What’s in a name? In the case of the CronusMAX Plus, absolutely nothing.
I suspect its creators hurled a dictionary into an industrial shredder and just grabbed two words from the resultant confetti. But absurd as this gizmo’s moniker is, it’s a potential money saver for anyone who owns more than one console.
The CronusMAX Plus resembles nothing so much as a boy racer’s flash drive; if it wasn’t for the flashy logo and gaudy LED window, it’d be easy to mistake it for a bog-standard memory stick. Yet when plugged into a current or last-generation Sony or Microsoft console, this device will let you use any one controller across all four platforms. So no longer do you have to spring for an additional Xbox One gamepad if you’ve got a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 3 one kicking around.
For me this was something of an impulse buy and, given that the CronusMAX Plus costs as much as a full price game, not a particularly cheap one. Using the device for the first time typically requires a PC and, as I sat gawping at the wealth of options the accompanying application offered, I wondered if I’d made a mistake. Console manufacturers are notoriously protective of their hardware and their profits: “Surely there must be multiple safeguards in place to prevent this?” I reasoned.
“Absurd as this gizmo’s moniker is, it’s a potential money saver for anyone who owns more than one console.”
Yet five minutes later, my fears were allayed. Using only the device and a pound shop bluetooth dongle, I was using my PlayStation 4 controller wirelessly on my Xbox One. I was filled with a sense of wonderment as I played, bathing in an experience that, as someone who prefers the Playstation controller layout, had been thus far denied me. Though it was underlaid by a vague sense of unease, as I half expected a Microsoft-funded swat team to swing through my window and order me to lay down my joypad.
Fortunately, the Microsoft Police didn’t turn up, nor did Sony’s when I used an Xbox One controller on the PlayStation 4; though the snag there is that, at the current time, you need to keep it plugged in via a USB cable. One other proviso is that on the PS4 and Xbox One, you need to plug your official gamepad into the CronusMAX Plus before detaching it and using the controller of your choice.
It’s really is as simple as that; with no real technical knowledge you can use any official controller across any last or current generation Sony or Microsoft console. The CronusMAX Plus also lets you use a mouse as a controller, though this does require that you leave your PC on while you play. Under normal circumstances, the device rarely needs to revisit your PC, unless you want to use your DualShock controller to wirelessly play PC games, which the CronusMAX Plus also facilitates.
Here, however, is where we journey into murkier territory. The CronusMAX Plus boasts that you can use “any controller on any console” and, if we neatly sweep Nintendo’s efforts under the carpet, it does exactly that. But in addition, it also functions as a cheat device. The additional options featured in the CronusMAX PC software, the ones which I initially found daunting, give you a distinctly unfair advantage in nearly any game you care to play. The CronusMAX Plus sports a range of free downloadable gamepacks that will let you enable rapid fire, “turbo melee” and so forth. And while it requires a smidgeon of programming knowledge, the CronusMAX software also lets you create your own cheats. Using the latter, I was able to configure my joypad so that, in Street Fighter 4, I could hurl a fireball with a single button press.
That might not seem a big deal, particularly if you grew up with the likes of the Action Replay or Game Genie, which let you implement all sorts of in-game exploits. And true, it really is no-one’s business but your own if you decide to cheat your way through your games. The ability to remap controller buttons and create macros might also be beneficial to those with accessibility issues.
But the CronusMAX Plus can also be used to cheat in online games. You can challenge someone to a Street Fighter V match and, with the press of a single button, pull off Zangief’s piledriver, one of the game’s most devastating moves, again and again. “Quickscoping”, a term that will likely only mean anything to you if you’re a Call of Duty player, can be performed with one button press. While it’s not technically hacking, using the CronusMAX Plus’ cheat functionality online will let you pull off moves faster and with more accuracy than you’d normally be able to.
“If you own more than one console, miss using a mouse or have a few last gen joypads kicking around, then [the CronusMAX Plus] is worth the investment.”
It’s not that these are unintentional side effects of the CronusMAX Plus’ use, either. While the packaging doesn’t specifically mention online play, it lists “mods” (as they’re euphemistically called) for many popular games, all of which feature online play. Leaving aside the ethical issues, there’s a chance this using this online could get your Xbox Live or Playstation Network account banned. The manufacturers of the CronusMAX Plus assert that, “CronusMAX uses stealth technology and is 100% fully undetectable online. However as always, when using any kind of mods or scripts, you do so at your own risk.”
Microsoft and Sony’s online terms of service both state that using unauthorised hardware is forbidden. While it may not be easy to detect the use of a CronusMAX Plus by default, both companies would presumable be able to investigate and tell if a player is consistently pulling off moves with superhuman speed. Besides which, cheating is hardly sporting.
So where, then, does this leave the CronusMAX Plus? I’ve wrestled with the idea that by recommending it I’m somehow supporting cheating, but if you decided to use it to cheat online, with all the inherent risks, that’s your prerogative, you filthy scoundrel. If you own more than one console, miss using a mouse or have a few last gen joypads kicking around, then this is worth the investment. Effective and relatively easy to use, this excellent piece of kit does exactly what it says on the tin.