Shoryuken at E3 2018: Giving the SCUF Vantage PlayStation 4 controller a fighting chance

By on June 20, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Scuf Vantage Disassembled Featured Image

The possibilities are endless for efficiency and accessibility with elite controllers and fighting games.

The recently-announced SCUF Vantage controller was on display at E3 2018 and Shoryuken was invited by SCUF Gaming to take a closer look at the exciting peripheral. While not marketed directly for fighting games, its numerous features could prove beneficial for players of all levels.

The SCUF Vantage feels immediately comfortable, especially for folks like me who prefer the “Xbox-style” layout. The rubberized grips ensure stability during the high-intensity bouts found in fighting games. The weight can also be adjusted by removing the vibration modules; this also helps out people who prefer to be free from the haptic distraction. Also, the wireless models can have their Bluetooth deactivated to function as native wired controllers for the lowest latency at tournaments. [Not to mention easier device-connection management at events. – Editor]

The four map-able paddles and two additional Side Action (SAX) Buttons give players a plethora of choices in how they want to key in their combos. For example, with the SAX buttons, you can readily utilize Square for light punch, S2 for medium punch, and R1 for heavy punch without needing to move your fingers from their places. For kicks, just use the two back paddles and the X button. Any of the extra inputs can be mapped and remapped for whatever fits your situation. One thing that would make this feature better, however, would be an official application built into the PlayStation 4 itself, like the Xbox Accessories app available on the Xbox One. Instead, all of the mappings must be done manually via the map switch — which is easy enough, but dedicated software would bring the whole experience together.

The triggers are also customizable in a number of ways. They can have their tension adjusted to match the perfect pull, they can have their pull shortened to require shorter presses, and can be swapped entirely with longer buttons to match your comfort zone. Personally, I found shortening the pull distance allowed for much faster inputs, making the triggers more like buttons. Whenever fractions of seconds are what can make the difference, a short press could be all one needs to win. Don’t forget there are concave and domed styles of sticks, with varying lengths for your preferred playstyles. Fighters can take advantage of the concave sticks for tighter control, but if the domed sticks are more comfortable, then give them a shot.

Blue SCUF Vantage Zoom

One of my personal favorite customizations of the controller is the Control Disc, a replacement for the traditional D-Pad. The control disc is made out of a grippy rubber that allows just enough give for your thumb to slide while being in full control. This allows swooping motions, perfect for quarter and half-circle inputs. This also allows for better diagonal control, which works great for charge moves. The D-pad itself works well, and is certainly preferable in comparison to the squishy default Dual Shock 4 controller. The definitive click made by the D-pad and the control disc creates a physical and audio queue for the player, helping to note success inputs.

The SCUF Vantage does deliver a lot on choice — and players are able to remove any of the extra functions that don’t suit their fancy. That means if you don’t want to use the SAX buttons, you can take them off. If you only want to use one paddle, just remove the rest of them. If you change your mind about how you want your SCUF Vantage to look. there will be customization packs available in different colors that can also act as replacement packs if your controller starts to wear down.

The controller and others like it will be allowed for use at Evo (legality was confirmed with a representative), which allows a completely new experience for tournament play. Fighting games are all about experimentation and finding new and interesting ways to succeed. The concept of an “elite” controller has never really been applied to fighting games before, by either their manufacturers or their users — most people view these controllers as being designed exclusively for the first-person shooter genre. That being said, learning how to use a fight stick can be daunting for players who have grown accustomed to using a standard controller. Those wanting to invest in a more-versatile controller that creates a stronger overall experience — and houses plenty of applications that benefit fighters — can find all of that in the SCUF Vantage.

Scuf Vantage Customized Back Zoom 2

The SCUF Vantage’s asking price is definitely something that may give some users pause ($169.95 wired and $199.95 wireless, not including shipping — basically arcade stick price range), but this looks like the best the PlayStation 4 has to offer in this hardware category so far. Sony themselves have yet to enter the elite controller market, instead licensing out those peripherals through third parties like SCUF, Razer, and HORI.

Pre-orders have begun for the SCUF Vantage — which can be customized in a variety of colors, from its magnetic faceplate to its anti-friction rings — on the product’s store page. The controller is set to release sometime in August 2018 (which likely will miss Evo 2018, but there are plenty of other events on the horizon to follow).

PlayStation performed an unboxing of the unit at E3 to showcase everything that comes with the device. The controller comes with a variety of accessories right out the gate, as one would expect at the given price point, but with that investment, users will have everything they need to perfect their way of play. Take a look at PlayStation’s unboxing of the SCUF Vantage below — and expect a more in-depth look at the controller and its functions from Shoryuken in the near future.

Sources: SCUF Gaming; PlayStation

Shoryuken.com Associate Editor. Austyn James Roney began his gaming journey with Super Smash Bros. on the N64 but learned the ways of the fighting game genre with Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Loves all fighters, regardless of dimension or playstyle.