Every so often, video game companies revamp their controllers. They change the color, add a few dollars to the price, and release them with a moderately sized ad campaign. But, more often than not, the “new” controller offers very little difference and ends up falling flat.
Not too long ago, Microsoft launched the new Xbox 360 controller with the new transforming D-pad and color scheme. The price is on average $64.99 and at first glance you would probably have the same opinion I did, “Fifteen more dollars for a new paint job and a fancy D-pad? Forget about it!” However, upon closer inspection of the packaging, you will discover it comes bundled with a charge and play kit which, is normally priced at $19.99. After finding out about the charge kit I decided why not save five dollars on a battery pack and get a new controller?
So, I get it home, open it up, and the first thing I notice is it has a different texture than the previous gen controllers. Also, there is the new slick silver paint job and gray scale colored A, B, X, Y buttons, chromed guide button and D-pad. After it charged and was ready for a game, I start fiddling with this new “transforming” D-pad. “What is it,” you ask? Well, if you turn it one way it will only move up, down, left and right. But, turn it the other way, and it becomes more like a joystick. I thought this feature wouldn’t be very handy to anyone not immersed in fighting games such as “Marvel vs. Capcom” or “Street Fighter,” but man was I wrong. It’s great for inputting text and in games like “Call of Duty” where you have weapon features on the D-pad and it prevents accidental weapon swaps.
After about an hour using this chromed out controller, I realized I had slightly more control over the joysticks. I then got my old 360 controller out and noticed that, instead of the four bumps on the sticks, there is a raised ring around the outer edge of each stick. This really allows for better control and far less instances of your thumb slipping off.
Overall, I think this controller revamp was well done and not just a marketing ploy. The new texture allows for a more comfortable grip and the new joysticks aide in movement control. That fancy new D-pad is actually pretty handy, not to mention the flashy paint job. Plus, by including the charge and play kit, the $65.00 (and you can find it for less if you look) is actually a good deal. If you’re in the market for a new controller, the new Microsoft-branded Xbox 360 controller isn’t a bad choice.
[ Microsoft ]