We've all seen the expensive mods over the last year demonstrating what it would be like if the DualShock 3 met the Xbox 360 controller and produced offspring from that encounter. While this process was disturbing (and exciting) for fans of both machines, it would be even more disturbing for their wallets to purchase such a custom controller. Fortunately for the cheap and weak at heart, Saitek and Mad Catz have teamed up to provide a multipurpose controller that not only functions on both the PlayStation 2 and 3, but the PC as well. The Saitek PS2700 is a handy controller that is a hybrid mix between the DualShock 3 and X360 controller at a fraction of the cost of even the cheapest mod jobs.
The face mapping on the controller is very similar to that of the DualShock. Your four main buttons are found to the right of the controller and offer gamers a similar response time of the previously mentioned DS. While these are more than likely going to be used for gaming with the PlayStation 3, it deserves to be mentioned that the face buttons, alongside any other button on the PS2700, are fully customizable when utilized on the PC. Thanks to the Saitek Smart Technology software, the controller can be mapped with any keyboard keys even for PC games that do not have controller support. This is just one feature that sets it apart from other third-party controllers on the market.
Moving on to the triggers of this controller, they're completely concave and are surprisingly comfortable to grip. I never once had to deal with my finger slipping off the trigger or sliding while holding it down. As many of you will probably agree, this small touch is something that Sony should have taken into consideration when designing the Sixaxis. All of the shoulder buttons are appropriately responsive and sensitive.
The directional pad is one of the shining successes of the PS2700 as it offers full eight-directional support, much like the Mad Catz FightPads for Street Fighter IV. Though this D-Pad is not a "floating" piece of technology, you can still feel the light clicking under your thumb as you rotate around the pad itself. This gives you a further sense of control and allows you to completely determine what you're trying to do without being limited to just four directions. It also goes without mention that the analog sticks on the left and right function up to par with those of the DualShock 3.
This brings me to one of my two favorite features that this controller has to offer: Precision Aiming. On the underside of the controller, directly behind the right analog stick, there is a small button that one of your wrapped around fingers can press in. This button allows for the precision of the analog stick to tighten up, allowing you to move precisely to the target you're wanting to shoot without zooming past it or coming up short. This is by far one of the best additions to a controller in recent memory. I had the chance to check this feature out with our review copy of Killzone 2 and can say that it made taking down the Helghast that much easier.
Finally, my favorite part of the controller is the revolutionary Cyborg module. That's the gray part that encircles the D-Pad and left analog stick. With a simply press of a button, this compartment pops out of the controller, allowing you to rotate it 180 degrees in order to take the form of the Xbox 360 controller's layout. This is especially helpful if you prefer to play certain games with the analog stick opposed to the directional pad. While some gamers may claim this is a superfluous feature, those without allegiance will recognize how this could benefit their playing ability.
Unfortunately, the PS2700 isn't without its faults. It's sometimes difficult to sync the controller up properly to the PS3. Why it does this baffles us, but it sometimes takes 10-15 seconds for the controller to properly activate. This is not a regular occurrence and shouldn't be a reason to not purchase the controller. What may reasonably dissuade some gamers is the lack of rumble support for PS3 games; rumble is only available on the PlayStation 2. This means that rumble supported titles on the PlayStation 3 are once again gimped to the pre-DualShock 3 era.
The Saitek PS2700 is easily the most affordable option ($29.99) if you're in the market for a second or third controller for your gaming needs. It provides an excellent gaming experience within all genres, and allows you to comfortably play all titles to your liking, whether that be via D-Pad or Analog control. Mad Catz continues its resurgence in 2009 with this product, and we're looking forward to more from them in the future.
-The Final Word-
The Saitek PS2700 is a unique, affordable controller that will suit most tastes.