Most people buy a console and stick with the controller that comes in the box, maybe replacing it over the years if it gets worn out (or smashed on the floor - you know how it goes), or adding a second for local multiplayer. There are, however, a number of third-party options that cover all types of eventualities, from the cheap wired options that you might give to your kids to destroy, to the tournament grade controllers that only a handful of companies manufacture. Scuf is one of those companies, and the Impact is one of their controllers.
The Scuf Impact feels quality right out the box, as the company offers a fullsome customisation service for those looking for a controller with a personal touch, but we played on the standard white model pictured below. The textured grips (front and back, with different surfaces), the lightness of the analog sticks, and the crisp click click click offered by the four paddles on the back of the controller - these features all combine to create a positive first impression for Scuf's tournament-grade pro controller, and it's an impression that doesn't go away.
Scuf sent the Impact over as we're pulling together a comprehensive guide to the best PC controllers (so stay tuned for that), and while we'll be including it in that article, it's a PlayStation 4 controller first and foremost, complete with the same touchpad that we see on all DualShock 4s. For all intents and purposes, it works flawlessly as a PS4 controller as soon as you've synced it to your console.
The Impact does have a more fulsome body than your typical DS4, having the extra width there to accommodate the paddles at the back, but otherwise PS4 players will feel instantly at home (you'll have to be to a certain extent, as the face buttons don't have the typical Triangle, Square, Circle, and Cross buttons that we all know so well; you'll need to know your way around the buttons so it's probably not suitable for a newcomer to the platform). The angle of the grips actually gives it a feel not dissimilar to that of the old Xbox 360 controller, especially if you remove the four paddles at the back.
Each one of the paddles is mapped to one of the face buttons of the controller, which allows for the slightest improvement to reaction times when compared to the movements of players shifting their right thumb from the stick to a face button so they can jump, for example. It's a subtle boost but when you're talking about players operating at the top of the game, milliseconds matter.
If you're eager to reprogramme your muscle memory and relearn those instinctive movements in order to tighten up your play, you'll certainly notice the difference. In the past players have had to experiment and learn different button layouts to improve their performance, but with the Impact you can simply shift certain actions to the more accessible paddles. That said, if you're a cack-handed old man like yours truly and you're too set in your ways, you can remove the paddles at the back quite easily, so there's always that option.
One really neat feature is that you can re-map most buttons on the controller to a paddle of your choice (the only ones you can't are the triggers; you'll have to do that in-game if you want a workaround). Still, it's an easy system whereby you rest a magnetic EMR tool on the back of the controller and then press and hold the paddle, followed by the button you want to mimic. Considering how you can remap on the fly, mid-game even, it's impressively effortless.
You can tinker with other aspects of the Impact, including the hair triggers and even the thumbsticks themselves, which all in all makes this a very adaptable controller. More importantly, it's very comfortable to hold, and it's clearly built to very exacting standards, where premium materials blend with smart design ideas. Perhaps our favourite detail is the tiny but still satisfying click of the sticks as they centre, although that level of attention to detail is evident across the entirety of its design.
It's a great option for capable PS4 players looking to up their game, and PC players can take advantage of cross-platform compatibility too, although it's worth noting that we had issues with a couple of games played through the Xbox app (exclusives like Forza failed to register it). Still, apart from that one extremely minor blemish, the Scuf Impact is a damn fine controller. It's not cheap (the basic model will set you back more than £100) and it's built for demanding players who want to get the most out of their equipment, but it's well worth considering if you're looking for an upgrade on the standard DS4, even if you're not a pro.