Xbox One Controller Preview

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With new systems come brand new controllers.

We were taken aback by the Nintendo’s debut of this Wiimote. Stunned by Sony’s Eyetoy and played some really competitive matches on Kinect Sports. Though what the core players want is just your regular controller. We don’t require movement controls to play games; we need that we have something in our hands with thumbsticks and activates. There are not any Major League Gaming tournaments for Wii Sports, right?

Now that I am at E3 I needed to get my hands on a control in the next generation of consoles. The first I have to play with is the Xbox One’s. Microsoft has not had a perfect track record with controls – anybody recall the Duke controller in the first Xbox? Fortunately, this control is much more Xbox 360 then the Duke. The first thing you will notice is that it seems just a tiny bit larger than a 360 controller. It’s only an illusion; if anything it felt more comfy and comfortable in my hands than the preceding one ever did.

The main thing in my view that they had to improve on was the D-Pad. The directional pad on the Xbox 360 was unresponsive, clunky and only a mess. On the Xbox One’s version, it is sleek (in a good way), quickly and it makes a beautiful click when you apply pressure on the mat. I am interested to see how well a fighting game will play with this new controller.

Call of Duty and Halo would be the Xbox’s most popular games; they are both shooters and you always have to use both analog sticks. So was there a means to improve the already terrific analog sticks out of the 360? It sure feels like they did. The analog sticks felt light but sturdy and appeared to be rather accurate. Dare I say console gaming is getting closer to the true feeling of a mouse on a computer?

Another issue I had with the Xbox 360 gamepad is the Xbox Guide button. It’s found in the top middle section of the controller and you may accidentally hit it. Microsoft decided to make it horizontal (and thus more difficult to push unintentionally) and place it in the very top of this control. This was a intelligent place for the button and I don’t see lots of people hitting it in the middle of gameplay.

Together with the other various upgrades made from the Xbox 360 controller, the activates got some love also, with rumble added to each. This sounds absurd but as soon as you try it for yourself, you will start to wonder why we did not have this before. When I was playing Forza 5, I was power sliding into a sharp turn and you could feel the tires squeal upon the sidewalk through the trigger rumbles. It was subtle and added into the immersive feeling.

There are only a few things I had complaints about, most notably the left and right bumpers. They appear to have made them a bit larger and while playing Red Dragon they did not just feel great as I attempted to barrel roll out of the manner of projectiles. This could also be an issue with the match but the buttons themselves were just fine. That is no means a significant issue and I am sure it’s going to take some time getting used to.

Overall, I am very impressed with how Microsoft updated the Xbox 360’s controller into this new milder version for the Xbox One. I was quite fond of the Xbox 360’s gamepad and was admittedly nervous with the idea that they may change it. Microsoft put my fears to rest and I am delighted to say this is among the greatest feeling controllers of all time.