Today I managed to get my hands on my first Xbox One peripheral, the controller. Given that I'm likely to spend a good chunk of the next seven years of my gaming life with this bad boy in my hands, I wanted to get a feel for it as soon as possible.
Before I get into the controller itself, let's talk about the packaging. For the first time in gaming history, I actually want to keep my controller box. The outer packaging is a simple, unassuming box:
Upon opening the package, however, I was very surprised with what I found:
That's it. The minute you open the box you're greeted with exactly what's pictured above. No annoying plastic wrap to remove, no tabs to pull, nothing. Just a single pair of batteries. Microsoft really showed an Apple-like attention to detail in the packaging for the controller and made unboxing these controllers something to truly enjoy.
Now on to the important bit, the controller:
The controller itself has an amazingly solid build. The textured analog sticks of the Xbox One controller are a welcome improvement over the comparatively slippery feeling sticks on the 360 controller.
The Xbox One controller's impulse triggers seem to have a decent amount of resistance to them, they seem to be on par with what one would expect from a new Xbox 360 controller.
The bumpers on the Xbox One controller feel much clickier than those on its older brother, in a good way. The redesigned bumpers feel much more satisfying to push; something I see as a clear improvement over their predecessors, as the 360's bumpers were a bit spongy for my taste.
The new home button is a flat, slightly raised button as opposed to the half-sphere from its predecessor. The lighting on the home button is sleek and it has a soft, non-clicky push to it that feels comfortable.
The share and menu buttons — replacements to back and start, respectively — are a bit spongier than their 360 counterparts, but it's up in the air as to whether or not this will be better or worse than what we've become accustomed to.
My biggest doubt hinges on the d-pad; The 360's was god-awful, no doubt. The Xbox One features a plus-shaped, non-floating d-pad. The d-pad itself feels solid and satisfyingly clicky, but I'm just not sold on using this for, say, a fighting game.
I have a sneaking suspicion some will find the controller uncomfortably small, but the majority of gamers should have no problem getting their hands around this comfortable, well-weighted controller.
All in all the Xbox One Controller feels like a decent evolution of the stellar Xbox 360 controller, even if it doesn't come off as a clear improvement right off the bat.
The Xbox One's controller will undoubtedly prove to be a standout this generation, and once we're collectively used to it, could even dethrone the reigning king.