Release Date: 11/18/12
The Good: Design highly influenced by Xbox 360 controller, amazing D-pad, better for more “traditional, hardcore gamers”, good for shooting games, uses Bluetooth which means it easily connects to computers, 80 hours of battery life
The Bad: A little difficult to get used to, triggers are not pressured sensitive and don’t feel good, thumbsticks in weird positions, strange ergonomics
Most of the time when you hear the word “rip-off” you associate it with something negative, but in the case of the Wii U Pro Controller, his is not true. Sure, it may borrow heavily from the Xbox 360 controller but that is certainly not a bad thing. It’s obviously made for more-hardcore games and works well with games such as Injustice and Black Ops 2. For Black Ops 2 it’s actually my preferred method of playing.
First, let’s talk about what it does better than the Xbox 360 controller (I’m not even going to mention the PS3 Controller). The D-pad is, as to be expected with a Nintendo controller, great. It’s in a weird place but I’d take these D-pad’s over the Xbox’s any day. The battery life is ridiculous, and I mean that in a good way. It takes about 2-3 hours to charge and can last up to 80 hours! 80 freaking hours! It also charges using a USB cord which is a major plus because that means you can charge it using your computer. Finally, it uses Bluetooth meaning it can easily pair to computers, especially if you have a Mac. You just need to install an unofficial Pro Controller driver and boom- it’s ready.
The controller is very lightweight, which some people may like and others may not. It does not need to connect to a Wii remote or anything which is great. Unfortunately, most Wii U games that are not ports do not support the Pro Controller. That’s not the only negative though. The triggers are not pressure sensitive like the Xbox 360 ones, just as they are on the Gamepad, meaning that racing games are way less precise and even shooters feel a little off. They also feel pretty clunky and slightly unresponsive.
The grip on the controller feels a little weird and the placement of the two analog sticks is unusual but you’ll get used to it pretty quickly. Since the Wii U Pro Controllers is very glossy and shiny (just like the Wii U itself) it collects dust very easily, so while it may look really sparkly at first it will quickly become a dirty mess which is quite annoying. I installed the only available Pro Controller driver for my Mac and it works fine but the analog sticks aren’t recognized as analog sticks- they are instead recognized as “Up, Down, Left, Right” meaning it isn’t much more precise than a keyboard itself.
All in all, if you’re the kind of gamer who loves the Wii U but prefers the normal controller when possible, the Wii U Pro Controller is for you. Sure, a lot of games don’t support it, but if you plan on getting many multiplatform titles on the Wii U than the Pro Controller is your best choice for a more traditional play style.