The Xbox goes Pro
with the Mad Catz controller offering.
Mad Catz has been around for several major consoles over the last 10 years
producing third Party peripherals. The Control Pad Pro is a culmination
of the company's experience in the field.
The first thing that people will notice about the pad is that it is slimmer
than Microsoft's offering in the controller market. This enables people
with more "normal" sized hands to position their thumbs correctly.
It is the button positioning that is one of the few drawbacks to the Control
Pad Pro, but that really can't be pinned on Mad Catz. Microsoft designed
the "black" and "white" buttons so far up, that a lot of gamers won't be
able to reach them. A slightly tighter button arrangement could have been
beneficial, but isn't essential.
The biggest improvement over Microsoft's controller is the D-pad. Instead
of the round pad on Microsoft's controller, Mad Catz has replaced it with
a more traditional styled pad. This helps avoid any confusion when navigating
menus and such. The D-pad is fuly directional, so no functionality is lost.
The control sticks are a little loose (in a good way), which helps with
games in need of fluid gameplay, such as Dead or Alive 3. The addition
of a "Macro" button helps in those fighting games where button combinations
are key. Positioned in the middle (between the D-pad and the right analog
controller) the button is more accessible to the left thumb than the right.
Trigger buttons have some "give" to them, especially useful in racing games
where varied acceleration is needed.
The other main addition to the Control Pad Pro is the rubberized grips.
This of course will help keep your hands from slipping after several hours
of sweaty gameplay.
Overall, this is an excellent controller, with more functionality than
Microsoft's (more expensive) controller. The fact that it costs less than
the first party controller is a major plus, but many gamers will want it
for the slightly smaller size and added functions. At $34.99, the difference
in price over the standard Control Pad may turn away some gamers.
Daniel "monk" Pelfrey