few of them were as responsive as SCUF’s. Unfortunately, all that precise engineering proved that better controllers don’t make you a better player, they just reveal your existing weaknesses.

SCUF Envision Pro Has More Buttons Than Most Controllers

Photo: Kyle Barr / Gizmodo

That’s not to say there’s not a lot to like on the $US180 Envision Pro. It borrows pretty heavily from the DualSense’s design from the thumbstick placement to the plane where you would normally see the PlayStation touchpad, yet it also has a very Xbox-like shape to the handles. In a few ways, it also draws inspiration from the old Google Stadia controllers (before, like so many things, Google killed Stadia). It’s priced along the same lines as the Xbox Elite Series 2 or PlayStation Edge controllers as a kind of uber-elite device for serious gamers. It comes stock with similar features like a depth modifier for the two triggers for ultra-fast in-game shooting, among other customization options like swappable thumbsticks. Unlike the Xbox Elite, you can’t pick and choose back bumpers or d-pad. Instead, you get a set of RGB “G-Keys” along the bottom where you can program macros or shortcuts.

But what really sets it apart is the clickiness of its face buttons. My thumb naturally rocked from side to side to quickly hit the A and B buttons in a game like Rocket League. The joysticks are weighty without the kind of toothpick feel you get from a cheap controller, and the triggers have enough resistance to feel significant. Of course, if you’re the true hardcore type, you’d flip each to minimum travel for extra quick trigger pulls in an FPS. The controller was originally developed for the Call of Duty: Warzone crowd, and it shows.

But I don’t play Call of Duty. I’d rather get into a few matches of Halo: Infinite to remind myself just how trash I was back in the days of Halo 3 trying to scope snipe on an old Xbox 360 controller. I’ve played enough of Psyonix’s car-based soccer for several lifetimes. I’m so used to ranked solo 3v3s, I can pick up the Evnsion Pro and immediately know where to rotate when my two teammates inevitably shoot toward the enemy goal and leave ours undefended. Playing Rocket League with a SCUF controller has never felt better. And yet all I discovered is I’ve reached my ceiling for how good I will ever be at aerials or dribbling.

The Envision Pro Requires You to Use Some Annoying Software

Photo: Kyle Barr / Gizmodo

The worst aspect of the Envision Pro is the location of the side paddles. They’re located exactly where your index fingers meet your palm, so if you don’t have expert levels of precision you’ll inevitably slap those inadvertently. In most games, the side buttons are mapped to your bumpers. In Halo: Infinite, this meant I was often accidentally firing off grenades or equipment when I didn’t mean to. The box comes with plates to cover over the side buttons in case you’re prone to clicking them, but I wonder why they couldn’t have been moved slightly back toward the triggers to avoid any accidental clicks. Instead, I suggest anybody using the Envision Pro map their button for tagging or pinging to the side buttons, so when you occasionally click them when firing you’ll actually be helping your teammates at the same time.

The Envision Pro requires you to use the iCue app to modify the controller’s button mappings. Unfortunately, it’s not a great piece of software. There are plenty of options, sure. You can adjust the dead zones on your triggers or the individual vibration intensity on each handle, but remapping buttons is a chore. Early users noted the iCue app was prone to crashing, taking the controller with it, but I didn’t experience any crashing on the latest firmware and software. The controller has a wired and wireless mode, but only through a dongle. I’ve used both and I didn’t notice any latency when playing without a cable.

I would love to make the Envision Pro my one device for all my gaming needs, but I simply can’t. It’s also strange how the inner back paddles are removable, but the outer ones are physically connected to the controller. Compare that to the Xbox Elite which has four fully customizable paddles.

Yet I would pick up the Envision Pro over Xbox’s similarly-priced device any day of the week, or at least any of those times I’m playing exclusively on PC. I would pick it up, and of course, I would come away disappointed, even though that’s not the controller’s fault.

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