Accessory Review: Flex-Fire Rifle Attachment for PlayStation Move

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Earlier this year, I posted A Shooter’s Guide to PlayStation Move, rounding up every Move shooter and accessory I could get my hands on at the time. In that guide I talked about the Sharp Shooter, Sony’s official rifle attachment designed with hardcore shooters in mind, like Killzone 3, MAG and SOCOM 4. There are quite a few other, similar Move rifles on the market, but they all pretty much fit into the same design mold and none have been of equal quality to the Sharp Shooter. Not so with the Flex-Fire from ProdaGen.

Available for pre-order now for $29.99 and scheduled to ship in the first week of October, the Flex-Fire is not your average Move shooting peripheral. The Flex-Fire gets its name from a patent-pending articulated barrel design that allows its wielder to aim the Move with quick, effortless twitches of the wrist rather than having to turn the whole upper body like aiming a real gun.

This is important for a number of reasons, but the main benefit is that it allows for the comfort of reclined gaming. With the Sharp Shooter or one of its competing attachments, you can play seated with the rifle resting lightly on your knees, but it’s impossible to comfortably play while kicking back in the true position of a console gamer. Gamers are lazy creatures, so the less we have to get up and work at playing a game, the better. This is where the Flex-Fire shines.

Another great thing about the Flex-Fire is its nuanced aiming. With the flexible barrel unlocked (there is a spring operated bar that can lock the barrel in place), you can point and shoot as you would normally, and at the same time make subtle aim adjustments with flexes of the wrist to lock in on the target with even greater precision.

After aiming off in a direction or rotating the camera, the articulation also provides a built-in auto-centering feature. You can pick off an enemy or make a quick turn, and then lighten your grip to have the barrel–and subsequently the targeting cursor–automatically snap back to the center of the screen in an instant. That is a handy trick sure to help serious online multiplayer veterans up their competitive game.

The speed at which you can make such sudden changes in direction is pretty remarkable, and I’ve actually found it most beneficial in light gun shooters such as Time Crisis, Deadstorm Pirates and Dead Space: Extraction.

But to be perfectly honest, I am a bit iffy on the Flex-Fire when it comes to true shooters like Killzone 3 and SOCOM 4. The main drawback to the device is its configuration. The Move snugly locks into the barrel in standard fashion, but the Navigation controller goes in the hand grip. Compared to the Sharp Shooter, which has a dedicated trigger button and the Navigation controller in a forward, angled position just below the barrel, this layout is somewhat awkward and noticeably non-rifle-like.

The Flex-Fire offers no remapped button placements or pump-action reload mechanisms, so in games without customizable control schemes (which is everything except for Resistance 3) you are stuck pulling on the Move trigger protruding from the underside of the barrel to fire and maneuvering the analog stick from the grip to move within the game.

As a dominant right-handed person with very little ambidexterity, something about aiming and pulling the trigger with my left hand on the barrel and using the Navigation controller with my right hand back on the gun grip just isn’t quite natural (and trying it the opposite way doesn’t work out any better). It’s sort of like patting my head and rubbing my stomach at the same time – I can do it if I really, really put my mind to it, but it’s not something that I can instinctively pull off. That’s how I feel playing a game like Killzone 3 with the Flex-Fire. With effort I can get where I need to go and shoot what I need to shoot without much hassle, but I’m never 100% comfortable doing so.

Configuration issues aside, the Flex-Fire’s ergonomics are on target. The rifle is lightweight yet feels sturdy and durable to the touch, and the grips at the barrel and the usual trigger position maintain comfortability, even during long sessions. Similar to other attachments, an adjustable stock clicks out in four additional lengths to accommodate players with different arm lengths. The handle also folds up, and when all sides are tucked into place the device is surprisingly compact and easy to stow away in a gaming chest or cabinet.

Overall, the Flex-Fire is a device that is simultaneously brilliant and somewhat perplexing in its design. I love being able to kick back and shoot baddies without having to sit on edge or get my whole body involved, and I wouldn’t be caught dead shooting with anything else in light gun shooters like Time Crisis: Razing Storm and The Shoot. But even after a few weeks of testing I’m still not quite confident enough with it as a full-time replacement for my Sharp Shooter.

The articulated barrel is an ingenious invention on its own, and for many players the accuracy enhancements it brings to Move shooting games will more than make up for some of the configuration miscues. Either way, if you’re serious about Move controls in your PS3 shooters, the Flex-Fire is a worthwhile but flawed option to consider versus the pricier Sharp Shooter. Just be prepared for a demanding learning curve and a fair amount of practice time on the Move shooting range.

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About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!