The video game accessory market is arguably just as competitive as the market for the games themselves. If you take a look at the Nintendo Wii, there really is no shortage of lightsaber attachments, lightguns, plastic guitars, and all sorts of other items that are meant to enhance your gaming experience. The same kind of thing can be said about the PlayStation 3, getting bombarded with items from companies like Mad Catz and Icon.
What about the Xbox 360? Unfortunately for all the third-party manufacturers out there, the guys in Redmond, Washington aren’t so quick to allow other companies to produce accessories for their prized home video game console. You can find battery packs, intercoolers, and faceplate replacements, but alternative controllers to the official Microsoft offering are few and far between.
To overcome this little hurdle, one smaller company decided to circumvent the restrictions by modifying the existing controllers to suit the needs and preferences of gamers around the world. Evil Controllers is its name and this company does a lot to an otherwise standard Xbox 360 controller. Today, we focus in on their Evil Sticks.
Just a Touch of Evil
You can order pre-modified Xbox 360 controllers from Evil Controllers or you can order the Evil Sticks modified component on its own. For the latter, you’ll need to do a little bit of dismantling, but the end result, assuming that you are successful, will be the same.
In a nutshell, the Evil Sticks replace the standard thumb sticks that are own the standard Xbox 360 controller. The “upgraded” sticks only come in black and you’ll notice the subtle branding when you tilt either of the sticks upward, as you can see in the shot above. It’s just a dash of evil.
So, what is this upgrade supposed to provide? Instead of having the concave (indented) top of the regular thumb stick (right), the Evil Stick have a convex (curved outward) top. You’ll also notice that instead of having four small dots to indicate the four cardinal directions, the top surface of the Evil Sticks have no such indications. They have a textured surface instead.
Added Grip for Added Performance
The Evil Sticks are no taller than the regular ones and they offer the exact same level of resistance. In this way, the casual gamer probably won’t even notice the difference. The added grip of the textured surface, however, may come in handy for extended playing sessions among more serious gamers.
The usual top for the regular thumb sticks are quite slick and this can cause a lack of grip when you start to develop sweaty hands. While you may still slip on the Evil Sticks, the added grip does seem to minimize this effect. I tried playing several games with this modified controller, including Street Fighter IV and NHL 10, and I did find that the Evil Sticks were more comfortable when gaming for a longer period of time.
The build quality is very good and, if you didn’t know any better, you’d swear that you are using an OEM product. Aside from the thumbstick upgrade, the rest of the controller retains its original Microsoft parts. That said, you can choose other Evil Controllers custom controllers too. Some offer rapid fire, for example, which might come in handy for Halo 3 ODST.
More Personality with Different Lights
All standard Xbox 360 controllers, regardless of whether they’re the regular ones or some special edition ones, will always have the green LED lights sitting behind that big Xbox button in the center. This doesn’t allow much in terms of customization.
So, Evil Controllers took it upon themselves to change things up here too. Shown here is a black controller customized not only with the Evil Sticks but also with a set of blue LEDs for the Xbox button. You can also opt for red LEDs from Evil Controllers as a standard option. Other colors are available upon request.
I think that the Evil FPS Thumbstick mod offered by Evil Controllers is a good one for Xbox 360 players. The added texture on the top surface really is more comfortable for extended gaming sessions, since you won’t find yourself struggling to avoid slipping off when you move quickly. As its name implies, this is particularly useful for fans of first-person shooters.
The build quality is good, but it is debatable how much value you are really extracting from this mod. A wireless controller with the Evil Sticks pre-installed will run you $69.99, which is obviously more expensive than a non-modified version. The Evil Sticks also sell on their own for $20. For the light mod, a controller with the new LEDs pre-installed is also $69.99.
Is the Evil Stick mod for you? If you’re serious about gaming and you dislike the lack of grip on the standard thumbsticks, then go for it. If you think the regular ones are fine, then you may want to give this a bit more thought.
- Textured surface for added grip
- Solid OEM-level build quality
- Uses all original Microsoft product aside from the thumb sticks
- Debatable value for casual gamers
- Does not add any extra functionality
- Textured surface can be abrasive over time