Aug 28, 2023
SCUF Reflex PS5 Controller Review
A year before the PlayStation 5 came out, Sony casually dropped a PS4 controller accessory that breathed new life into the ageing DualShock 4 design. The Back Button Controller Attachment slipped into
A year before the PlayStation 5 came out, Sony casually dropped a PS4 controller accessory that breathed new life into the ageing DualShock 4 design. The Back Button Controller Attachment slipped into the controller’s audio port, adding a pair of programmable touch buttons that you could even set up multiple profiles for. It was a game-changer, giving me a far more ergonomic way to use L3 and R3 clicks or face-button taps that would otherwise be too tricky to do while I’m running around in Apex Legends, and being more cost effective than a full pro controller from SCUF, Nacon, Razer and others.
I’d assumed the attachment was a teaser for planned features for the PlayStation 5 controller, but no such luck, and it was worse for those that had invested in a PS4 pro controller, as Sony blocked their use for PS5 games. A few years into the PS5 generation and the pro controller market is slowly recovering, and alongside Sony’s own DualSense Edge, there are also slightly pricier and more customisable options like the SCUF Reflex.
The base price of the SCUF Reflex is $199.99, which is the exact same price as the official DualSense Edge. You’re likely to end up spending more than that, though – buying a SCUF Reflex involves customising almost a dozen different parts of the controller, from faceplate designs to trigger and stick types, and each of these customisation options can run the price up with additional fees. You might pick a premium faceplate design, or change the color of other parts of the controller, or add a rubberized grip to the controllers handles, or even swap the DualSense triggers for instant triggers, so your final combo is likely to run you closer to $250-$300.
Ultimately, any “pro” controller is going to cost a lot more than a normal one, and that barrier to entry might be a huge dealbreaker for some. If you’re in this deep and ready to grab a premium controller, though, it’s hard not to be swayed by what all of these SCUF Reflex options give you.
The final controller I got has an incredibly similar form-factor to the official DualSense, because when you get down to the internal parts, it actually is one. Thanks to this unique approach of customising an official controller, it doesn’t feel like a bootleg third-party controller at all and has instantly familiar feel in the hand. It’s just got a bit more weight to it than the standard DualSense, likely due to the paddle-buttons on the back and the little bit of heft that the rubberised grips add.
I went for a gaudy, golden faceplate pattern that would make even Goro Majima bat his eye, and it looks beautiful in-person – these faceplates aren’t cheap sticker decals, but proper molded plastic with the colors and designs fully baked in.
Everything looks and feels premium, except for the front-bottom plastic that houses the Home button and sticks. This plastic section doesn’t fit flush to the controller because you’re meant to be able to easily detach the plastic so you can access and swap out the sticks. The SCUF comes with alternate stick types that are longer than average, as well as sticks with rounded, bulbous tops. I appreciate being able to easily swap them around and experiment to find what’s best for me, but making the plastic so easy to pop off resulted in it feeling just a bit too flimsy to the touch.
Thankfully, everything else on the controller feels perfect – hours and hours of play-time with the SCUF Reflex on anything from Fortnite to Street Fighter 6 has left me ready to make it my new primary controller. The sticks are responsive and still drift-free, the face buttons are perfect to the touch, and the triggers are just as sensitive and smooth as they are on the original controller. The back-paddle buttons are the real stars, though. You’ve got four extra buttons on the back of the controller that can act as any standard button on the controller – plus the ability to swap between three different customizable profiles for the paddles.
I set up profile 1 to give me easier access to some face-buttons I used a lot in Gundam Evolution, and profile 2 was my fighting-game profile to have easier access to heavy attacks and throws. The DualShock 4 button attachment took a lot of re-learning to hold and use comfortably, but the four paddles on the SCUF Reflex sit comfortably in the spot on the back of the controller where your middle fingers usually rest. Using them came naturally to me, and now that I’m used to them, I can’t imagine gaming without them.
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