Reviewed: January 3, 2005
What's in the box
The Cyborg Evo Force is the latest joystick in the ongoing line of quality flight sticks from Saitek. Thing of it as a marriage of the original Cyborg Evo and the Cyborg 3D Rumble Stick with the resulting product being the best of both worlds. You now have all of the style of the Evo design with the durability and force feedback of their Rumble stick.
When I reviewed the original Evo stick a few months ago my only caveat was the lack of force feedback. Well, as the name implies, this deficiency has been remedied and you now have the world’s most configurable stick with some of the best and most powerful rumble effects I have ever felt in a joystick. As always, functionality rules supreme and the Cyborg Evo is designed for gamers of all ages and hand sizes, lefties, and righties. If you have at least one hand then this is the stick you want to put in it.
Installation - 10
It doesn’t get any easier than USB. Install the software, plug in device when prompted and watch the drivers load. Reboot and play. Need I say more? Need you do more? I think not. Using the Saitek Smart Technology you can install the basic drivers to get the stick up and running or you can install the more complicated programs that let you customize and program the buttons. You can always go back and install the advanced programs later if you are anxious to test that hot new game.
Aesthetics - 10
The Cyborg Evo Force is one sexy stick with stylish curves and an attractive color scheme. The adjustable wrist rest can be raised or lowered so your palm grips the stick just right while eliminating nearly all fatigue normally associated with prolonged joystick use. The buttons are all perfectly placed and if for some reason you don't like the configuration at the top of the stick you can adjust the angle using the knobs.
The throttle is located at the back of the base and is more stylishly integrated into the design. It also has a much smoother movement allowing for more precise control. The buttons on the base and the stick are now labeled so you know which button is #2. The stick itself twists, giving you full rotational rudder control on games that support that.
The black and bronze design with Saitek-blue highlights is an attractive combination, and the overall design is quite futuristic while remaining totally functional. The exposed spring at the base of the stick offers a retro-like appeal that contrasts the next-gen design.
Durability - 10
The Cyborg Evo Force is a solid stick that is surprisingly responsive to the slightest touch. The stick has smooth movement and a natural return-to-center that doesn't feel artificial like some force feedback sticks. The base has a metal plate that gives the stick some added weight and the force feedback motors help keep the stick firmly planted on your desk during normal use. If you tend to play violently you may want to investigate Velcro or some other means to anchor this stick to your desk.
The buttons all have a very nice feel and defined click and the trigger is easy to pull but not fragile enough to break off during intense combat. The throttle lever has a very smooth 90-degree travel with just enough resistance to give you impeccable control over your speed.
Performance - 9
Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed and Lock On: Modern Air Combat were the two titles I chose to test this stick and both offered excellent experiences with flawless results from the joystick. The throttle provided accurate speed control and the joystick offered precise adjustments to my control surfaces. Twisting the stick allowed me that extra level of control only available with a true rudder system.
The powerful force feedback effects certainly added to the immersion of Lock On. I could now feel the wind sheer as I pulled twisting maneuvers, and the stick would go slack during a stall or tremble when you kicked in the afterburners.
With nine buttons and an 8-way POV hat there were more than enough available inputs to control most all of the functions for any plane or space fighter without ever having to reach for the keyboard. The added level of configurability for both left and right-handed gamers is just another bonus and proof that Saitek is committed to delivering the very best controllers to everyone.
Value - 9
You can spend a lot of money these days on a joystick, and the $70 you’ll spend on the Cyborg Evo Force is perhaps a bit much for all but the most serious gamers. Arguably, there aren’t a lot of games these days that require a joystick, but when you need one you need a good one and the Evo Force is one of the best.
Not only are you getting a quality joystick that looks extremely cool, but it’s also fully programmable and the symmetrical design with multiple adjustments makes this the perfect stick for left-handed gamers, once you get past the sticker shock.
Overall – 9.5
The Cyborg Evo Force is easily the most comfortable and configurable joystick currently in my collection. The wrist rest alone has shown me just how uncomfortable those other sticks are, and I doubt I could ever go back to another stick that didn't have this feature.
The powerful force feedback effects fill in the missing part of the equation from last year’s non-rumble version. If you take your flight sim and action-combat games seriously then you need a serious stick and the Evo Force is exactly that, one serious flight stick.