Game Over Online ~ Thrustmaster Wireless Dual Trigger Gamepad

Thrustmaster Wireless Dual Trigger Gamepad

Published: Thursday, November 18th, 2004 at 05:32 AM
Written By: Glen Bedjanian

Product: Thrustmaster Wireless Dual Trigger Gamepad
Manufacturer: Thrustmaster
Retail Price: $39.99 USD
Date of Availability: Not available in US yet

There are lots of controllers on the market these days, and it takes something unique to try and differentiate oneself in this relatively crowded market. Thrustmaster has always been a name to be reckoned with in the controller business, so anything coming from them is always worth a look. I still have my wonderful F-16 FLCS joystick from Thrustmaster, which I think was, and is, one of the best joysticks ever made, even with the lack of vibration. But that is beside the point. Today, we’ll have a look at Thrustmaster’s offering in the Playstation 2 controller market – the wireless game pad.

Screen Shot

The first thing that occurred to me when I picked it up was that it was kind of heavy, but it’s not excessively so; unless you’re Mr. Burns, you should be right well off. The gamepad is made of a two-tone black and blue plastic which is a nice design touch. It feels overall bigger and fuller than a Playstation 2 DualShock controller.

The controller has the standard set of 4 buttons on the right, a D-pad on the left, two analogue sticks and 4 index finger trigger buttons. In addition, it has two actual triggers which are configurable to replicate any button or axis – in proportional mode, which is very cool.

Something I was somewhat unhappy with is that the Turbo function is gone – the wired Thrustmaster controllers generally have this, but this one does not. I suppose the wireless functionality somehow interferes with this, so it was removed.

A few words about the feel of the controller. As mentioned above, it feels relatively solid. The feel of the analogue sticks is a touch on the light side compared to the DualShock; as well, the heads of the sticks are slightly smaller. The D-pad is larger than on a DualShock, though I doubt it is much of an issue. The D-pad is a single piece of plastic as always, so combinations like Up+Down or Left+Right are still impossible (and before you ask me why in God’s name I would have a combination like that, think Dance Dance Revolution). The only really notable gripe I had with the controller was the placement of the trigger buttons. On a DualShock controller, your middle finger goes into a sort of a groove located behind the R/L triggers. As a result, your index finger very comfortably grips the R1/L1 trigger buttons, and playing games like Burnout 3, which require a lot of boost, is child’s play. With the Thrustmaster pad, you have to move the middle finger out onto the variable triggers, so your nameless/ring fingers go underneath the pad. It’s a little bit unusual for me, and took some getting used to; but after playing a game of Burnout with the traditional hand positioning, my fingers started hurting, so I had to change the grip; and if you hold it with the middle finger being on the variable triggers, then the grip is much better.

The controller was a snap to set up (though there were no batteries in the box – I mean, hey, you can get batteries for $1 for a pack of 4 at a dollar store – margins must be really thin these days…). I had no problems with the range, but then again, my apartment is not that big, and considering there is no point in going outside visual range, I didn’t attempt going to other rooms, since basically I had no (easy) way of finding out (or any desire of doing so, for that matter) if the controller was still working.

So what are my impressions of the unit? I have to say that I haven’t really had enough trouble with my wired controllers to justify dumping them and investing into a wireless one. On the other hand, considering that this controller sells for essentially the same price as a wired one, it might be better to pick this one up, since there is no premium to pay and it does give some advantages. Battery life is quite good (it should take about a week of occasional play to deplete them – the manufacturer claims 100 hours of continuous play and I’ve been able to get something reasonably close to that). In my view, the best investment for a wireless controller is if you have a projection room (or if you have a 60” plasma TV), since there, you want to be somewhat further away from the screen. With my small’ish 32” TV, it didn’t make a significant difference.

So to summarize my ramblings, if you are buying a new Playstation 2 for the holidays, then you should consider this as a possible alternative to a DualShock. If you have a big room with a huge TV, you almost certainly need this, because you need to move away from the screen. And if you have a normal TV and a normal-size room, then you might not really need this, unless wires annoy you.


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