First Impressions: Wii U Pro Controller
Posted by Damien McFerran
We go hands on with one of the most important Wii U accessories
With games like Bayonetta 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 blazing a trail to the Wii U very soon, the need for a decent 'traditional' joypad is obvious. Nintendo is making sure 'core' games will play as well as possible by producing the Wii U Pro Controller, a device which boasts an uncanny resemblance to the Xbox 360 pad.
However, with some rather worrying reports regarding the overall quality of this new pad, we were keen to check it out ourselves before getting too excited about pulling off massive, multi-hit combos in the aforementioned Bayonetta 2. Thankfully, earlier this week we got chance to do just that at Eurogamer Expo 2012.
First things first, the pad is very light - just as Kotaku's Brian Ashcraft stated. However, despite the lack of heft, it still feels like a quality product, and exhibits no signs of creaking or warping when held in a tight grip. Another complaint that Ashcraft had was the subtle nature of the rumble feature, which is something else we can concur with. Amid the hustle and bustle of the packed Eurogamer Expo it was hard to discern any real vibration from the pad - in fact, if we hadn't have been consciously 'feeling' for it, chances are it would have passed us by entirely. Given the lack of power in the rumble, it does make you wonder if it's worth having at all, but our impressions might be different when we get to test it in a somewhat less hectic and crowded environment.
Beyond those points however, we're pleased to report that everything is as you would expect from a Nintendo peripheral. The buttons are responsive, although they are very different to those seen on the 360 controller. If you're comfortable with the buttons on your original Wii Classic Controller or Wii Remote, then you'll have little reason to moan here. The analog stick is also incredibly similar to the one on the Wii Nunchuk controller - and the one on the Wii U GamePad, for that matter. The same story applies to the 8-way D-pad, which is the same design that Nintendo has been using since the launch of the Wii and DS Lite many years ago.
We put the Wii U Controller Pro through a particularly hectic (and massively enjoyable) game of Rayman Legends during the Eurogamer Expo, and aside from the weak rumble, it performed admirably. It's a comfortable, responsive and well-constructed pad, which is pretty much all you can ask for with this type of controller. If you're still not convinced then you can always wait for the inevitable flood of third-party pads that will undoubtedly follow the launch of the system later this year, but we can't see any reason why anyone would be dissatisfied with this device - unless of course you're particularly interested in getting a strong level of force feedback during play.