With new systems come new controllers.
We were first taken aback by the Nintendo's introduction of the Wiimote. Stunned by Sony's Eyetoy and played some really competitive matches on Kinect Sports. Though what the core gamers want is just your standard controller. We don't need motion controls to play games; we demand that we have something in our hand with thumbsticks and triggers. There aren't any Major League Gaming tournaments for Wii Sports, right?
Now that I'm at E3 I had to get my hands on a controller from the next generation of consoles. The first I got to play with is the Xbox One's. Microsoft hasn't had a perfect track record with controllers- anyone remember the Duke controller from the original Xbox? Luckily, this controller is more Xbox 360 then the Duke. The first thing you'll notice is that it looks a little bit bigger than a 360 controller. It's just an illusion; if anything it felt more comfortable and snug in my hands than the previous one ever did.
The most important thing in my opinion that they absolutely had to improve on was the D-Pad. The directional pad on the Xbox 360 was unresponsive, clunky and just a mess. On the Xbox One's version, it's sleek (in a good way), fast and it makes a delightful click when you apply pressure on the pad. I'm curious to see how well a fighting game will play with this new controller.
Call of Duty and Halo are the Xbox's most popular games; they're both shooters and you constantly have to use both analog sticks. So was there a way to improve the already great analog sticks from the 360? It sure feels like they did. The analog sticks felt light but sturdy and seemed to be quite accurate. Dare I say console gaming is getting closer to the accurate feeling of a mouse on a computer?
Another issue I had with the Xbox 360 gamepad is the Xbox Guide button. It's located in the top middle portion of the controller and you can accidentally hit it. Microsoft decided to make it flat (and thus harder to push unintentionally) and put it at the very top of the controller. This was a smart location for the button and I don't see many people hitting it in the middle of gameplay.
Along with the other various upgrades made from the Xbox 360 controller, the triggers got some love as well, with rumble added to each. This sounds absurd but once you try it for yourself, you'll begin to wonder why we didn't have this before. When I was playing Forza 5, I was power sliding into a sharp turn and you could feel the tires squeal across the pavement through the trigger rumbles. It was subtle and added to the immersive feeling.
There are only a couple of things I had complaints about, most notably the left and right bumpers. They seem to have made them quite a bit bigger and while playing Crimson Dragon they didn't exactly feel great as I tried to barrel roll out of the way of projectiles. This could also be a problem with the game but the buttons themselves were just okay. This is no means a major issue and I'm sure it will just take some time getting used to.
Overall, I'm very impressed with the way Microsoft upgraded the Xbox 360's controller into this new sexier model for the Xbox One. I was very fond of the Xbox 360's gamepad and was admittedly nervous with the thought that they might change it. Microsoft put my fears to rest and I'm happy to say this is one of the best feeling controllers of all time.