reviews\ Dec 19, 2005 at 7:00 pm

Mad Catz Gamepad - 360 - Review

Take control of your gaming needs.

When you are playing a game what is one of the things that you always want? The answer to this, likely, is the best controller possible. For the most part I am a first-party controller junkie, due to bad past experiences with shoddy third-party controllers, I tend to stick with what the original hardware manufacturer produces. In spite of that, recently many third-party hardware companies have been producing controllers that I really have liked as much as the first-party controllers. Mad Catz is a company that created one of the better controllers for the original Xbox, and I was excited to get the chance to see what they have created for the Xbox 360. Read on to find out more about their Xbox 360 Game Pad Pro.

The Mad Catz Xbox 360 Game Pad Pro is a wired gamepad controller that looks very similar to the layout and feeling of the official Xbox 360 controller, but with a few slight modifications. One of the biggest differences players will notice is the rubber ridges on the handle prongs. This makes it really easy to hold on to the controller during those harsh gaming frenzies you might get yourself into. Another big difference to the controller is the plastic material that they used. Microsoft used a textured material that gives the controller some sort of refinement. While Mad Catz used a really shiny plastic material that gives the impression of being cheap and easily breakable. I only mention this because when some friends saw this controller for the first time, without touching it, they thought it was “cheaply” made. When actually using the controller it does not really feel this way, but it sure looks it, especially when you compare it side by side with the official controller.

Another adjustment Mad Catz made to the controller is with the button layouts. Instead of the Start and Back button being on either side of the Xbox Guide button they are now located on the top of the controller. The only problem with this move is that if you have used the first-party controller for a while it will take a bit to get adjusted to where they are located, especially if you are in the middle of a fight, but after some time passes you will get used to it.

The biggest changes to the controller they made are to the shoulder buttons and triggers. The shoulder buttons are a lot bigger on this controller, which makes them easier to hit during the heat of battle online and against your friends. Also the distance between the triggers and shoulder buttons has been increased so you will not accidentally hit one when you are trying to hit the other.

The negative changes to this controller are the analog stick and the Xbox Guide button. First off the analog sticks now sit a lot higher then the official Xbox controller. Since this is the case it seems like it is harder to be more accurate when using the sticks and pushing them down to crouch in various games. Also the Xbox Guide button on the controller is very puny and “sick” looking in comparison to the official one. It is less prominent and smaller then the one found on the official controller.

One last feature that this controller has is that they have included an invert-switch button that allows players to instant invert the controls for any game that they are waiting to play. Even though the Xbox 360 allows you to customize your profile to do this, this addition is really nice for those that only like this option for certain games.

The Xbox 360 Game Pad Pro will cost you an estimated $34.99.

Review Scoring Details for Xbox 360 Game Pad Pro

Mad Catz did a few things right with this controller such as the making the shoulder buttons bigger and putting more of a gap between them and the trigger buttons. Another nice addition was the invert-switch located on the back of the controller.

The cost for this controller is pretty high, especially considering that for five dollars more you can get the official wired controller and for 15 more you can get the official wireless controller. Also the poor-looking case material and weak-looking Xbox Guide button did not help things either.

Verdict: 7.8
The latest controller by Mad Catz has both some benefits and bad drawbacks to it that really prevent it from being one of the better controllers out on the market. Hopefully with some more time and extra “tweaking” they will be able to perfect their highly esteemed controller to be able to compete with the official ones; until that time happens their latest controller, the Xbox 360 GamePad Pro, which works fine, just can not compete with the official first-party ones.


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