Review: Power A's FUS1ON Tournament Controller is a decent fit for most hands
It seems that every controller manufacturer these days, save for first parties, are trying to make something accustomed to the "pro" gamers out there, since more and more people are getting competitive with the likes of Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Halo 4. Of course, we encourage people to try and get to the next level of gaming, without resorting to cheats, obviously. So it helps to have a good-feeling peripheral that gets you into the game. Power A's latest model, the FUS1ON Tournament Controller, has some of these qualities, yet also a few faults that make its high cost a little less ideal.
The FUS1ON has a lot in common with MadCatz's custom MLG controller that came out a few months ago. It comes in a deluxe carrying case – which is rather useless, since it's so bulky – and various interchangeable parts, including new grips, both soft touch and matte, as well as a mini screwdriver so that you can easily take them off and re-apply them. The grips are a great idea, as some people will prefer a softer hold to their controller over plastic, but the process of removing and reapplying is a pain compared to MadCatz' magnetic approach. It'll take you a minute or two to properly get them put on.
From there, we have the feel of the controller itself, which is very good. The Xbox 360 model comes with fine positioning on the two analog sticks, along with buttons that feel just right and triggers that actually don't wear out their welcome. A big problem with most third-party controllers is that they don't quite get the feel of triggers right – usually they're awkward. But here, Power A does a great job making them feel like part of the game, rather than pain-inducing standouts on your trigger fingers.
Still, not everything is one hundred percent with this controller. The D-pad feels rather useless (the case with most third party controllers), especially with fighting games, which barely register with your movements. That resorts you to using the analog pad, which can be a mess. When it comes to first-person shooters, however, it functions just about right, as you barely use the D-pad save for weapon selection anyway.
The analog sticks use a concave layout, where your thumb can rest comfortably atop them. Sometimes they're a little too big for their own good, but Power A probably meant to do that for maneuverability purposes, so it's forgiven somewhat. The way they feel works fine for the most part, again depending on what type of game you're playing in the first place.
The controller comes with a 9.8 foot power cord (sorry, it's not wireless – very few Xbox 360 controllers are), so performance is no problem when it comes to lag, as there isn't really any. And the controller does have a cool LED light-up feature, where you can cycle through various colors so you can see where everything's laid out. This is more of a tech show-off feature, at best, but it is rather cool, especially if you're in the mood to play games at night, without those pesky house lights getting in the way.
At $79.99, the Power A FUS1ON controller is a bit of a tough sell, but is relatively cheaper than MadCatz' model. There are some great features and performance aspects, but also some setbacks that doesn't quite make it the ultimate in third party peripherals. Still, if you're seeking a power performer mainly for racing games and first-person shooters, this'll get you in the game fairly enough. But, still, who would use that case…?