Video Review: Splitfish FragFx Shark
Year in and year out Splitfish releases new a model of their popular FragFx line of controllers that all aim to emulate 1:1 mouse movement on the PS3. That latest version is called the Shark, which is an easy sell for hardened PC gamers able to ante up on the $90 price tag. The Shark is Frag’n great.
Right out of the box, the Shark is plug n’ play ready provided via a USB dongle that talks wirelessly to the FragFx – which reads your mouse movements at 1,750 DPI – and FragChuck that both talk to a 2.4 GHz wireless processor. Operation of the mouse is as smooth as any other high end PC laser mouse, and with the flick of switch on the USB dongle you can switch it right back to play games on the PS3. The FragChuck and FragFx both run on single AA batteries that will last past the 50 plus hours as advertised, and I’ve tried and tested it. The mouse will blink slowly to indicate diminishing battery life. The batteries themselves also add a nice weight and anchors your hand nicely so that it that your aim isn’t fidgety.
The latest iteration is modeled under professional Call of Duty player Dennis Dozier who provides direct feedback to the designers on feel and a pro gamer’s needs. The shape is great for strictly on the pad play, but for players used to picking up their mouse in order to quickly turn around like me, I’ve found that there wasn’t really any safe way to grip the mouse without risk of pressing down square, circle, triangle, or x. After a few weeks I had to adapt my grip so that I could hinge my thumb on the grooves of square and triangle which is working really well so far.
Button placement is very ergonomic except for the start button on the FragFx mouse. Its position is in a real danger zone while your middle finger rests on top of it while quickly using the scroll wheel. I felt this was missed opportunity to simply place the start button on the FragChuck to the right of select. On the other hand, the FragChuck’s analog stick was the best I’ve ever felt hands down. There was very little wiggle in neutral position which anyone can see on almost all other analog sticks that have “give” to them, but not this stick. The Shark definitely suits high level play where cutting corners and popping snap shots out every few inches of a time count, but it’s great for casual online play also.
The Shark no longer requires firmware adjustments since it includes a dead zone wheel that is fully adjustable on fly, and the same macro functions present in most models of the FragFx line. Every button is programmable only the fly using the Frag button together with either ‘Stick Swap,’ ‘Button Remapping,’ ‘Macro,’ and ‘Rapid Fire’ on the four directions of the directional pad. It may seem confusing at first but once you’re familiar with the commands they become second nature. All of the other commands are well documented for newbies on Splitfish’s FAQ section.
I’ve tested the Shark on several games including Resistance 2, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Killzone 2, Socom: Confrontation, Borderlands, Bioshock, Uncharted 2, MAG, Blacklight Tango Down, Metal Gear Online, Red Dead Redemption, Dead Space, and Call of Duty: Black Ops the main consensus being that the FragFx performed like a mouse best in every Call of Duty game, Killzone 2, and Borderlands. Every other game due to the engine, forced your crosshairs to follow strict Northern, Eastern, Western, and Southern movements as if the game was forcing me to draw an imaginary staircase when making diagonal movements. This has nothing to do with the hardware of the FragFx as told by Splitfish, but is a case with the different engines each of the different games are on. The games I mentioned are just ones that seemed to work best being Killzone 2 and the Call of Duty games.
After years of playing Counter-Strike on PC and moving on to console, I’ve sworn that if I could ever use a mouse and keyboard in a fps I’d dominate. Since there really isn’t any other company offering this kind of product other than cheap knock offs, I’d have to seriously recommend this package to any PC gamer remotely interested in playing first person shooters on the PS3 like Call of Duty: Black Ops and Killzone 3 (after dropping its weighty controls).
Disclaimer: The Splitfish FragFx we reviewed was constructed of prototype plastic, not the finished plastic which is a matte finish. A Shark prototype unit was supplied to the editor for review purposes.