In an increasingly competitive market, the once unchallenged standard Xbox 360 controller now has a number of rivals; some good and some not so good. Madcatz have created third party peripherals for console for as long as I can remember but more often than not though, their offerings fell short of the mark and were always worth avoiding. On the Xbox 360 they've even had a go at a controller that rivals the Onza or SCUF, the F.P.S Pro Controller, featuring re-mappable back buttons. Unfortunately the buttons are in the wrong place and require too much adjustment for the pad to be popular. When Madcatz announced that they were partnering with MLG, they were immediately on to a winner. It's not like Madcatz haven't created good products either. Their fight sticks for beat-em ups are particularly good and are popular world wide. It just so happens that their controllers have yet to hit our audience. Working closely with the true pioneers of competitive console gaming and the largest body in the world is a huge statement to make. It gave Madcatz access to some of the most talented gamers on the planet so what did they come up with? One thing that is worth noting is straight away, the controller does not work on both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. I don't know how I had been lead to believe this was the case and when you think about it, Madcatz could probably never get away with doing that anyway. The pad is identical for both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, except for the button pictures. The guide button itself is now much smaller than the Xbox 360 controller and is placed out of harms way, so to speak, unlike the regular PS3 and Xbox 360 controller where it is central to the controller because of its branding. The box and presentation are second to none and it felt like a decent product getting it out. The buttons themselves no doubt feel like an upgrade on the regular Xbox 360 controller. The Back and Start buttons particularly feel far more durable and I like that when you click them it makes a noise, you know it's definitely registered. The thumb sticks come in two options, concave in the Xbox 360 style and domed in the Playstation 3 style. You can of course change the location of the thumb sticks and D-Pad so it's more like the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 standard controller. I personally prefer the domed style thumb sticks of Sony's console so immediately swapped to those for my Xbox 360 Modern Warfare 3 segment of the testing. A new, and somewhat strange feature of the controller is the ability to add and remove weight, something more commonly seen on mice used by PC gamers. I personally like my controller extremely light, so much so that I removed my vibration pads from my original controller. The Madcatz controller gives you the ability to increase or decrease the weight of the controller. Good in theory. The reality is though that the controller is already probably too heavy for my personal preference. With the added weight it becomes much heavier than I like to use. Needless to say I'm using the weight free option. Ideally though it would be easier to remove the vibration pads so I could make it even lighter. The thumb sticks themselves are very smooth. While I've not read about Slow Turn guarantees, I would be surprised to read that this controller did suffer from Slow Turn in any form. Despite being able to swap them out, they're extremely responsive which is good to see. Changing the Thumb Sticks, D-Pad and weight is only the start of what makes this controller customisable. The face plates can also be changed. Perfect for a gamer wanting to create their own brand or conform to a team identity. Changing the face plates is extremely easy, while changing the thumb sticks and D-Pad takes a bit of getting used to, once you've nailed it though you can swap them out very quickly. There are two faceplate options out of the box, a smooth texture and a more matted texture. Straight away I felt like the matted texture offered more grip, so opted for that as my first choice set up. The cable is also different from your standard controller. You can attach and detach the extra long, thick braided cable for help with transport. The cable is no doubt more durable than your standard cable and I imagine hard to damage. Very handy for those trips to events and a clear sign they talked to the pro's used to travelling around. The shape of the controller didn't feel right immediately. It has a very similar look to the regular Xbox 360 pad but only slightly more square. At first it felt like my index fingers were having to stretch slightly further to reach the triggers but it only took a couple of minutes to get used to. Once I'd played a few rounds, the controller actually felt extremely comfortable. Everything seemed like it was coming together well. One question remained though, what was so 'Pro' about the Pro Circuit controller? Of course the controller is more portable than your regular controller and is coupled with a handsome looking MLG branded controller bag; a nice addition. The option to customise your pad is also a great feature and no doubt gives each gamer the ability (eventually) to be unique to themselves and as they improve as a player, have their products represent them how they want to be represented. In terms of performance though, the controller's features do not increase performance or improve much on the regular controller for Xbox 360. While the buttons might be of slightly better build, the difference in game is almost negligible. The location of the guide buttons is worth some praise though. I think where this controller comes into its own is when you're playing on a console that you don't play as much; whether you're an Xbox 360 player playing on a PS3 or a PS3 player playing on the Xbox 360. For PS3 players playing on the 360, there will still be quite a lot of adjusting to do. The shape of the controller is far more similar to the Xbox 360 pad than it is the PS3 pad and the triggers especially are very different to what you'll be used to. Still, the ability to change the thumb stick locations will no doubt ease the transition from one platform to the other and hopefully offer you the chance to get the best of both pads. For an Xbox 360 user playing on a PS3 with a Pro Circuit PS3 Controller, the difference is more significant. I had previously acquired an Xbox 360 shape controller for the Playstation 3 but the overall feel of it was still inferior to the regular Playstation 3 pad. With the Madcatz pad I now essentially have an Xbox 360 pad for the Playstation 3; an ideal combination. This means I can switch between the two consoles with much greater ease. While I like the Playstation 3 pad, I have spent much more time playing with the thumb stick locations of the Xbox 360,and therefore would always opt for that controller out of the two. So overall what do I think to the controller? Well, as a player changing platform, I think this is a great product. A must buy in fact. While some may be put off by the slightly higher price point, I think people who are passionate about their gaming will take the plunge. It's still not that expensive considering the amount of time you'll get out of the product. For players looking for an upgraded controller for their favourite platform, I think the Madcatz controller could make a case for a purchase, but ultimately I think there are controllers out there better suited to top players. Scores Design - 9/10 - Looks wise, this is arguably the best controller on the market. The ability to customise your controller is perfect for the current market, and no doubt this will appease a lot of gamers world wide. Functionality - 6/10 - Unfortunately the customisation is the best aspect of the controller. The ability to change the location of the thumb sticks is novel, but will be somewhat useless to the majority of customers. The few small tweaks have improved general performance, but the level of improvement is minimal. Value - 3/10 - At a RRP of £90, this controller is extremely expensive for what you get. The few improvements made to the controller barely warrant the £70 price difference between the pad and the Xbox 360 original. The ability to brand your own controller will be a great feature, but isn't even available yet. Overall - 6/10 - The huge price point makes this controller lose serious marks. An improvement on the standard Xbox 360 controller, but for £70 more, you really need to see £70 worth of improvement and I really don't think this controller delivers that unfortunately. For players switching from the Playstation 3, this controller will no doubt ease the transition and hardcore Sony fans might prefer the customisable stick layouts. Otherwise, you'll have to be fairly wealthy to be willing to part with so much money for what is essentially Xbox 360 controller 1.5. Please follow us on Twitter for the latest news, articles and media!