It is sometimes hard to imagine gaming without force feedback. It seems like Force Feedback has become a necessity in every game and every controller. Force feedback adds an extra dimension of reality to the game which allows the player to feel like they are taking part in an actual air or ground combat. With so much to gain, and constantly dropping prices, there is no reason an avid gamer should be without a force feedback controller to go with their games. This is where the Saitek Cyborg 3D Force Stick comes in, it has lots of features and a inexpensive price too.
- 4 Thumb Buttons
- 4 Base Buttons
- 8 Programmable Fire buttons
- Rapid-Response Trigger
- 8-way POV Hat Switch
- 3D Rudder Twist Handle
- Lever Throttle
- TouchSense™ Technology
- Smart Technology
Ease of use
Attaching the Saitek Cyborg joystick to your computer is really easy. First, you must install the drivers. During the install process it will ask you to plug in the Joystick. If you don’t follow these steps in the correct order it may cause the force effects, or the joystick, not to work correctly.
Once the joystick is installed you can go to the control panel and access a set of tools that will let you test the Joystick’s throttle, rudder, steering and force effects.
This Saitek Cyborg 3D Force joystick is designed exactly like its brother, the Saitek Cyborg Rumble joystick, which we did a review of earlier this month. We will go over the design again for those that haven’t read our other review.
The Force stick itself has one trigger, four buttons, and an eight-way POV hat. The four buttons are a little loose and jiggle a little when in use. The trigger has a nice rubber coating on it and makes it so in the heat of battle, with your sweaty fingers, you don’t accidentally slip and miss your target.
About two-thirds the way down the Force stick, there is a platform for resting your hand. Unlike more expensive Saitek joysticks, this is not adjustable. This is not a problem for people with large hands. My hand rarely touched the platform. When I was using the joystick my hand was usually about half an inch above the platform.
The base itself has four buttons, two on either side of the center. You can program all of these buttons, which adds a lot more options while playing. On the front of the joystick, where you would normally want to see a couple more buttons, is a plastic Saitek badge with a glowing blue light behind it, which serves no purpose except to entertain the little children that my be watching you play.
Saitek has a knack for producing well designed joysticks. Not only are they comfortable, but a lot of them are also ambidextrous, meaning they can be used by right or left handed people. There is a downfall to this ambidextrous design, and that is the loss of two buttons. For a right handed person the two buttons on the right will be useless because the right hand will be on the stick, the same goes for a left handed person and the two buttons on the left. Even though you loose two buttons we didn’t find this to be an extremely negative feature.
The design of this joystick is definitely its best feature. This joystick does have a fairly large footprint, because of the motor and other components inside, but I didn’t find that it got in the way. Despite its large size it is fairly light and can be lifted and moved with ease. Also, there are several rubber feet on the bottom that do a good job preventing the joystick from slipping.
The force effects really do a good job of adding a sense of realism to games. When the force stick takes off it really gives you a shake, so you will hear some noise. It is best not to use the force feedback if you have little children sleeping in the next room. Mainly the noise comes from the buttons on the stick as they shake and jiggle around a little. They don’t depress, so you don’t have to worry about them accidentally triggering events in your game. The noise isn’t really that bad, most of the time you don’t hear it because it is covered up by the music and noise from the game. There is also a nifty LED light in the handle around the HAT switch that lights up when the force feedback is active, it gets brighter as the forces get stronger. Not that you need a visual confirmation about force feedback because you will get plenty of physical confirmation as you feel the stick and the forces.
I downloaded several flight simulator demos and tried playing around with them. The force effects were more prevalent in some games but all around those that used forces did a good job. The games that supported remapping the joystick buttons also scored high since you really don’t want to fight with a joystick and keyboard while in the heat of battle. Beyond the force effects, the stick performed as good as any other that I have used. The throttle, besides being a little stiff, responded to all my pushes and pulls. All the buttons responded quickly and there was a nice solid click when the buttons were pressed, letting me know I pressed hard enough.
The software that comes with the Saitek Cyborg joystick provides several tools that can be used to adjust the center of the stick, make sure the throttle and rudder are calibrated and adjust the forces intensity, and that’s just in simple mode. If you opt for the more advanced mode you can do all that plus download and import maps for the buttons or create your own maps for your favorite games. So for those games that don’t let you remap the buttons you can use the hardware to get the games to behave. The possibilities are endless and exciting.
Even though this stick isn’t as inexpensive as the Rumble stick, it is still not as expensive as other force feedback sticks. If you can afford the full force feedback version, then go for it, otherwise you may want to look at the rumble stick. It is practically the same stick, just without all the force effects. I know you won’t be sorry.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|