When I first saw the N-Avenger from N-Control, I literally laughed out loud. This thing looked like some sort of plastic spider that attached to the top of your console controller. It’s got levers and pulleys all over it, and is marketed to help make you react better when playing games. The thing looked confusing enough, but the fact that it was actually supposed to help me? I just didn’t get it. Luckily for me I received one to test out my suspicions on, and I was surprised with the outcome.
The N-Avenger Elite is the stepped-up version of the original Avenger that released last year. It’s a sleeker version of the original, sporting higher-quality materials, a more sensitive trigger system, and a new spring system for use with adjusting the button pressure. What the Avenger does is make your moves more fluid, and allows you to hit multiple buttons with the flick of a finger. It includes a system that incorporates the use of hair-triggers to make pulling each trigger easier than ever before.
Out of the box the first thing I noticed was that the Avenger Elite is much smoother than the original. It also sat up better and wasn’t as clanky, if I can use that word. It still looks about the same, like a spider is trying to take over my controller. That being said, however, the Avenger Elite is much easier to fit to your controller. It’s a clamshell, so you open it, place your controller inside, and then close the Avenger around it. It snaps into place and fits snug around your controller.
Something else I picked up on was that the levers on the Avenger Elite were much more sturdy. I didn’t need to adjust them at all. They felt stronger and it was easier to feel like I could rely on them when I needed. Holding the controller, it felt nice and large in my hands. It didn’t slip or move around, and when I needed I could rest it right on my lap without any hindrance. The straps for the triggers didn’t get in the way, and everything really felt fluid. It was a nice change.
So I got the Avenger Elite strapped to my controller, the buttons were all set, and the triggers were locked. Now it was up to me to figure this thing out. If there’s one thing I’ll say about this contraption is that it’s got a learning curve. It takes a while to pick up and use easily. The flip side of that, however, is that once you’ve got it down it really does what it advertises.
A new feature with the Elite comes in the form of this “spring against spring” button design. Each of the levers has a spring on them that attaches to a plate to hit the buttons. You can wind and unwind the spring to raise or lower the lever, making it easier to press the buttons. If you find yourself struggling to lift a lever with enough force to hit a button, you can just unwind the screw a bit to make the lever longer. It’s adjustable to any player.
When it comes to the triggers, I was really hung up. I couldn’t figure out how to maneuver my fingers to where I needed them when I had to use the triggers. Eventually I figured it out and it changed my game dramatically. Instead of leaving your fingers up to pull on the triggers you rest them on the straps that you assemble into the Elite. Whenever you need to pull the trigger you just pull back on the strap which will tighten and pull the trigger for you. It becomes much faster and much easier.
Here’s an example: I was playing Gears 3 using the Elite. Whenever I needed to take some pot shots at enemies behind cover, my reaction times became a lot quicker. Normally I would just spray some shots over where the enemies were, but when they ducked back into cover there was a couple of seconds I’d still be firing. With the Elite in my hands I could just let up on the straps a bit and the response is immediate. There’s no slipping and no fumbling.
The Avenger Elite really shines when it comes to console FPS games, though with other games it doesn’t hold a lot of weight. I couldn’t see a reason for using it to play Skyrim or Need for Speed, though you never know.
Overall the N-Avenger Elite surprised me. I noticed while using it that my reaction times were heightened and the controller’s response was much better. The way N-Control markets the product is right on-par, and you have to try it to believe it yourself. It looks intimidating at first, but once you learn how to use the thing it becomes an important tool in your arsenal. If you’re a competitive FPS player, the Avenger Elite would serve you well. However, if you are a more rounded player who enjoys other types of games, it might not a good match. Right now the Elite retails at $50, which is a bit steep but worth it if you put it to use.