Nuby Tech Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Controller Review
While it's a great piece of swag for a Resident Evil enthusiast, Nuby Tech's Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Controller doesn't quite pass muster as a proper controller.
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Nuby Tech's recently released Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Controller for the GameCube is a uniquely designed peripheral modeled after the weapon of choice of one of the enemies you'll face in Capcom's survival horror masterpiece. The chainsaw-shaped controller was made to complement the acclaimed game and aims to offer all the functionality of a standard GameCube controller in a detailed, blood-splattered package. Although the stylish controller succeeds in capturing the look of a blood-splattered chainsaw, an awkward layout for the various inputs leaves it wanting as a peripheral. You won't find a better-looking controller out there for the GameCube, but you can certainly find one with better handling.
The seven buttons, two sticks, D pad, and start button found on a standard GameCube controller have basically been mapped lengthwise on the chainsaw controller. The D pad, analog stick, C stick, four primary buttons, and start button are placed on the face of the controller. The left shoulder button is mapped on the front handle of the controller, while the Z button and right shoulder button are across from each other on the left handle. The resulting layout makes for an awkward experience that will require you to shift your grip on the controller while you play, as all the buttons aren't easily accessible no matter how you hold it. For those unfamiliar with RE4's unique brand of deadly "murderous mobs rushing at you" action, trust us when we say that the last thing you want to do in the midst of being swarmed by weapon-wielding foes is pause to adjust your grip so you can access a button.
The layout also requires a bit of mental adjustment, because the C stick's orientation has been shifted. For instance, rather than pushing up or down to zoom when using binoculars in the game, you'll have to push left and right. The cumbersome nature of the layout also contradicts Nuby's claims that the controller "improves game play in certain tight situations when you have to respond quickly to survive."
An early product announcement press release stated that the controller would have a built-in "sound chip." We dutifully sacrificed ourselves to chainsaw wielding zombies several times for the sake of science, but we couldn't get the unit to roar to life. Nuby Tech confirmed to us that the shipping unit does not have the sound chip and explained, "we decided to remove the sound chip at the last minute, since it might have interfered with the actual sounds in the game, which signify the enemy near by." To its credit, the controller still includes rumble functionality and is responsive on the whole. That said, it's doubtful you'd want to use it as an alternative to the standard GameCube pad for other games. We tried it with several other games to see how it would handle, and while it certainly got the job done, the awkward feel made it more trouble than it was worth.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Controller is one of the best-looking game peripherals we've seen in years. The unique design is packed with bloody detail, including unique blood splatters that Nuby says will ensure that no two controllers look exactly alike. Better still, the peripheral comes with a faux-rock display stand that will hold it and a GameCube memory card. The detachable cord for the unit can be removed and stored in the base of the stand when not in use, which is a nice touch. Even the box the controller comes in is nicely done and primed for display purposes.
All told, Nuby Tech's Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Controller is a unique peripheral that succeeds more as a showpiece than an actual controller. The peripheral's look is complemented by impressive packaging and a handy display that's tailor-made for being shown off. When it comes to its performance as a controller, the unit falls short of matching the functionality and comfort of the standard GameCube controller or the Cube's Wavebird controller. If you're looking for a wicked piece of memorabilia to show off to friends, you should definitely pick this up. However, if you're looking for a comfortable controller, you should just stick to the standard GameCube pad or pick up a Wavebird.