Elite Interactive uses the saying “built for gamers by gamers” statement when they talk about their new Katana controller for PlayStation 2. We have heard those words before but do we believe them? Elite Interactive is made up of people that have worked in the video game industry at other companies and they say they are gamers, but do they know how to make a PlayStation 2 controller?
The first thing you will notice when you look at the Katana controller for PlayStation 2 is its dark blue matte finish. This stylish finish is created by applying the Satin Skin coating, provided by SprayTeks. The coating makes the controller easy to grip and gives you more control when your hands start slipping during those fast passed rounds of your favorite fighting game. Another thing that helps you hold the controller better is the longer handles on the Katana. These are really nice to me since the Sony Dual Shock 2 controller’s handles are a little too short for my taste. The Katana’s handles feel just right and give you a lot more stable grip.
Elite Interactive’s Katana controller also has a 10 foot cord that is long enough to allow me to easily sit on the couch without having to use my extension cable like I have to with the standard PS2 controller. The rumble feature provided by Immersion is just as good and is stronger than the Sony Dual Shock 2 in some games.
Speaking of games, I tried the Katana with the following games during this test: ESPN NFL Football, Final Fantasy XI Beta, NBA JAM, Rez, SOCOM II Beta, and Tekken 4. The Katana controller performed well with all of these games but there were a few minor problems/issues I found.
The analog sticks on the controller seem too loose to me and also stuck sometimes or came back to center really slow when I first started using it. They seemed like they didn’t have enough tension on the springs but maybe that is because I am used to the Dual Shock 2. I am guessing that if they had more tension they would feel a lot better and avoid the sticking problem all together. The sticks seemed to quit sticking after a few hours of play, so maybe they just needed broken in.
Next up is the D-pad. It also felt looser than the Dual Shock 2 and not as sturdy but performed well even though it clicked every-so-often for some reason. The Katana doesn’t have the directional pad underneath plastic areas like the standard PS2 controller and it makes it feel quicker but also looser, if that makes sense.
The macro function of the controller that allows you to reprogram the L2, R2, L3, and R3 buttons to perform up to 15 sequences works well. It allowed me to program some complicated moves in Tekken 4 without a glitch and worked as advertised. But, it would have been nice if they sent the instructions for how to set the macro function in the controller’s package. I had to go to the web site and print out the instructions, which wasn’t a problem but it was inconvenient.
The other buttons on the controller are placed in comfortable positions but they seem to travel up and down farther than the Dual Shock 2 buttons and some of them stuck for a second and popped up sometimes during intense fighting game action. The X, O, triangle, and square buttons also seem squishy and not as responsive but maybe that was because of the further distance they had to travel. The buttons weren’t bad but I didn’t feel as much in control with them as I do with my trusty Dual Shock 2.
The Katana also comes with a laser-red LED located at the end of the cord to let you know that it is plugged in correctly and because it looks cool according to Elite Interactive. It was nice to know the controller was plugged in properly but the controller would be just as good without the red glow.
It is hard to compete with Sony’s Dual Shock 2 but the gamers at Elite Interactive have made a decent alternative. The Katana controller has some great features, like the Satin Skin, 10 foot cord, macro functionality, longer handles, and ergonomic design. If they could fix the spring tension on the analog sticks and the squishy feeling buttons then it could easily match or surpass the Dual Shock 2. The Katana is only available for order online at Elite Interactive’s web site at the moment but does come with a 14-day money back guarantee and free shipping. So, if you are looking for a new PS2 controller or a Dual Shock 2 alternative the Katana controller from Elite Interactive is worth checking out.
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