Looking deeper at the consoles post launch: The Xbox One Controller
Unlike the DualShock 4, the Xbox One’s controller was not love at first sight.
More importantly, it wasn’t love at first feel, either. Compared to the 360 controller, the Xbox One’s controller felt awkward and clumsy. Sure, the design remains relatively unchanged, but something still felt off. It was a slightly taller, a bit clunky, and had a pretty alien feel in my hands.
Granted, over time I had come to love and adore everything about the controller, but still, I can’t shake that first encounter. I wanted nothing to do with it. I wanted my 360 controller back. Essentially, it was the exact opposite reaction when compared to the DualShock 4.
Over time, my opinion has shifted for the better. The controller is probably a bit clunkier due to the fact that it’s sturdier. The triggers have been vastly improved; they’re incredibly comfortable and their resistance is at a perfect level, but the vibration feature has proven to be really needed. That being said, it ultimately feels erratic for when it’s used when playing games such as Forza 5.
Compared to the competition, this is where the Xbox One’s controller ultimately falls flat. Others have made great strides to differentiate their offerings; the DualShock 4 is a thing of beauty and the Wii U’s GamePad allows for Off-TV play. The best thing the Xbox One’s controller offers over its predecessors and competitors? Better battery life and a sturdier frame.
Second Opinion (Mike Splechta, Editor-in-Chief)
Jake's description of the Xbox One controller is pretty spot on. And while I never really felt the controller to be very alien to me, it did have a slightly different feel from what I was used to on the Xbox 360.
I think besides the obviously much sturdier build and improved triggers, the d-pad deserves an honorable mention. I loved the 360 controller, arguably to a fault, claiming it's one of the best controllers ever made. However, the d-pad was pretty horrendous. It was super squishy and never accurate enough for games that could have really benefited from it.
The Xbox One controller's d-pad is such an improvement. It did away with the circle d-pad design, and instead opted for a traditional four direction setup. Adding in a satisfying click whenever a direction is pressed increases its accuracy.
If there was one aspect of the controller that didn't quite sit right with me, it was the shoulder (bumper) buttons. Being slightly raised, they don't fall under my fingers as comfortably as they did on the 360 controller.