News Article

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.

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User Comments (57)

LEGEND_MARIOID

#1

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Sounds like there is little to worry about with the pro controller. I approve of its similarities to the classic controller pro and Xbox controller. Thing is though, it cost about £35! Doubt, therefore I'll get it straight away. Thanks for the impressions.

akabenjy

#4

akabenjy said:

I've already preordered and paid for mine AU$78. I got a black one to match my Wii U. I'm going to use it mainly for VC games actually (I hope it's compatible).

Lan

#8

Lan said:

How is it compared to the Classic Controller Pro? I loved that, it was so light and the buttons were awesome, the only thing that sucked was the D-pad.

GazPlant

#9

GazPlant said:

The fact that there are analogue style triggers which are digital really bothered me, it's a VERY strange design choice

MAB

#10

MAB said:

@StarDust Yeah I hope it does too because my black classic controller pro will go well with the WiiU and I don't really care for rumble anyway while playing VC ;) which will be my only use for the CCP. Wiimote + Nunchuk and WiiU Gamepad for everything else will suffice :)

Nintenjoe64

#11

Nintenjoe64 said:

I'm with Stardust.

I already have 3 working wiimotes with motion plus add ons, a broken wiimote and 2 classic controllers. I don't really want to buy a controller that has the same buttons as something I already own 2 of.

To be honest I am more interested in playing games with the wiimote and nunchuk combo than on a classic controller. I think that is the worst part of the wii u is that they are going back to traditional controls for all those ports. No other console FPS controls match CoD4 or MoHH2 on wii.

rjejr

#12

rjejr said:

How much better is it than playing with the Gamepad, which seems to have the same set of buttons in the same layout? Is it really worth the $ investment? More importantly, won't you be giving up something in every game, either a simple touch inventory system, world map, zoom, radar or all of the above?
It almost seems like the WiiU should come with the Pro and you'ld to pay extra to get all the cool screen enhancements, not the other way around.

Zyph

#13

Zyph said:

The amount or strength of the rumble is dependent on the game and the developers. We can't say for sure that the rumble is "weak" in all games.

luminalace

#16

luminalace said:

I know I will be fine with it, however a slightly bigger D-pad is something I wish for on all Nintendo consoles. Again though, I own a PS3 and Xbox 360 too but give me a Nintendo D-pad anyday!

grimbldoo

#17

grimbldoo said:

I've been playing SF4 on my 3DS for so long, I just don't know what I'll do without rumble! Oh...wait a minute...it doesn't have rumble. Well, looks like I won't be missing out.

AlexFirth91

#19

AlexFirth91 said:

I'm probably going to ask my mom for it lol, only cause I'm broke and want to buy Assassin's Creed 3.

hamae

#20

hamae said:

If the Wii U pad already have everything, why bother with the Controller Pro?

6ch6ris6

#21

6ch6ris6 said:

i still don't understand the purpose of this controller.
the WiiU-pad has everything you need to play "oldschool".

Aviator

#22

Aviator said:

Cause perhaps people don't want to have to pick up something the size of a brick to play a game that may not use the gamepad at all?

AddADashOfSalt

#23

AddADashOfSalt said:

Cool, but I sorta doubt I'm getting this, unless I'd need it to play GameCube games on the eShop.... if GameCube games make it to the eShop...

ultrasann

#24

ultrasann said:

I've played my Classic Controller so much that I forget about rumble. However, I'm glad that the WUP has it, at least.

Nintendoro

#29

Nintendoro said:

i like pro controller. "weak" rumble is good idea meaning it'll have longer battery life. I somehow think it could be my favorite controller for most games on Wii U since I hate playing while charging

rjejr

#30

rjejr said:

@grimbldoo Well that makes sense, thanks. Guess I'll try to stick to multiplayer games that will work with my 4 Wiimotes and nunchucks so that I don't need to buy another controller, my living room is covered with them.

Mk_II

#31

Mk_II said:

I wasnt too worried.. Nintendo knows how to make a decent controller and they know how important they are

drumsandperc92

#33

drumsandperc92 said:

i think it's very clear why this controller is necessary, for those who seemed confused by it.
The Wii U will support 2 gamepads, as Nintendo has said, but framerate will be cut in half when 2 pads are being used.
One of the Wii U's selling points is asymmetrical gameplay, so while most multiplayer games will use Wii U pad and wii motes, some games are obviously designed to be best suited for a standard controller.
The Wii U pad has a giant screen slapped in the middle of a standard controller, essentially.
Therefore for multiplayer, you may not need that second screen and cut in frame rate, so why not just have essentially the same controller minus the screen?
And there you have the Pro Controller.
I don't imagine it would be used for much more than multiplayer games, that don't want asymmetrical gameplay (looking mostly at multi platform games).
That, and Gamecube games that come out on the VC.
This looks much better to me than the classic controller pro for the Wii, so i'm happy to have it.
As far as VC games you needn't buy this new controller unless it's GC games, but for multiplayer multiplatform titles, this was an easy decision for Nintendo to use this controller.
Also, i'd definitely pick this over a wii mote sideways any day of the week (i imagine it'll function just the same)
I'll be getting one of these some time after i get a Wii U, once i find it necessary.
I can foresee Super Smash making a lot of use of this controller.

KingDunsparce

#34

KingDunsparce said:

Hope I'm not disappointed, my favorite controller is currently still the GameCube's. (although I may be a bit bias because that was my first home-console and favorite system) :)

SomeBitTripFan

#35

SomeBitTripFan said:

I am fine with a small amount of rumble, my PS2 controller can vibrate out of my hands its' rumble is so violent.

Shining-Void

#36

Shining-Void said:

I never really cared for rumble. I mean honestly, how many games make good use of it. Most games I play have rumble just to... rumble.

Moshugan

#37

Moshugan said:

Sounds fine, except I still can't see why they couldn't have added analog triggers.
Further, it would have been better if there were motion sensors in this also! Seeing how high the price already is, it should have been fully featured. It would have given developers even more options.
Now it's just a Classic Controller Pro with clickable sticks.

Varia01

#38

Varia01 said:

If more people pay more attention to this weak device rather than the Wii U gamepad, I will make them pay, and it is a revenge they won't forget! BWAHAHAAHAHHAHAHAHAA!!! Just kiddin'. But I hope the Wii U gamepad is the real show, oh come on it has a SECOND SCREEN, WITH TOUCH SCREEN INTERACTIVITY, AND A GYROSCOPE. Did I made that clear, can you not spell that out???? The Wii U gamepad is better than your ordinary controller and that's final.

Shining-Void

#39

Shining-Void said:

@Varia01 Lol, tell it like it is. I for one won't be buying one of these remotes.When I could play with a shiny high-tech(looking) gamepad. Not to mention the miiverse functions, I don't want to switch remotes constantly.

skjia

#41

skjia said:

@akabenjy
I don't know 100% but from what I've read the pro controller won't be compatible with vc games. I hope that's wrong but I just wanted to give you a heads up.

gohanrage

#43

gohanrage said:

I hate the super Tiny D-Pad that was on the Gamecube, Wii Remote.

I want a Large D-Pad like on the N64 and SNES Controller

WaxxyOne

#44

WaxxyOne said:

The weak force-feedback is strange but is not a deal-breaker for me by any means. I'm going to give Nintendo the benefit of the doubt and assume they were trying to maximize battery life. I know several people who instantly turn off rumble on their wireless controllers to preserve batteries, so it may not be that bad of an idea to have a more subtle effect that doesn't suck juice. Ideally, however, they should leave that as an option that the user can adjust.

Still, good review and glad to hear it's not as bad as the previous review made it sound. I'm looking forward to bringing home one of these when I pick up my Wii U.

Chunky_Droid

#45

Chunky_Droid said:

I am seriously that used to controllers rumbling these days that I barely notice it anymore, so it's not a real issue for me.

Just need to know a price! It sounds like a must-have for me :)

Zombie_Barioth

#46

Zombie_Barioth said:

I like the shape of the gamepad but unless theres a game I want that requires it I won't be getting it. Between the WiiU pad, wiimote+nunchuck, and classic controller pro I should have enough controller options to keep me happy.

I don't really care about rumble either I'm so used to not having it and the games I've played that do use it only use for explosions and that sorta thing.I don't like lot of it either, like @SomeBitTripFan said the ps2 controller can shake really hard. I've watched mine move across the floor once.

Neram

#47

Neram said:

At least it does rumble, I hadn't even expected that. It's wireless, light, rumbles, and has the same feeling buttons that we're all used to. Sounds great to me!

Bryon15

#48

Bryon15 said:

I don't understand why they had to copy the xbox 360 design. Couldn't they have just used the gamecube controller design.

Araknie

#49

Araknie said:

@Bryon15 They did, it's the 360 that also evolved the Gamecube design, because the first Xbox controller was bad and on Gamecube Nintendo had plenty of FPSs and for the controller reason.

Samholy

#51

Samholy said:

rumble is just a candy. its fun, when i can totally play without it. i end up not noticing it anyway (on ps3)

Blizzaga

#54

Blizzaga said:

I'm used to Wavebirds and Classic Controller Pros, so a weak rumble won't be a problem for me at all.

Sean_Aaron

#56

Sean_Aaron said:

I'm trying to think of a reason for having this rather than just using the Gamepad to play everything, but I guess I'll have to use the Gamepad for playing a game that doesn't use the screen before I can answer that.

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