KontrolFreek Call of Duty Black Ops 4 for Xbox One – Accessory Review
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Developer: KontrolFreek
Publisher: KontrolFreek
Platform: Xbox One

KontrolFreek Call of Duty Black Ops 4 for Xbox One – Accessory Review

Good: increases comfort, great for most type of games, concave design
Bad: tight fit, high-rise extender can be difficult for smaller hands, subpar design
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9.0
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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Thumb grips have become quite popular over the past few years, with more and more generic brands coming out of the woodwork. KontrolFreek is anything but a generic brand, and their thumb sticks come in many shapes and designs; perfect for all types of gamers. The last of their thumb sticks we received was the Call of Duty: WWII design, this time we’re looking at the brand-new Call of Duty Black Ops 4 stick extenders.

The Call of Duty Black Ops 4 performance thumb sticks have been designed in collaboration with Treyarch Studios, the developers behind the fifteenth main installment in the series. Surprisingly, the design on these thumb grips looks subpar when comparing it to the previous batch of Call of Duty thumb sticks, simply because the design isn’t an ode to a class like the Call of Duty: WWII thumb grips were, nor do they feature a subtle iconic hint to an era as the Call of Duty Heritage Edition did. Instead, the performance thumbtacks highlight the numeral logo IIII in the signature black and orange color scheme.

The insignia design is quite bold in thickness but there’s quite some depth missing for the sticks to have excellent friction. The fact that the design is slightly concaved and there are no outer edges makes it even easier to slide with your fingers, something that might be an unwanted factor.

The pack comes with not one but two high-rise sticks, raising the height of your analog stick with 11.8 mm. This makes the sticks smaller than the Call of Duty: WWII sticks which were 0.4 mm higher. Although they are certainly not the highest, they are also not the lowest high-rise sticks KontrolFreek has to offer, so we’d say they’re medium high-rise. This can still prove to be a problem with smaller hands such as myself.

Thanks to the concave surface, the height isn’t increased even more, and your thumbs can “lay” inside the surface which should cause less slippage. We did mention before that there are no outer edges, which means that you’ll have to play “on top” of the stick to prevent slipping. At first glance the design doesn’t seem to provide much friction but once you change the stand of your hands, it works quite well. As any other thumb stick, it takes time to get used to.

For the first time, installing these thumb grips was not a joke. Unlike any other sticks we tested, the Call of Duty Black Ops 4 performance sticks proved to be a challenge, and after struggling for a bit, a loud click could be heard. This is certainly not something we’re used to, and we started to feel slightly worried whether this would prolong the lifetime of our analog sticks. To be certain, we removed the sticks one day after installing them and noticed there were three visible dents in our analog stick. Some indentation after months of usage is normal, but we feel that this was formed way too fast. At the same time, we noticed that removing these sticks wasn’t a walk in the park either. Once installed, these sticks are not going anywhere, and they certainly won’t twirl around.

The Call of Duty Black Ops 4 performance sticks are designed to work well in first-person shooters such as Call of Duty, Battlefield and The Division but the sticks also work well in more adventurous first-person games such as Far Cry 5 and Uncharted 4.

Conclusion

There is always a first time for everything, and this time we’re not overly excited about these thumb grips.  The iconic insignia design feels too simple and whilst we loved the homage the previous Call of Duty sticks featured, it is a good way to start a hype for yet another Call of Duty installment. We must admit that the bright orange is truly beautiful though and fits any controller color. As for the hybrid, laser-etched surface, once you get used to the feel, they do provide a good enough grip, but I personally would’ve liked a formed edge. The tight fit around the analog stick isn’t preferable but with some wear and tear, it loosens up slightly. These are good performance sticks but if you are after a finishing touch, you might want to check the other designs as there are plenty of great ones.

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KontrolFreek Call of Duty Black Ops 4 for Xbox One – Accessory Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Drydwen
Drydwen


Hi! I'm Jess and I’m a writer, dreamer and gamer at heart since the early ages. I primarily game on PC but occasionally also on PS4 and Xbox One. I have a tiny obsession for World of Warcraft and caterpillars but you may also claim I have a devoted passion for the gaming industry in general. If you want to hit me up, find me on twitter!

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