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Developer: Splitfish Gameware
Splitfish is a company that is always on the cutting edge of video game controllers, poised for the ultimate experience in interactive gaming. Their latest gizmo is the EdgeFX, which is a sleek, mouse-and-trigger type design that’s perfect for gamers who want more out of the games they play.
For people who may not have seen it (or has not bothered to look at the picture below), the EdgeFX has a bit of a Wii-mote/Nunchuk flair to it. The snazzy setup has players holding a trigger and analog in their left hand (called a left grip) and a eight-buttoned infrared mouse in their right hand. For convenience purposes, there’s a nifty little mouse-pad for when you’re actually not moving the mouse around in mid-air.
Being a lefty, though, I had to make some adjustments to getting the hang of using a right-handed mouse. But after making a few adjustments to the control schemes in some games, it quickly became as easy-to-use as a standard PS2 controller. Actually, the design is a lot more convenient for using the EdgeFX like the Wii-mote and Nunchuk – and by that I mean holding it mid-air with the mouse turned sideways. See, there’s four buttons on the side of the mouse where your thumb rests. These are the standard ‘x’, triangle, circle and square buttons. So when holding the mouse off the pad it makes it easier to thumb around the buttons.
Now for those who are wondering how a PS2 controller can be substituted with a light-weight left-grip and a infrared mouse that rumbles, I’ll explain it like this: The left grip is equivalent to the left analog, while the infrared mouse works as the right analog. Simple, right? Yes, of course it is. In fact, the digital pad and analog stick are both located on the left grip, and the L1 and L2 buttons are used as triggers, just below the “Focus” button (I’ll explain that in a second.) The R1 and R2 buttons are conversely used as the left and right mouse buttons on the infrared mouse, and start and select are separated across both the mouse and left grip. So for shooting games you can exercise the mouse for aiming, but use the analog for strafing, and for fighting games all the face buttons can easily be reached or activated while on the side of the mouse. It’s actually the dream setup for gamers who always wanted to use a mouse for aiming yet have a convenient analog stick as well.
Now the “Focus” button is a unique and very welcomed feature. It allows gamers to literally focus more accurately with the mouse. More accurately, by holding down the pressure sensitive “Focus” button on the left grip, the accompanying mouse sensitivity will be lowered. So while sniping or trying to search for items in an adventure game, you can use the focus button to move the mouse around more accurately. Alternatively, the sensitivity for the mouse can be adjusted on the fly with a knob just beneath the analog stick on the left grip. Very stylish, very snazzy.
When it comes to actually playing the games, you’ll be satisfied to know that the EdgeFX actually works quite well. Wait, in some cases it worked superbly. Personally I found it to be much more effective with platform games, given that the analog setup on the left grip was just really easy to use and extremely intuitive. The accompanying mouse wasn’t bad, but being a lefty it took some adjustment for shooter games (right handed gamers will probably find it tons more efficient than the keyboard and mouse combination for PC gaming.) After re-adjusting my coordination a bit, I found myself totally re-engaged with stealing cars, jumping off cliffs and mowing down gang members...in Grand Theft Auto, of course.
On a side-note, the EdgeFX also works as a neat PC gamepad alternative if you have a Joybox or equivalent device. You can easily setup the control preferences with provided software or free driver downloads. But the cool part is that the rumble features also stay intact, so if you want gaming that goes beyond the keyboard and mouse, this is a venerable accessory that’s worth checking into.
So overall, the EdgeFX is a sweet ancillary device for the PS2 that makes for easy, ergonomic, fast gameplay. It would be especially efficient for first-person shooters, if that had been the PS2's niche genre. But the Edge FX is a bloody good fit for any platform title and works well enough for third-person shooters. So for gear-heads looking to get further into the game with precision aiming and an almost Wii-mote feel, then the EdgeFX is your best bet.