Finding the perfect video game console is an extremely important process, as you often commit to ecosystems within each console, and their libraries, achievement systems and friend lists that go along with them. However, equally important is finding the right controller, and what suits your hands right without cramping, or hurting after long sessions. After all, you’re going to be holding these things in your hands for hours on end, so you better find something that fits your playstyle!
Want to find out more about the different shapes and sizes of controller currently out there on the market? Here are some different control types and schemes from across the board and consoles.
Xbox Elite Controller
Starting off with one of the strongest offerings on the market currently, the Xbox Elite Controller is an expensive piece of kit to invest in compared to some of the more traditional controllers that come packed in with consoles, but it’s an impressive upgrade. An improved rubberised grip and adjustable tension on the analog sticks make it even more fine-tuned than the already great standard Microsoft offering, and the modular design means that you can customise the layout how you see fit.
An award-winning controller that sits firmly at the top of the competition on the market, the elite controller is currently in its second iteration. Many PlayStation fans are hoping that Sony eventually follows suit and releases a similar ‘elite’ controller for the PS4, but judging by the fact that the PS5 launch is approaching anyway, we might just have to wait for new hardware entirely for an update on the DualShock 4.
Mouse and Keyboard
Sure, console gaming is accessible, affordable, and largely the same as PC gaming, but in terms of a control scheme, sometimes the accuracy of a mouse and keyboard combo is incomparable, particularly when playing games in the FPS and MOBA genre.
It seems that both have their benefits, however, as things like driving games, platformers and fighting games are typically preferred with a controller. Most PC players will actually have a controller stashed away that is compatible with their PC (be it a 360, Xbox One or even DualShock 4 controller), just in case they need it to ever play one of those games. I suppose that’s score one for the controller.
Adaptability – Much like how companies such as Abstraction games work to bring games to different platforms and engines, PC gamers have the benefit of being able to use a wide range of controllers and controller setups through workarounds. If you’re someone that wants to use your console controllers on your PC, for example, there will likely be a smart way of doing it that someone’s thought of.
Nintendo Joy Con
The dual controllers that attach to Nintendo’s flagship hybrid console the Nintendo Switch, the Joy Con attachments might just look like simply analogue sticks with buttons that slide on and off the main tablet device, but in fact they pack quite a bit of tech in under the hood. Not only do the controllers pack in an advanced, almost haptic feedback-like vibration known as ‘HD rumble’, but they also include motion controls, an IR sensor, and even a NFC chip that can read external devices and Amiibo figurines.
For those playing on their Nintendo Switch that want something a little more traditional perhaps, Nintendo offers a pro controller that packs in many of the features into the more general form factor. You can even get collectable, ‘limited edition’ versions of these controllers based around certain video games, such as Xenoblade Chronicles or Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but good look finding them for a decent price!
This choice here isn’t a specific controller per say, but rather a whole category of fighting game centered controllers that competitive players swear by. Emulating the classic arcade button layout with a joystick and matching four or six button combinations, these pieces of hardware are perfect for gamers that want the next best thing to the arcade experience from the comfort of their own home.
One of the reasons for their popularity is that combo moves – something crucial for success in fighting games – are much easier to pull off. If you want to up your game in the fighting world or just emulate the arcade feel a bit more, these might be something to look into, but be aware of the fact that you might not really be able to use it with many other game types.