For all the talk of used game bans and always-on DRM, it\’s easy to lose sight of the natural improvements that the Xbox One will bring. Besides bringing better-looking and better-connected games, Microsoft\’s media box has promised to give players improved control with its revamped gamepad. TechnologyGuide was able to go hands on with said gamepad at E3 this week, and found that Microsoft appears to be keeping its word. Let\’s take a look.
Microsoft comes into the next generation as the reigning champion of console control, as its Xbox 360 pad is already regarded as one of the most comfortable ever created. Thankfully, the Xbox One doesn\’t stray too far from that winning formula.
The button placement, stick layout and general shape here all remain virtually unchanged, with the only immediate revamps being the two new contextual menu buttons that have replaced the 360\’s Start and Back inputs. Those could stand to be a little bit bigger, perhaps, but they\’re not hard to reach by any means.
Holding the XBO controller feels almost exactly like holding the 360 pad, though the new digs are slightly lighter and smaller than before. It still grooves around the fingers and palms at the just the right spots, and even looks pretty sleek to boot. It really is super comfortable in the hands.
There are some more notable changes to consider, though. For one, the much-touted \’impulse triggers\’ make the LT and RT buttons much roomier than before, widening them out and sloping them outwards around the sides so that they can cover all of a player\’s fingers.
These aren\’t thin strips like the 360\’s trigger buttons, but they do offer a similarly excellent amount of fast feedback. They still don\’t feel mushy at all, and offer extra built-in vibration, which impressively lets the XBO pad rumble a player\’s hands from the palms to the fingertips. Together they should make shooters, racers and other trigger-heavy genres even more of a dream to control on the Xbox One.
The new RB and LB buttons have been slightly warped too, as they have less usable space lengthwise but appear to be a little wider than before. They\’re slightly tighter too, but retain that familiar clicky feel.
The XBO pad\’s dual joysticks are still placed at the prime locations, but now have a slightly raised ring around their edges for extra grip. They feel tighter than ever, and can still be pressed down without much struggle.
Finally, it seems Microsoft has taken the many justified complaints about the 360\’s atrocious d-pad to heart. Each directional button is given more room to breathe here, instead of being clumped together into a disc-shaped mush. It too is more clickable than before, and isn\’t nearly as garish or unresponsive as before. It isn\’t quite as nice as the DualShock 4\’s counterpart, but it\’s a notable improvement.
All in all, it\’s hard to see any of Microsoft\’s changes upsetting those familiar with the already beloved Xbox 360 pad. Just about every issue players had with the old setup has been addressed in some form, and while things like the d-pad or shoulder buttons still may not be used all that frequently, it\’s good to see Microsoft taking the time to listen to the people. In this case, at least.