Product Type: Microsoft game controllers
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The Xbox 360 wireless controller: A pleasure to play...if you treat it with care
Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Controller
Member Name: ReviewKing05
Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Controller
Advantages: - Comfortable to hold - Buttons have a good response - Xbox Guide button
Disadvantages: - Inexplicable turnings off after extended use - No rechargeable battery
When considering any games console, one of the first things you should look at is its controller. After all, this is the most vital element: what you will be using day in day out with your catalogue of games. Luckily, the Xbox 360 controller is one of the best I've ever had the pleasure of using.
The Xbox 360 wireless controller is very impressive to look at. With a sleek design, it is pleasing to the eye, with a white (or black if Elite) finish and a grey trim at the bottom. The buttons are well-made and give a good response, vital for those long into-the-night gaming sessions. In the centre is the Xbox dashboard button, finished smartly with brushed metal. To the left and right of this are the 'back' and 'start' buttons respectively, regular fare as far as modern controllers are concerned.
The positioning of the two analog sticks is brilliant. With the left stick on the top-left and the other in the bottom right, it was refreshing to see the sticks aligned in a position which made it easier for the gamer. This was a welcome change from the PS2, whose d-pad was simply in the wrong position. Personally, I find the d-pad rather poor, unresponsive at times at simply seeming like an add-on. Fortunately, this won't be used too often.
The Xbox guide button is one of the most intriguing controller additions of recent times, and works a treat. If in a game, simply tap the button to bring up an instant menu: if on Xbox Live, this helps you navigate between friends, revert to the dashboard, send messages or even turn off the console. It really is a neat touch which offers the casual user some welcome options without them having to leave their seat. Likewise, the LED indicators surrounding this button become very important in group sessions; unsure what number controller you are? The LEDs show you, with the numbers etched into the controller alerting you to the controller order.
The input at the bottom of the controller is also a good design choice. It contains a headphone-like port for connection used to connect an Xbox 360 headset and works brilliantly, needing simply to be plugged in and used immediately. No mess and no fuss.
Nevertheless, the experience is less than flawless. For a start, they are not rechargeable and such battery packs will set you back even more in additional purchases. They drain AA batteries fairly quickly if you are an avid gamer, and chances are you'll have a few frustrating nights searching intently for batteries anywhere and everywhere in your home for your 360 fix. This is a big negative vis-à-vis the rechargeable PS3 controllers and is very annoying indeed.
Likewise, the pads have a common knack of losing connection after extended use. The battery cover is often at fault, with all three that I own now experiencing the same problem. Sometimes, the pad simply turns off mid-game, with batteries full and everything seemingly well. Turns out that the battery covers, with their connections to the battery, become detached all too easily. Cue immense frustration when you make a sudden movement in the dying moments of an online match/fight and are left gasping in shock at your extinguished controller. The solution? Take care. LOTS of care. Unlike ones I've had in the past, these controllers can't be thrown without consequence and you are advised to keep your cool with them even when that boss has beaten you for the 45th time in a row.
Easy to connect, a pleasure to use and brilliantly designed, this controller is very good indeed. If it wasn't for the lack of a rechargeable battery and my experience of inexplicable cuttings-off mid-game, this would be rated flawless. As it stands, it will be a trusty companion if treated carefully and is more than fun to use, but still shows room for improvement.
Summary: An awesome pad which will serve you well if you treat it with care.
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