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Review: Mad Catz MLG Pro Circuit Controller

by Steven Williamson on 21 February 2012, 09:04 4.0

Tags: Mad Catz (NYSEAMEX:MCZ)

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A controller with attitude

The Mad Catz MLG Pro Circuit controller is a serious peripheral for professional gamers. Arriving in a large box that’s almost the same size as the Xbox 360 console, the gamepad is stamped with the official seal of approval from North America's professional e-sports organisation; Major League Gaming (MLG).

Consequently, we’d advise you not to turn up to a competition or LAN event with this expensive piece of kit in its wash-bag-style carry case without the skills to back it up, otherwise - like a Halo “noob” who’s spent all game being “tea-bagged” by experts - you’ll be laughed out of the building.

Aimed at professional gamers, and show-offs, the Pro Circuit controller places emphasis on style, performance and customisation and comes packed with a whole host of extras, including faceplates, grips, analogue sticks, a d-pad and a set of weights, hence the eyebrow-raising price of £89.99.

Dig a nail slightly underneath the glossy-black faceplate, just above where the headphone slot is located on the base of the controller, and it snaps cleanly off and can be replaced with a matte black version, both of which have the MLG logo front and centre.

The same applies to the two glossy-black palm grip panels on the left and right hand side of the controller. They snap off with little force and can also be replaced by matte panels, or you can mix and match, though it looks a little odd with one gloss and one matte section. The glossy faceplate is eye-catching and gives the controller a reassuringly-expensive look, which makes the matte-black faceplate a redundant extra that will probably never see the light of day.

However, the main idea here is that players can change the look of their controller totally with a wide range of different faceplates and grips which Mad Catz will launch shortly. And, it shouldn’t be too hard for professional clans to get the individual parts donned out in their own clan colours or logos.

To further customise the controller, players can replace the analogue sticks, choosing between the concave, dimpled, original Xbox 360 controller-style, or the more rounded PS3-like sticks. In total there are four analogue sticks that come in the pack, two Xbox 360-style and two PS3-style ones. Once again, players can mix and match.

The same applies to the multi-directional d-pad. Players can choose between the Xbox 360 cross-style pad, or the button-style PS3 d-pad. The ability to change the location of the d-pad and one of the analogue sticks also gives players some flexibility to adapt to their play-styles and preferences on a game-by-game basis.

The usual set-up on an Xbox 360 controller has one analogue stick situated on the upper left, a d-pad situated below it, slightly to the right, and an analogue stick directly across from it to the immediate right. On the Pro Circuit controller, players can switch over the d-pad with the top left analogue stick to change the layout which then places the two analogue sticks across from each other at the bottom of the pad. This might come in handy when playing a game where you don’t have to use the d-pad and perhaps need to rely on heavy use of the twin sticks.