While the recent Nacon Revolution Unlimited (opens in new tab) was a superb entry into the competitive controller market, Nacon’s newest release is an evolution of its more budget range. The Revolution Pro Controller 3, naturally, is the successor to the Pro Controller 2; an asymmetric design that resembles the Xbox 360 pad from last generation, but caters to the PS4 audience. With such a strange heritage, the question that lingers is an obvious one: who is the Nacon Revolution Pro Controller 3 really for? PS4 players who loved the 360 controller, Xbox players forced onto PS4, or another group entirely? At the €99 price point, it's much dearer than a standard controller, but is it worth it?
First impressions are strong; lifting the lid of the box reveals a sturdy zip case, with room for the controller, cable, and weights inside - more on that later. This is everything you need to get going, because compared to something like the Thrustmaster eSwap Pro Controller (opens in new tab), there’s much less physical customisation available here. You just need to plug it in and play.
The asymmetric design will be a welcome return for anyone fond of Microsoft’s traditional analog stick placement and, aesthetically, it looks slick as the right-side stick base lights up depending on what mode you’ve got the controller set to. Nacon has followed Microsoft’s lead for the d-pad too, opting for one cohesive unit rather than four separate directional buttons. The four face buttons are big, chunky and significantly raised compared to the controller mold, and the touch pad is contained instead of looping off the top like on a DualShock 4.
As is the case with most controllers built for competitive play, this one features four extra buttons you can hit with your fingers towards the rear of the controller. Rather than being found right on the back, you can press them with your middle and/or ring fingers on the inside of the part you hold. Thankfully, the Pro Controller 3 also foregoes the standard micro-USB connection found on the DS4 in favour of USB-C, with a much deeper socket to help it stay attached.
On the back, you’ll also find the 'mode' button, which can switch between three options. The first one is the basic PS4 mode, which supports all of the functions the controller provides out of the box, including the shortcut buttons which can easily be remapped via the adjacent 'profile' button. However, when you download the associated PC software that allows you to alter all manner of settings such as the sensitivity of both the sticks and the triggers, you can properly utilise both the other options: PS4 Advanced and PC modes.
The Nacon Revolution Pro Controller 3 has a lot of promising features on paper, but does it actually perform? Unfortunately, the short answer is no, and it’s thanks to myriad small issues that simply make the pad a subpar device.
Kicking things off is the analog sticks; while you can adjust the sensitivity via the downloadable software, there’s almost no physical resistance to them. They feel much lighter than any other controller I’ve used, and trying to keep my shots on target in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (opens in new tab) was a nightmare. I switched back to a standard DualShock 4 and, straight away, my game improved compared to how many shots I was fluffing with the Nacon.
Check out the best PC controllers for gaming (opens in new tab)
With the shortcut buttons on the inside of the grips, they are far too light to the touch and easy to accidentally press. This placement seems nonsensical when placing buttons or paddles on the reverse is such a common practice, because during any tense situation when you accidentally grip the controller too hard. This means you’ll be accidentally pushing the buttons and there’s no way to avoid it except for holding the controller in a claw fashion.
When it comes to the online software, it is incredibly convoluted to use; the buttons are enormous and the program as a whole looks very poorly designed. Creating a new profile and altering the values of things like the triggers and sticks is easy to do, but there’s no feedback as to what that actually means. I’d recommend sticking to the preset profiles like FPS and Arcade, because while you could spend the time learning the software, the other aspects of the controller detract so much from the experience, you’d be much better off picking up a different device entirely.
One of the few upsides of the controller are the triggers: they’re weighty and it truly feels like you’re pulling the trigger of a gun or stepping on the accelerator pedal. It’s a shame that the huge buttons and cheap d-pad don’t follow the same artful design, and that the adjacent bumpers have too much leeway before registering a press.
In the current market, there are plenty of controllers that offer more customisation options and tweaks, and feel much better in your hands than the Nacon Revolution Pro Controller 3. Despite the high price, this controller feels like the cheap player-two pad you’d be given at your mate’s house when playing FIFA 2002 on the PlayStation 2 than a true 'pro' controller. Some may get accustomed to the controller over a period of time, but nothing here demonstrates you should choose it over multiple other options from companies like Scuf and Thrustmaster, or even Nacon’s own Revolution Unlimited. Avoid this one, and get PS4 controller cheap (opens in new tab) instead.