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Microsoft Xbox One Elite Wireless Gaming Controller Review

By: Simon Hutchinson | Game Controllers in Peripherals | Posted: Jan 31, 2016 7:06 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: Microsoft

Playing games with the controller

 

Obviously, if the controller does not feel good in the hand, it does not matter how much of a premium device it may look, it's a failure. Thankfully, this is not the case with the Xbox One Elite controller. As you would expect, Microsoft has retained the general shape of the device from the original controller meaning that it is instantly familiar. However, those of you who don't like using heavy controllers may want to try before you buy because this device is heavier than the original controller.

 

 

During our testing, we focused on three titles, each completely different from the other which gave us a clear impression as to how this controller adapts to different genres. The titles were FIFA 16, Oxenfree, Killer Instinct Season 2, and Rainbow Six Siege. We feel that these titles represent a broad base of the games available on the Xbox One system and unsurprisingly each genre left us with different thoughts about the need and use of this premium device.

 

 

FIFA 16

 

microsoft-xbox-one-elite-wireless-gaming-controller-review_5

 

This controller does feel somewhat overkill for sports games. In general, most sports games have decent control schemes and generally do not require the lightning quick reflexes of some other genres such as first person shooters. One thing we found hard to get used to was the paddles at the back. We just kept hitting them when trying to use the controller. They can, of course, be removed easily, so this is not a major issue with the device.

 

We also don't feel we gained much of an advantage using the controller. Although one of the positives was that mapping the face buttons helped when it comes to playing both Pro Evolution Soccer and FIFA at the same time (by default these have separate button configurations that can see you pressing pass instead of shoot.)

 

 

Oxenfree

 

Oxenfree is a story driven RPG game that does not demand a huge amount from the player and instead enthralls the player with its story and atmosphere. Again, like FIFA, using the controller just seemed overkill and it really did not suit this genre (other than the fact, of course, it can act as a regular Xbox One controller). This may seem like a weird choice for us to pick as a game to test the device with, but we wanted to cover even the most passive style of game to see how this controller really stacks up over the library of Xbox One games.

 

 

Killer Instinct Season 2

 

microsoft-xbox-one-elite-wireless-gaming-controller-review_6

 

This was one of the games we were most eager to try because of the new DPAD dome that ships with the device. Fighting games are notoriously difficult to control on a regular gamepad. The most serious fans shell out hundreds of dollars for a top of the line arcade stick, so we were keen to see if Microsoft's simple fix could improve the experience.

 

The answer is a resounding yes. While the controller still does not give you the finesse a regular arcade stick will, it certainly is a massive improvement upon that which the default controller gives you. The dome instead of just having a four-way divot, has numerous divots which give a much wider scope of control than the regular gamepad. It would be nice if Microsoft took this particular feature down to the regular controller as an option because it certainly is a major improvement.

 

 

Rainbow Six Siege

 

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This was again a game we were very keen to try as this really represents the hardcore spectrum of the test. Rainbow Six Siege is a very difficult game, with very tight gunplay and requires a very high level of precision to be successful. Quick reflexes are also needed. This made it the perfect test for this gamepad.

 

Again, the game felt improved with this controller. The hair trigger locks were particularly useful with this game, and while it could be coincidence, we found it much easier to get headshots and our reflex time did seem quicker. This is the type of game Microsoft was no doubt thinking of when it designed the Elite controller, and it performs well. The paddles at the back of the controller also came in use during this game, and we found the paddles quicker to access than the face buttons in the heat of combat.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

We have to be honest, at E3 when Microsoft announced the Xbox One Elite controller, we wondered where the market was beside the professional market and if the gaming community was willing to pay $149 for what at the time felt like a slightly improved, customizable controller.

 

However, we were wrong. The Xbox One Elite controller has so many benefits to it (customizability, easily change parts, add more controls such as the paddles and a new style of DPAD) that it's hard to recommend the regular pack in controller as a primary device.

 

Microsoft clearly knew that this product could be a tough sell so implemented easy ways to change the device on-the-fly and also a very tight software tool that allows to remap keys and store an almost unlimited amount of configurations that can be loaded onto the controller at any time.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance95%
Quality including Design and Build90%
General Features95%
Bundle and Packaging95%
Value for Money90%
Overall TweakTown Rating93%

The Bottom Line: We were unsure if the asking price of $149 for the Microsoft Xbox One Elite wireless gaming controller would be worth it, but after trying it and putting it through its paces, we can recommend it.

    We at TweakTown openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion of our content. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here.

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