Scuf Gaming announced the Vantage controller, developed in partnership with Sony for the PlayStation 4. The Vantage bears many functional similarities to Microsoft’s Elite controller for the Xbox One, which Scuf developed in 2015. Digital Trends recently spoke to Scuf CEO Duncan Ironmonger about the Vantage, and played a few rounds of Call of Duty: WWII to see it in action for ourselves.
“As a company, we’re about creating increased hand use,” Ironmonger told Digital Trends. “If you think about keyboard and mouse, it’s about maximum hand use and multiple functions; we’re trying to level that playing field, which is why so many people use [our controllers] in the competitive community.” Bringing a gamepad anywhere near the degree of control and customization that PC’s afford requires an immense amount of ergonomic and efficient design, and the Vantage iterates directly on Scuf’s work on the challenge since 2011.
The Vantage’s body is a little bulkier than a standard DualShock, somewhere between it and an Xbox controller. The grips felt very comfortable to hold, with a rubbery, textured surface similar to the Xbox Elite and an “aggressive angle” on the inside (which Ironmonger told us took 38 iterations) that makes it easy to hold with just your bottom two or three fingers. That frees your middle finger to use the four paddles on the back, one of Scuf’s signature features, which by default are mapped to the four face buttons. Although it requires a bit of retraining your hands, this allows efficiency-minded players (such as esports pros) to never take their thumbs off of the sticks.
Other returning Scuf features that we have seen before are adjustable triggers (for both depth and tension), swappable components, and the ability to re-map any and all functions. Where the Xbox Elite required an app to change configurations, however, the Vantage has a much simpler, more analog solution: Flip a switch on the bottom, and you can then remap any button by pressing it and then the new, desired input. The Vantage saves any changes you made, even when powered off, and a master switch under the removable faceplate can reset to default at any time.
One new feature in the Vantage is an audio touch bar for easy volume adjustment when using headphones without having to take your hand away from the controller. The rumble packs in each grip can also be easily removed for players that would prefer less weight over the immersive rumble.
Lastly, the Vantage also adds a new pair of “sax” buttons, to either side of the shoulder buttons. This degree of customization is great not just for power users, but also people with disabilities, or hands that otherwise don’t quite fit the mythical average. Ironmonger explained how it was their mission to “add not just more functionality, but more diversity to how the controller is used.” We’re happy to see accessibility being taken more seriously by the industry lately.
We only spent a few minutes actually playing with the Vantage, but it felt like a solid and responsive controller that more than lived up to our prior experience with Scuf’s work. The Vantage is available for pre-order now on Scuf’s website in both wired and wireless versions at $170 and $200, respectively. We’ll post a full review once we have spent more time with the Vantage when it becomes available after E3 in June.