When it comes to professional gaming controllers, there are few names in the business bigger than Scuf. Professional players around the world reach for a Scuf controller when they go into battle, and it's easy to see why. The Vantage 2 is the updated model from the original Vantage and is a practically perfect gaming controller.
I've spent several weeks and hundreds of hours using the Vantage 2 that Scuf sent me for review, and it's easily the nicest controller I've used for the PlayStation 4. Let's deep dive into what makes it so good.
At a glance
Scuf Vantage 2
Bottom line: The Scuf Vantage 2 is hands down the best controller I have ever used. The interchangeable parts may be a gimmick, but the responsiveness and build quality are not. If you have the money to spend, spend it on this controller.
- Excellent build quality
- Responsive triggers and thumbsticks
- Extra buttons and paddles that add value
- Onboard customization
- Lots of travel on the four buttons
- Half the cost of the console
- Sound issues when on Bluetooth
The Scuf Vantage 2 controller What feels great
When a company asks you to lay down such a big wedge of cash for a product, you can expect certain things, chief among them is build quality. The Scuf Vantage 2 is exceptionally well made, with all the small details expertly designed. From the curve of the rear paddles to the travel in the triggers, everything has a premium feel that you rarely find in gaming peripherals.
To give you an idea of the attention to detail that Scuf has put into the Vantage 2, you just have to look at the touch panel. The word Scuf is written there dozens of times. From a distance, it looks like the same dots as the DualShock 4, but on closer inspection, the quality shines through. These tiny details elevate the Vantage 2 beyond its competitors.
Part of that build quality is how well the thumbsticks and triggers respond in-game. The triggers can be adjusted so you can have a long travel pull or a short travel, depending on your play style. I like the short pull, personally. It makes aiming down sights a lot easier and gives me an edge in PvP combat.
The adjustable thumbsticks are another nice touch. The controller comes with two sets of interchangeable sticks, one tall, one short. Now, you could just have two long sticks or two short sticks, but here's a tip; use the long stick for your left thumb and the short stick on the right. While the left stick is used for movement — having a long stick makes movement smoother — the right stick is typically used for adjusting the camera. Having a short stick makes those movements more refined and much faster, giving you greater control.
I have used multiple controllers this year... none of them come close to the Vantage 2 in terms of quality and usability.
As a bonus, having longer sticks seems to be helping my arthritis, so playing for long periods is way more comfortable. Comfort is a big part of the Vantage 2. It has a good heft to it, but that weight can become cumbersome over long periods. Fortunately, the Scuf controller has removable rumble packs to lighten the load. Rumble packs, while adding a lot to single-player games, can be a detriment in PvP. I like to remove the modules and take away the distraction they cause when I'm playing long haul content like Destiny 2's raids or spending a lot of time in CoD: Modern Warfare's Groundwar.
While there is a PC companion app to program all the extra buttons — the Vantage 2 even has side buttons by the top triggers for even more control — it isn't needed. To program the buttons, you can flip a switch on the controller, press the buttons you want to map, and flip the switch again. Easy. This level of control for button mapping is fantastic and lets you change your layout on-the-fly while you are playing.
The Scuf Vantage 2 controller What felt off
The negatives to the Vantage 2 are so negligible as to be nonexistent. While the price is high, it isn't any higher than other professional quality controllers, and really for the quality of the controller, you can't grumble at the cost. Quality costs money, so you'll have to pay to get it.
I did have some issues with getting my headset to work correctly with the Vantage 2. For some reason, the audio jack wouldn't work correctly when the controller was in Bluetooth mode. You can use the controller in either wired or wireless mode, and though I like to play wireless when I play casually, the audio wouldn't work. You'll need to use the Vantage 2 wired if you want a good team chat experience.
Of course, once you have the team chat working correctly, Scuf has made the process of using it feel like a premium experience. The volume control is a smooth touchpad that increases the volume with a swipe to the right, and you can mute with a long press. It's a lovely system that feels extremely intuitive while in-game.
My last little thing is just a personal preference, but I'm not fond of the four symbol buttons. While all the rest of the buttons are short travel mechanical clicks, the X, square, circle, and triangle buttons are not. There is a lot of travel in the buttons, and they feel less than stellar when compared to the other buttons on the controller.
The Scuf Vantage 2 controller Should you buy it?
If you are looking for a premium controller, one designed for the very best gaming experience in mind, then look no further. I have used multiple controllers this year, including PS4, Xbox, and even the Stadia controller, and none of them come close to the Vantage 2 in terms of quality and usability. I can't imagine using any other controller moving forward.
Should you buy the Scuf Vantage 2, though? If you are serious about your gaming and you want to feel an edge, or if you want the most control possible over your gaming experience, then it's worth dropping the $170 for this beautiful device.
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