Evil Shift Controller Review: So Good It's Bad

Evil Shift makes a great controller for competitive shooters, but it leans so hard into those customizations that it can become a one-trick pony.

The number of high quality after market controllers available these days is just nuts. My generation grew up with a never ending supply of discount Mad Catz controllers with useless mods like "turbo" and a design philosophy that was apparently based on medieval torture techniques. These controllers were invented to shame little brothers and for no other purpose. Today, though, there is no shortage of really useful and, dare I say, superior controllers available that offer many advantages over the standard DualShock 4 and Xbone controller.

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The Evil Shift controller stands out from the crowd by maintaining the original controller's shape and layout while upgrading it with mods like hairpin triggers, interchangeable control sticks, and programmable paddle buttons. For players that are comfortable with standard controllers but want to dabble in customization (and get some pretty sweet designs, too) then the Evil Shift is a great place to start.

The Competitive Advantage

Evil takes it's name from the upgrades and modifications to the controller that give players a one-up on the battlefield. All four shoulder buttons have been replaced with tactile triggers that give a much faster trigger pull that the standard analog triggers. They have a nice mouse click feel and sound and work in shooters exactly as described, giving players the ability to shoot, ADS, melee, and grenade throw faster.

These triggers are full replacements, meaning there's no way to switch them back to standard triggers for games that require the full range of motion for the triggers like racing games. Even in Destiny 2 I was unable to use this controller because my sparrow couldn't be ridden at full speed. This is very specifically a controller for competitive shooters, so don't expect it to replace your other controller entirely.

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The controller comes with a variety of different sized control sticks so you can find the ones that have the most comfortable throw for each side. The faceplate doesn't come off the controller so you need to give them a good yank to take them off and push them pretty hard to put them back on. If you don't put them on tight enough the sticks will tend to get stuck when tilted. I worry a bit how this method for changing the sticks will effect the durability over time because you really have to use some force to attach and detach them. Also, because they have to be removable without removing the faceplate, tilting the stick exposes the inner circuitry of the controller, another slight cause for concern.

 Paddle Problems

The programmable paddles are simultaneously the Evil Shift's best and worst feature. Unlike other "pro" controllers that offer lever-style paddles, the Evil Shift has paddle buttons that make direct contact with the sensor, meaning no matter what angle you press them the controller will register the input. This is great in the heat of battle when tensions run high to help make sure your button presses, no matter how panicked, always register.

Unfortunately, I was never able to find a comfortable, natural position for my hands with the Evil Shift. I'm pretty experienced with paddle buttons, my main controller has lever-style paddle buttons and I use them to replace my face buttons in just about every game I play. That controller has a much wider design to accommodate the paddles, where as the Evil Shift is is simply a DualShock 4 with the paddles added on.

My natural grip places my 3 fingers grouped together on the 2 paddles. If i want to use my middle and ring fingers for the paddles I have to choke down to a point where the grips are no longer nestled in my palms. Alternatively I can adjust my fingers so that my ring and pinky hit the paddles, but using my pinkies to hit the paddles is just way to hard to get used to. I love the way the paddles feel and I think Evil is brilliant for designing them to be pressed from any angle, but the implementation makes the controller too awkward to hold for me.

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Also, the triggers replace the rumble packs. It does make the controller lighter than regular DualShock controllers, but there's definitely a trade off there.

A Unique Modification That Might Not Be For Everyone

There's a lot I really like about the Evil Shift. The retextured grips and customizable faceplates look really fresh and feel pretty durable. I also really like the customization process on Evil's website that takes you through each step of selecting your specifications and explaining what they can do. There are a ton of different options available that I haven't had the chance to try out and, for many of them, Evil offers free replacements if the option you chose doesn't feel right to you. I'd like to try the version that has buttons on the back instead of paddles to see if that feels more comfortable for me.

Ultimately, the Evil Shift is a nice entry point to the world of custom controllers. It's apparently legal in most competitive tournaments and unquestionably offers advantages in shooters. I found it difficult to comfortably hold, but that's definitely going to be different for everyone. If your priority is mouse click triggers and fresh coat of paint on the traditional DualShock 4, I think you'll find the Evil Shift fits the bill.

An Evil Shift controller was provided to TheGamer for this review. You can check out the Evil Shift on Evil's website.

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