Moving forward to 2019, third-party hardware companies have learnt from their mistakes (Mostly…) and have started to offer less wacky and premium hardware. Well, as far as their respective licencing agreements will let them!
Third Party Venom
‘SnakeByte’ have entered this space by fusing budget devices with quality devices. Readers can check out some of their ‘Nintendo Switch’ Accessories we covered last year here.
SnakeBytes latest offering in the ‘PlayStation 4’ space is their ‘Wireless GAME:PAD 4’, featuring full HD vibration motors and a fully functional touchpad. Readers, I won’t be trying to compare the GAME:PAD 4 with the real McCoy. It’s a waste of time as let’s face it, nothing beats an official ‘DualShock 4’
A Dual Shock?
The initial feel of the controller is very ergonomic, fitting nice and snug into my man-child’s hands. SnakeByte really hit the nail on the head here, likewise with the weight and overall finish of the pad. Putting the revolting Triangle, Circle, X and Square buttons (See picture below) to one side, SnakeByte are really trying to show up the competition. Another worthy note would be it’s use of current DualShock Bluetooth tech, so no muti platform controller here people…
The shoulder and trigger buttons have a lovely click to them which is quite responsive (I playtested the GAME:PAD 4 with ‘SpiderMan’ and ‘DooM’ in order to get the best feel for it overall). However, the main issue with the GAME:PAD 4 is the thumbstick dead zones and floaty latency. Spidey would jar in a sporadic direction as if the pad couldn’t keep up with the thumbsticks movement. This issue was slightly less noticeable in DooM, however, more tactical shooters may show up the flaw.
Another issue which may relate to the Thumb Stick dead zone issues maybe the firmware update process. With the GAME:PAD 4 not being a first party controller, firmware updates have to be actioned seperatly from the PlayStation 4 system. A USB wire with clear instruction of the process are included in the package, but the downloadable update software is a bit flimsy, to say the least.
Firmware = Flopware
Whilst the software was intermittently picking up the GAME:PAD 4, I managed to connect the software to the pad to commence the update only for it to error out when at the end of this process. Playtesting was done before and after the firmware update with no noticeable difference. This was attempted on ‘iMac’ and ‘Windows 10’ systems using all available USB ports.
Whilst I have to take into consideration the negative experiences I had with this third-party controller, this may well be a warranty issue or a faulty piece of hardware. Each GAME:PAD Pro comes with a 5-year warranty directly from SnakeByte, which is a solid thing for a hardware company to offer. The battery life is sufficient for extensive play. I was playtesting for a total of around 2 hours with a good 70% battery left.
Ease of use: 4
Overall Score: 5.2 / 10
SnakeByte usually produces quality third-party accessories and hardware, but unfortunately the Wireless GAME:PAD 4 for PlayStation 4 is 2019’s duff player 2 pad. Players just need to find a decent split screen or CO-OP experience, ‘Unravel Two’ maybe?
Review Hardware Provided by Publisher