Se7ensins recently contacted GamerGear in order to review one of their products, the “sharpshooter” analog stick extender. After using the analog sticks for a few days and getting used to them, I feel it is only right to share with you all this new found side of gaming I have experienced solely thanks to these extenders. The idea is to give you an advantage when it comes to thumbstick control, and they certainly live up to their promise as I have found they massively affect my gaming.
First of all, I should mention the packaging, as it is fairly important to some. They came in a packet of 3, in a simple plastic package. The opening of the package was extremely simple, all it took was a pull, which was nice to see as some vendors needlessly complicate their packaging. Anyway, onto the thumbsticks.
I had three sitting in front of me and I wasn’t sure how to proceed, so I decided to experiment as much as possible in as many ways I could think of. To begin, I simply stuck one extender on my right thumbstick and proceeded to begin playing MW2 on my Xbox 360. I didn't notice much difference in how I played to be honest; however, I will say that these sticks feel far better on your thumbs than the stock controller sticks. They’re very easy to manoeuvre as well as extremely easy to grip due to the pattern on the top of the sticks.
Ignore my dirty controller, this is showing off the single stick.
After the single thumbstick improved virtually nothing, I decided to add a second. This is when I noticed the change. I was finding myself aiming so precisely and quickly due to the ease of these thumbsticks stacked on each other. Because they were now closer to my thumb than before, my reactions improved immensely. You could say that the thumbsticks are basically used for elongation more than anything, which might not sound like a lot but it will help you in the end.
After adding the third thumbstick and getting very used to how it moved and how I could “make it my own”, I decided that it was time to bring my testing elsewhere. I thought that I would try out some popular games, but before I got into them I noticed Skate 2 on my HDD, so I jumped right on. For those of you unfamiliar with the “Skate” series, the board is controlled totally by the right thumbstick, the stick is your way of attempting tricks. Obviously playing with these additional sticks was going to change how the game played, I knew this before starting but even then I was surprised at how well I was able to control everything with the extra sticks. Everything just happened faster and it was far easier to pull off many tricks. I think a game that was totally dependent on the right stick was a good choice for trying out the “sharpshooter”. Even though it wasn't a first person game (where you would expect these sticks to come in handy) it was very useful for me.
After this I went on to Black Ops 2 just to see if it was any different. Thankfully it was just as useful even though I did have to turn down my sensitivity somewhat, as I was spinning far too much while using the stick on the highest sensitivity. Not a huge deal but I'm going to put the blame on Black ops 2 as I didn't have the same issue on any of the other Call of Duties. I did run into one game that was easier played without the thumbstick and this was FIFA 13. I used the three sticks on both the left and the right, switched them between one stick on each, two and one etc. But none of these would improve anything about FIFA, which is fair enough since when you get right down to it, FIFA games are just stiff sidescrollers and a faster thumbstick really won’t change that at all.
The three thumbstick look.
It should be made clear to everyone though, these thumbsticks aren't magic. If you suck at a game, getting a longer thumbstick is not going to make you good in most cases, so don’t think that these are going to suddenly make you good at games you are bad at. It doesn't work that way. It’s more like a case of already average to good players getting a slight edge and a new way to play. It will change your experience somewhat and I can guarantee you that after you use these sticks for a while, you won’t be able to play without them.
Like I mentioned previously, I found it extremely hard to adjust to a stock thumbstick after removing the extenders. This is probably my only “aesthetic” complaint about them, which is sort of a sham complaint since I wouldn’t be having that issue if I never removed them (even though I feel I need to while playing FIFA). They feel very nice in a sense that they are in no way uncomfortable for your thumbs, the lack of any discomfort is a massive selling point I feel, as nobody wants to sacrifice comfort just for some better aiming. I did find that after extended periods of time, my thumb would begin to hurt while I had three extenders attached. This is probably because my thumb was stretched to reach out for many hours. I imagine if you have longer thumbs, you won’t have this issue, although it could very well be the long time I spent playing without removing them.
One complaint I have about the thumbsticks is the difficulty involved with separating them once they are together. This may just be my particular set, or my lack of nails and/or stubby fingers, but I found myself having to get a knife and prying them apart at times. While three are together, the top will come off with slight force from my hands, but I cannot separate the final two easily at all, perhaps I’m just weak but this is still far too difficult for the task at hand especially since I needed to use a knife to separate them, but if you plan on leaving them attached permanently then you will not come by this issue. Also, it’s worth noting that I tried to use these with my Xbox One controller and they simply would not stay attached, but you can see more of this in the video review.
I'd like to take this oppurtunity to thank GamerGear for allowing me to review their product, as well as thank them for the creation of the product itself, as I find it extremely useful. Overall, I find these thumbsticks to be extremely useful, and as a hardcore gamer, I recommend them to anyone who plays a lot of games, especially if they’re first person shooters. I personally like the combo of two extenders and one extender to the right and left thumbsticks, respectively. I liked playing with three on the right but I find that pain of a stretched thumb to become annoying after extended periods, and I like to play for a long time undisturbed by such things, so the 2-1 combo is perfect for me. I hope this review has inspired you to consider purchasing the “sharpshooter” product from GamerGear, it is certainly something that every gamer should, at the very least, try. I am thinking of purchasing a second set to try out a 3-3 combo, now that would be interesting!
Here are some more images of the sticks:
Here is the video review, it's not much but it was just to clarify the points made in the written review somewhat. Credit to Alex and Holo for helping with this video.
Thank you for reading the review, now onto the contest. Simply post in this thread for a chance to win your very own set of "sharpshooter" thumbsticks! (White). The winner will be randomly selected on Friday the 30th and will be contacted by myself for your address.
Rules & Guidelines
• By posting below you are automatically entered into the competition.
• You will only be entered into the contest once. Multiple posts will not give you multiple chances.
• If I hear no response from the winner within 48-hours then a new winner will be chosen.