One of the bigger surprises from Microsoft’s E3 2015 press conference was the reveal of the Xbox One Elite controller, which will be available later this year for the Xbox One and Windows 10 PC platforms. I definitely didn’t expect any sort of new hardware reveals from any of Gaming’s Big 3, but good old Microsoft bucked my expectations with a shiny, highly functional, and quite expensive new controller that has the potential to revolutionize how people game on a console.
While on the show floor I had the opportunity to grope the new Xbox One Elite controller, and even filmed a shitty video of it using my phone, which you can see below. With that being said, I still got enough hands-0n time with it to formulate an opinion of its look and feel.
Quite frankly, this thing feels expensive, as it should thanks to the high retail price, which in my opinion is justified thanks to the PC peripheral-like customizations, and its overall quality. The controller has a noticeable amount of weight to it; not enough to make it feel like it could wear you out during a long gaming session, but heavy enough that it didn’t feel as cheap as the standard Xbox One controllers, or the much more fragile DualShock 4 controllers for the PS4. I could feel all 150 dollar bills while gripping it in my hands, so this is definitely a high end gaming controller, if not the most advanced first-party controller to ever be made for a console.
I will say that the bottom paddles do feel a bit odd as your hands rest on them while gripping the Xbox One Elite controller. I didn’t play a game with it, but one of our other writers did (Sunset Overdrive), and she (Ana Febo) also felt that her hands resting on the paddles felt odd, and preferred the feeling of being able to grip the handles of a controller without feeling another button down there.
With that being said, we didn’t have the time to toggle the controller’s settings to our personal preferences. I am, however, confident that gamers of all types will be able to customize the Xbox One Elite controller to their liking. Because of the controller’s three sets of thumbsticks, two D-pad styles, four paddles, and the ability to program any of the controller’s 14 inputs, a winning combination is guaranteed.
I wasn’t able to fully take the controller apart thanks to the dirty looks I was receiving from the people in line behind me. I can report that based on the official press release, it sounds like you can remove the paddles altogether, so they shouldn’t be an issue if you feel like they’re getting in the way. In a FPS, the paddles will definitely come in handy as you can program things like jumping, melee, reloading, and other functions that will allow you to never take your fingers off of the thumbsticks.
Talk about an edge! I mean, just look at what people can do with the old “Bumper Jumper” configuration on standard controllers in a game like Halo, so the sky will be the limit when it comes to personalizing the Xbox One Elite controller to suit your style of play for any genre of game.
If you’ve been looking for the most advanced controller experience for a console, you don’t need to look much further than the Xbox One Elite controller. It feels expensive and a bit complicated thanks to all of the configurations and inputs, but with the ability to program every single aspect of it through software and the hardware, I truly think it will be the perfect controller experience for a console if gamers put the time into crafting it to their liking. Just be prepared for it to feel a bit peculiar at first, mainly because of its added weight, but also thanks to the sheer amount of buttons loaded on this bad boy.
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