Third-party controllers are like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get. Some are awesome, some are passable, and some are a total waste of money. Datel’s PS3 Wildfire ranks between passable and awesome, depending on whether you find its features useful and/or if you like having a ton of extra AA batteries around…
At first glance, the Wildfire looks cool enough. It has a rubber grip, but the D-Pad and face buttons look like… gasp… the Xbox 360 controller!? Ugh. The L1 and R1 buttons are slightly more accessible than the DualShock controller, and the L2 and R2 trigger buttons are more triangular and slim… also… like the Xbox 360 controller!! Hrm…
Playing with this controller is a bit more difficult than a DualShock, mostly because the D-Pad is no longer four separate buttons and the face buttons are raised. My small hands liked the shape of the controller, but trying to get my thumbs around the top of the controller with accuracy was more of a challenge than usual. The placement of the analog sticks makes them easier for my thumbs to reach, but overall the controller was more difficult for me to use than a DualShock.
The Wildfire also has a “turbo” feature, essentially giving you the ability to assign rapid-fire to any or all of the four face and four shoulder buttons. This may be helpful for a game like Call of Duty 4 or Resident Evil 5, but is essentially useless for many gamers. The programming is easy enough, but every time you want to use the turbo you have to hold the start and the PS button to turn it on. From there, the turbo begins on the highest setting but can be decreased four different times to slower and slower firing speeds. There is a light between the analog sticks that helps you understand which level you are on.
The fact that this controller can utilize the PS3’s Bluetooth without any stupid pieces hanging off of it is wonderful. It is quick to sync up and also features the SixAxis and rumble of the DualShock controller.
My only other gripe about the controller is its use of AA batteries. The batteries are not rechargeable through the USB cable, so you must remove your AA batteries and charge them somewhere else if you want to re-use them. As of yet, there is no rechargeable battery pack made that can be used with this controller, but I would be extremely happy if there was. I hate toting around AA batteries.
This controller sells for $39.99, making it less expensive than picking up a DualShock from a retail store. However, since many DualShock controllers are selling inexpensively on Ebay, the price point of this controller isn’t necessarily worth settling for.
The PS3 Wildfire controller is great for those who enjoy games that can utilize the rapid-fire feature. It is also good for those who find the DualShock to be uncomfortable. To me, the controller would earn extra points if a rechargeable battery pack were available for it. Because it uses the PS3’s Bluetooth effortlessly and almost the same features as a DualShock controller, I would recommend the Wildfire as a good third-party controller for your PS3.