The lights are on
It's been a fairly rough
E3 for Microsoft, but the time I've been able to spend with the Xbox One
controller has left a good impression. It's a worthy successor to the excellent
Xbox 360 controller.
While I think both the
new Dual Shock and the new Xbox One controller are excellent, the Xbox One unit
is definitely less of a change from last generation -- and for good reason. The
Xbox 360 had, in my opinion, the best video game controller in history. So, the
design team at Microsoft, while making some improvements, definitely took the
approach of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
So, if you're an Xbox
gamer already, you're going to feel right at home when you pick up the Xbox One
controller. While the changes are more subtle, there are definitely some great
improvements over the last-gen unit. The most notable is the rumble
functionality. Microsoft has placed some micro-motors in the triggers, which
allow for really small gradations of rumble. It's a far cry from the "on/off"
feel of the rumble on the 360. If you start a car, you can feel the kick of the
engine starting, then the light vibrations of the idle, then the massive rumble
when you press the trigger down for a full revving of the engine. It's
definitely the best, most advanced rumble I've ever felt.
The basic controller
layout is essentially identical to the 360 controller. You've got dual, offset
analog sticks, four face button, two triggers, two shoulders, start, select,
and a d-pad. The d-pad represents the biggest improvement in the basic control
functions. For one, it's actually a cross-shaped d-pad, not the unwieldy discs
they've had in past controllers. For me, it fixes my only real complaint about
the 360 controller.
analog sticks are rubberized and concave, but also feature a slight micro-texture
along the rim of the top of the stick. It's nice, and provides a little better
feel if you are pushing the stick forward instead of putting your finger in the
controller itself has slightly different contours than the 360 controller, most
notably in the fact that the engineers were able to reposition the batteries to
do away with the "battery lump" and make the back a flush surface. It feels
just a bit smaller in your hands, imagine a size somewhere in between the 360
controller and the Controller S for the original 360.
it's another great controller from Microsoft. Along with the much improved Dual
Shock 4 (you can read my impressions here), this new generation of consoles
will certain be a good one for controllers.
Email the author Matt Helgeson, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.