The rise of competitive gaming has been prevalent for over a generation in gaming, and in turn came the prominence of Pro Controllers. We’ve seen Microsoft embracing this by providing elite series controllers with a vast array of options – all the while, third-parties flood the scene with many different variations. However, the surge ends with Sony’s PlayStation 5 where even PS4 pro controllers doesn’t work with current PS5 games. As we eagerly await Sony’s official elite DualSense, we have HexGaming to rejoice over with their attempt at providing pivotal gaming inputs at extremely high quality, even if it’s fairly limited for its price range.
Build Quality for Champs
For those of you who doesn’t know, HexGaming is a partnered company with ExtremeRate Limited, another gaming peripheral website. HexGaming’s goal is to craft high quality, customizable modded controllers for your competitive desires – and with the PS5 not having one yet, they jumped at the opportunity to give you just that. With Battle Beaver’s custom controller, you see the defaulted DualSense with 2 small buttons on the back grips that were mappable, but the placement wasn’t ideal and the buttons didn’t feel right. HexGaming creates a module paddle for the rear of the controller with fin-like actuators for convenience and comfort. Furthermore, in their website the controller is highly customizable with trigger stops, different plates and buttons, thumb stick swapping and their very own FastShot – where you can increase the response speed of when you tap the trigger. With the freedom to customize your inputs, Rival 2 is the ideal controller for those who wants an entirely cumbersome-free gameplay experience.
Once you get your hands on Rival 2, you immediately feel the extremely high quality effort put into this. It’s heavier than the original DualSense, probably because of the rear module, and with the option to choose what kind of plates you want, material textures can really make your controller feel unique. The design choice that was sent to me has a gloss texture throughout the base of the controller which, unfortunately has some smudging issues but not enough to even notice. The rear module is also customizable with color and texture too. The trigger stops can be added when choosing your design and has color options as well – it’s just sort of endless from here.
Gamepad for Gods
Upon usage, I found that Rival 2 performs just as well, if not better than the original DualSense – but because it is using the actual DualSense controller, there are no software program to alter your response curves or deadzones. There’s no button to adjust the trigger stops or even the tightness of the joysticks; all of that is pretty much done before you purchase, and its a sealed deal from there. It’s a shame too, because if you decide to get trigger stops, the Haptic Feedback on R2/L2 is gone. The only mappable option is the rear module, where you’ll be holding down a center button, wait for a blink, press your desired base button then hold down your desired rear button to map. It’s incredibly easy to do, but that’s all you’ll get for hands-on control, aside from swapping thumbsticks – that’s cool.
Make-your-own HexGaming custom DualSense gamepads are available through the HexGaming website – use Discount Code: 3CEJnMFOB362B to save on your purchase. A custom order cost between $249.99 and $334.99, depending on your choice. You can find pre-build controllers for $289.99 at HexGaming store and Amazon.
This is where it gets off putting for me – HexGaming’s Rival 2 controller is built incredibly well, the rear module is fantastic and responsive, but with nonexistent player adjustments, the price tag is insurmountably steep. In their website, to start building your controller, it goes for $249.99 – and can reach anywhere ~$350 depending on your choices. Sure, it’s the only viable controller for PS5, and you’re mostly paying for the designs, materials, custom triggers and joystick – but those are baseline when you’re missing essential elements like a software or adjustable triggers when you want to play a different game. For people like myself, it’s a sacrifice worth taking, but even I can feel the phantom pain, so to speak.
HexGaming Rival 2 is unstoppable in design quality – it feels like you’re holding diamond and it’s sturdy enough for the roughest of players. Without the choice to adjust your inputs after purchase, I can see this may stop a lot of players from jumping in. However, I can soundly confirm that this controller is handled with care and will keep you at the top of the leaderboard, at least until either HexGaming or Sony release the true elite controller we desire.
REVIEW SCORE: 8/10
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