The funny thing about controllers are that they're the one thing any console gamer needs and yet they're the one thing you never think about buying. You'll try your utmost to make do with whatever you've got, whether that's a battered-and-bruised five year old model that came with the console originally or a grimy hand-me-down that you “borrowed” from a friend. However, there will come a time that your trusty handheld mate can hold out no longer: the control sticks no longer sit in the centre, buttons have little bits of cereal caught underneath them so they're practically unusable, and the battery runs out after 5 seconds of use. Time to buy a new one. The process of purchasing PS3 controllers always throws up the same dilemma: should I plump for the reliable Dualshock or gamble on a third party design? Whilst the second might save you a few quid, third party controllers are notoriously awful. There are, however, some that you should really pay attention to, and the new Gioteck SC-1 contoller is a case in point.
The first thing you can say about it is that it certainly looks the part. Maybe Gioteck have been a bit overzealous, making the back of the controller and base of the analogue sticks a bright red, whilst slapping on numerous grey stripes to boot, but I think the result is sleek, and besides, no one can judge you for being flashy when you're lounging naked on the sofa playing video games. The feel is also very good: the controller is light but not too light, fits comfortably in your hand, and the buttons protrude the exact right amount so that you only press them when you actually want to. It feels sturdy, the material is extremely high quality, and I reckon it could take a couple hundred rage quits before you're able to make a decent dent in it. It can't help but remind you of of a slightly smaller Xbox 360 controller: instead of fat L2 and R2 triggers you have a small, thinned down set, and the analogue sticks are arranged with one higher than the other, unlike with the Dualshock. In fact, if you own a PS3 and prefer the 360 controllers then this might be just about perfect.
It's got a lot of extras that you won't get from the conventional Dualshocks either: you can customise the sensitivity of the control sticks between 4 different levels if you want to get really fiddly, there's a turbo button on board which certainly brings back a sense of nostalgia, as well as programmable buttons for a bit of customisation. It also hold charge for ages. In fact, I ended up forgetting it was wireless. I genuinely only charged it once in a two week period of heavy use and it was still alive and kicking at the end of it, which is to be admired considering just how much of an annoyance a short battery life can be. It's marketed as a “sports controller”, which seems slightly strange to me. For the majority of my testing I was playing FIFA 13, and the controller held up superbly, with the fact that you can alter the sensitivity of the analogue sticks proving very useful to pull of the most intricate dribbling moves. However, the controller also performed admirably in other games such as Tomb Raider, and in online shooters such as Black Ops 2 the sensitivity control could be very useful. Surely this sporty marketing slant is only going to serve to put some gamers off of a generally package.
The only negative I can pin on it is that the left and right bumpers are hard to get used to: they only depress on the outside, rather than the whole button moving up and down, so if your finger is slightly out of place your action might end up not registering, which can be very annoying. However, in every other way I prefer this to the Dualshock controller. It's better fitted to your hand, it's more stylish, and has a lot more features, with an overall feel of a more premium product. This is particularly surprising when you consider the price: available for £27-29 on Amazon, it’s a little cheaper cheaper than the original PS3 offerings, making it very good value for money. If you're a Playstation gamer who's got bored of having the same old controller, or you've just always preferred the slightly chunkier Xbox model, then this is the controller for you. Click HERE to take a peek on Amazon.