Many a gamer swear by it. Some claim it is an ‘industry standard’ for console controls. Others feel it is an over-hyped device which amounts to mediocrity… much like the Halo series of games. Love it or hate it, today NextGG.com takes a look at what makes the Xbox 360’s controller so appealing.
1. The triggers!
Since the launch of the Xbox 360, the 360 wireless controller’s Left & Right Triggers have operated in a way so as to feel as if they have been designed for no other purpose but to aim and shoot. Whether it be vaulting from roof top to roof top in Crackdown whilst popping head shots on unsuspecting citizens of Pacific City, or melee bashing other n00b gamers in Battlefield, the triggers of the 360 wireless have served this function so well that converts from Xbox world to the PS3 have sought to remap their Dualshock 3’s button layout so as to drop the aim and shoot down from L1 and R1 to L2 and R2.
But beyond murder/death/kill games, the L&R Triggers also lend themselves nicely to racing games. So much so that for games such as Test Drive Unlimited, the 360 wireless controller accelerates and brakes much more accurately than Microsoft’s joke of a wireless steering wheel. The only draw back so far has been GTAIV on the PS3, whose L2 and R2 triggers slightly out perform the 360 version.
2. The weight!
Until the release of Sony’s Dualshock 3, the weight of the 360 wireless was worth its weight in gold. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, Nikon cottoned on to the fact that a little added weight in an SLR camera actually benefited the user by helping them to correct and steady better with their arm and hand muscles, whilst Cannon decided to burden their users with lighter and lighter cameras which actually made it difficult to take a steady shot.
Whereas the Dualshock 3 now has this desired counter weight due to the rumble feature, it still needs just a tad more to match the weight feel of the 360 wireless. Certainly Microsoft didn’t intend for this – as it was a bi-product of skimping on internal rechargeable batteries – but their miserly mistake has actually worked in favour of us gamers for once, by being the perfect weight for short and long gaming sessions.
3. The body size!
I can understand the Dualshock controller being the size it is due to the fact that Sony is a Japanese company. Hell, when the biggest gaming market in the world is also your biggest buyer of consoles, then you tailor your controller for the average Japanese person and their nimble hands.
But I am a big clumsy white male. Like Marv from Sin City I possess mittens, not hands. Whilst the extra large controller available for the original Xbox was over the top, the 360 wireless has the best body size for a console control. Not too fat, but not too small. Added with the weight, the 360 wireless snugly fits into my hands and does so well to adapt I rarely even notice I am holding something. The only draw back is the need to roll my wrists inwards which gives me sore wrists after an hour or so of playing.
4. The headset option!
I don’t particularly like the Microsoft Wireless Headset for the Xbox 360. It is poorly designed, uncomfortable, sounds terrible and has a short battery life. Added to this, M$ as per usual don’t allow you to bring your own Bluetooth headset to the party. Thankfully I prefer the sound and function of the wired headset which comes standard with the full price Xbox Live Gold pack. The beauty of the wired headset is that it takes a pounding, fits on both sides of your head quickly and easy, and fulfils everyone’s fantasy of looking like a call centre drone from South Asia.
But best aspect to it is the ability to quickly mute toggle yourself in the middle of a game without having to remove a hand from your controller. Again, M$’s decision to lock us all in to their proprietary Bluetooth standard headset (if we wanted wireless) meant that they had to offer a cheap and easy solution for wired headsets. The result is the moulded plastic plug which encases the 3.55mm mini jack, allowing the volume and mute function to be worked faster than lightning. Again, thank you to the Uncle Scrooge accountants at M$!
5. The name!
The PS3 controller is known as the Dualshock 3; the Nintendo Wii controller is the WiiMote. So Microsoft decided to go all out and come up with the most revolutionary title to describe their one good hardware achievement: The Xbox 360™ Wireless Controller!!! I guess when you design a gaming device so well, you don’t really need a name for it.
But here in lies one of the controller’s draw backs. It is such a popular standard controller that the white version has come to be known as just the ‘360 remote’. So Xbox 360 controllers which happen to be injection moulded with black ink can’t also just be ‘controllers’, they have to be The Xbox 360™ Wireless Controller (Black).
I for one don’t tolerate discrimination in any form, but I guess I can forgive Microsoft’s explicit racism just this once. After all, squeezing off a round of the R700 from Call of Duty 4, into some junk-talking Live n00b’s head, just reminds me of why the 360 controller truly rocks!
Look out for our 5 Reasons the Dualshock 3 Controller Rocks later this week!