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Nyko Raven Motion Sensing Wireless Controller
Gaming Reviews

Nyko Raven Motion Sensing Wireless Controller

Soft to the touch, durable, and feels great in the hands, making the transition from the PlayStation 3 console for 360 junkies a seamless one.

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Any third-party controller that improves on a console’s proprietary offering is OK in my book. Nyko’s Raven series of wireless controllers for the PlayStation 3 do this and more, at least in most areas, and even offer Sony fans a tantalizing way to ferry over 360 fans to Sony’s media behemoth – a PS3 controller with the layout of a 360 controller. Available in both Standard (DualShock layout) and Alternate (Xbox 360 layout) designs, the Raven is a formidable third-party alternative to the standard-issue Sony choices in terms of design and the way the controller feels while gaming, but it does possess a few hiccups that may make those strapped for cash think twice before committing.

Perhaps the first aspect of the Raven I marveled over was its smooth, satiny rubberized exterior. Gaming at the end of a long work day is a pastime of mine, and the cold plastic of my Sony controller gets a little uncomfortable during the cold winter nights, and in the summer my palms tend to get a little sweaty – the Raven’s finish alleviated these issues and felt like a dream in my hands. Smooth, indented analog sticks with a beveled grip mirrored the look and feel of the stock Xbox 360 controller spectacularly, though the face buttons felt a little more plasticy than I would have liked. The stenciled-white designs on the buttons are attractive and svelte, but not soft enough for me, and I found that I vastly preferred the 360 and pack-in PS3 controller to these awkward buttons. Also, the slightly raised height of the analog sticks was a bit bothersome; I prefer them a bit lower, but this is easily gotten used to and not any real reason to strike off as a demerit.

The Raven has a nice heft to it, which is great for gamers with large and even smaller hands alike, since the surface material has a nice supporting grip to it. I was reminded of several different Logitech PC gamepads I had used in the past, especially when it came to the shoulder buttons. I loved the silky feeling of pumping them, thanks to the finish, and the “bumpers” felt similarly comfortable. There was no real “spring-back” as I like to say that you see with third-party products (a GameStop brand, for one), and it felt like a dream to take aim and fire on several shooters like Killzone 2 or Call of Duty: Black Ops. As far as the d-pad goes, it’s a solid cross, quite unlike the DualShock’s “broken” style and completely different from the troublesome 360 d-pad. I found that it worked quite well for games that didn’t rely too much on non-analog stick controls, as it just didn’t have the accurate feel of the “broken” d-pad found on the standard DualShock.

The controller charges through its mini-USB port and syncs up with a USB dongle, which is one feature I didn’t enjoy so much. I experienced several interruptions when attempting to play at a friend’s house, particularly when playing around with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game. Since the device isn’t Bluetooth (common among third-party controllers on the console), that’s probably to be expected, though it begs the question, why couldn’t it have been? I don’t particularly like being unable to turn the system on with the Home button, either, which is a feature I’ve grown accustomed to since becoming a PS3 owner a couple of years ago.

Force feedback seems adequate, though a little milder than what you might feel on the 360 with the similar design and all. I also found Sixaxis (motion-control) play to be quite decent, playing through Flower with no hampered accuracy or noticeable flaws. Despite the dropouts in connection seen while playing through some gameplay sessions, I found Nyko’s Raven to be a particularly interesting and formidable controller. It’s soft to the touch, durable, and feels great in the hands, and makes the transition to the PlayStation 3 console for 360 junkies a seamless one. You may prefer the Standard version design, which retains the DualShock analog layout. But if you’re looking for a way to spice up your gaming on the PS3, you could do a lot worse than Nyko’s Raven series.

About the Author: Brittany Vincent