I've always loved the Xbox 360 controller, but I have to confess that I haven't had the chance to check out the new one. Justin Robson has though, and has written this review. Is this our first reader review of a controller?
And thanks to Madman entertainment, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.
Loved Quality: I had no complaints about the 360 controller to begin with, Sony need to take note. Unless you have square robot hands and tiny little girl thumbs, the 360 controller is light years ahead of Sony’s Dual Shock 3 in both build quality and design. (Don’t kill me PS3 fans, I’ve owned both consoles for years and this is my honest opinion). The redesign seems to have tightened everything, the trigger motion feels smoother, the D-pad has been overhauled, the matte finish feels much better and overall it feels very sturdy in the hands, with no more creaks when you grip it too hard.
The D-Pad: If you’re not a fan of the 360 controller’s marshmallowy D-pad, this new controller is for you. With a twist you can change the directional pad from basically what it was on the old controller to something with a bit more precision. In the plus shaped position, there’s a nice firm click when you press each direction and it feels raised up just enough to add a layer of control that previously wasn’t there. I don’t play fighters myself, but I have a feeling this change might fix the issues fans of the genre had with the old D-pad.
The thumbsticks: on the whole they feel a lot more accurate and tight, with none of that rattle that plagues more well used controllers (though only time and wear and tear will tell if it stays that way), but the new grip is what really sets them apart. Gone are the four raised dots, which have been replaced with a much nicer feeling circular grip, featuring an ever so slightly more concave centre.
New look all together: What can I say, it’s shiny! It’s not the kind of Mad Catz cheap plasticy silver, but a tasteful matte finish, with black and chrome trimmings. The face buttons are no longer the colourful SNES style we’re used to, but rather different shades of grey… this might confuse some who are new to the 360, as the colour of the button won’t correspond with what comes up on screen, but for those of us who’s hands feel more natural holding a 360 controller than they do without, it’s a subtle but welcome touch.
Hated Price: I saw it on the shelf and grabbed it… wasn’t thinking and I learned my lesson, but I do like it a lot otherwise. Apparently it’s only available with the play and charge kit, so if you’re lazy like me and prefer to just bang in some fresh AA’s when the controller goes dead, you may find you’ve payed for an accessory that won’t get used all that often.
Battery pack still a little intrusive: Yeah you don’t notice it while you’re playing mostly, but it would have been nice if it were more streamlined in this regard. Still, the ability to use AA batteries puts it even further ahead of the PS3 controller in my opinion. Very convenient when you can’t be bothered plugging in.
The new controller is like - I don’t know - an espresso machine. You don’t need it, but it’s damn nice to have. If you’re in need of a new controller, I’d seriously recommend this for the subtle improvements.
Has anyone here played with the new Xbox controller? And what is your favourite controller of all time - let us know in the comments below.