SplitFish FragFX Shark Tries To Bring A Little Bit Of PC To The PS3

The first-person shooter was born to be played on a PC, with a mouse and keyboard. Then along came consoles, and things had to change. The SplitFish FragFX Shark is trying to change things back.

Specs Price: $US89.99 Platform: PS3 / PC / Mac What's in the box: Mouse, Nunchuk, USB adaptor, Mouse Pad

Designed for the PS3 (but also compatible with the PC and Mac), the Shark is a great idea for a tiny, dedicated niche of PlayStation 3 owners who do nothing but play first-person shooters all day. For everyone else, it's more trouble than it's worth.

The Basics

For a few years now, SplitFish has been trying to bring the accuracy of a mouse to PlayStation 3 gaming with its FragFX controller setups, and the Shark is the latest in this line. It consists of two controllers: a mouse and a "nunchuk", similar to that you'd find for the Wii or PlayStation Move (it's even got its own gyroscope for motion control, just like the DUalShock 3). There's also a small USB dongle that you insert in the PS3 (or PC/Mac, if you're short a mouse) so that the devices can communicate.

Using It

The Shark is a cinch to use on your PS3. You plug in the USB dongle, turn on both controllers and you're off. The "nunchuk" is essentially the left half of a regular DualShock, with an analogue stick (which handles player movement) and trigger buttons, while the movement of the mouse takes up the role of the right thumbstick (which is how you look around and aim). The mouse buttons replace a DualShock's triggers, while the PlayStation's face buttons (X, O, etc) are tucked away on the inside, near the user's right thumb.

The only hassle comes in playing different games; the Shark's sensitivity can differ from title to title, so you have to adjust each game's settings accordingly.

What We Liked

In many ways, it works as advertised. When playing Killzone 2, aiming felt smoother and more precise than with a regular controller, as did the important task of snapping between regular aiming and a "down the sights" view (accomplished with a click of the mouse's scroll wheel). It was also a joy using the mouse to control the cursor in the PS3's web browser, making it far easier to use than with a standard controller.

What We Didn't Like

It's just so... convoluted. To use the shark effectively, you have to re-learn everything you instinctually know about first-person shooters. The concept of what a trigger does, what a click of the right thumbstick accomplishes, etc is so hard-wired in our gaming consciousness that it takes a lot of hard work to use a different scheme. And I don't think the slight improvements in aiming speed are worth that hassle. Both controllers also feel cheap, especially the uncomfortable mouse, which is disappointing for a setup that costs $US90.

The Bottom Line

If you do nothing with your PlayStation 3 but play first-person shooters, and are willing to put in the time and effort needed to master a new control scheme, then the Shark will be worth a look. But seeing as it's over-priced, tough to master and is of limited use in other genres, for most people there's not much to recommend.

The FragFX Shark was developed by SplitFish for use with the PlayStation 3, PC and Mac. Retails for $US89.99 and released in late 2010. A device was given to us by the manufacturer for reviewing purposes. Tested on PlayStation 3 using Killzone 2, Uncharted 2, XMB and web browser.


Comments

    I've had the FragFX for ages now and it is the only way I can play PS3 first person shooters. I'm an old hand at PC FPS and never got to grips with the PS3 controller. I got stupid thumbs that overshoots the whole time. The FragFX was a blessing for me, actually allowing me to start playing FPS games on the PS3.
    Main drawback: Lets say you play Battlefield BC2 and you are in a tank. you would usually flip the right analogue stick to the side to turn the turret, but now you have a mouse to quickly swipe from side to side.
    Main upside. I got a mouse to control my players movement out and about. Faster reaction and more accurate.
    But then again, that is just my pc experience and opinion. For all other games...yeah, pretty bad, so I do switch between controllers for different games.

    I owned one of these and it was bad, unresponsive on the PC atleast.

    I got one of these a month ago.
    Yep it's a learning curve all right.
    Feels so foreign.
    The Mouse is very large and depressing the right side is a little more difficult than I would have liked.
    I need to force myself to do nothing but use this for a while to get the hand of it.

    The other issue is that if you don't have the right seating set up then it is quite awkward to have the right position. Still have to figure that out too.

    gotta love a site that promotes cheating

      Yeah, In every sport/game/business humans will find an advantage. Watch you tube and you'll see how these guys get triple the amount of kills than you/me. It's like showing up to bike race on a tricycle.

        Assuming your right thumb is dumb.

    Not cheating. Just controllers that the company did not intend to be used with the said console.

      Yes, just ordered one, I'm taking my dumb thumbs out.

    They should just make keyboards and mice compatible with consoles.

      From watching YouTube, these controllers are will make dumb thumbers up to par.

    Got it, love it. Review makes no mention of the sensitivity dial on the FragChuk, nor the faster remaps (shown in second last pic).

    I agree with Tertius tho- the change from First Person to vehicle- say, Tank or Chopper Gunner, is annoying, but can be solved if you quickly use Stick Swap and control your panning with left stick rather than a dozen inadequate swipes of the mouse. The same goes for trying to snipe on Gun Game- its hard to click the jog wheel (R3) to hold breath while panning... but again solvable by button remapping. Which by the way is able to be done on most all games and controllers, not just Splitfish ones.

    My FragFx makes me overly confident- its more responsive than a Dualshock 3, so I am more gung-ho. Thats not a fault of the hardware, but the user.

    Not recommended for GT5, Ass Crd Brotherhood or PES2011.

    Nice maybe I can finally play some fps games on my ps3

    I had a FragFX version 2 (wired) 5 years ago when I was playing COD4. I was pretty ordinary with the Dualshock controller (at the time) but my K/D increased significantly once I started using the FragFX. The only issue I had with it was learning to use the "melee" attack as this used to be under the thumb but now is where the mouse wheel would be. It took me probably 2-3 hours of use to get the hang of it and then away we went.

    I'm now looking at the Shark to see if I can bump up my KD again. If you like your FPS, then this is definitely worth a look but for racing games I can't see any benefit. Might be seriously tempted to give it a run on the PC as moving with a keyboard feels somewhat clunky...

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