Round-Up: Console Controller Comparison

Why does a controller matter?
The controller is an oft-forgotten but key part of the gaming experience. At the end of the day it’s the only thing where the player is physically connected to what’s happening in-game so it really is significant! I’m surprised that more isn’t made of controllers when new games and new consoles are considered and reviewed, so I thought I would collect together my thoughts on the three main console controllers; Xbox One, PS4 and Switch – just looking at the standard ones that some in the box. I believe there are two main things that make a good controller: responsiveness and comfort.

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Responsiveness
The controller needs buttons that feel completely responsive, to remove as much of the barrier between the player’s actions and what happens on screen as possible. Any disparity, such as latency between button press and action, or even just the feeling that the button is harder/easier to press than it should be and the immersion of the gamer in the game is lessened.

Comfort
The controller needs to be comfortable simply due to the length of time that it will be held by the gamer. Even a quick 5 minute thrash around a track in a racing game it a fairly long time to tightly hold on to something like that, let alone the multi-hour sessions that a lot of us get involved in. If the shape, weight or feel of the controller isn’t great it’s ultimately going to hurt!

Controller Comparison: Xbox One

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The Xbox Controller has evolved over the years from the massive ‘Duke‘ controller that came out with Halo in 2002 all the way through to the recently released ‘Elite‘ controller for Xbox One. I believe that the Xbox controller is the best available right now because it really nails one of the above criteria – responsiveness. The basic feel of it in the hand is fine, if nothing remarkable, but every single button, be it face buttons to triggers just feels right in-game. The triggers are smooth for accelerating and braking vehicles and also quick for firing weapons. The shoulder buttons are easy to press for changing settings but also solid for throwing punches and other melee attacks. The face buttons are heavy enough for precision timing without being too heavy for quick button-bashing. They really have nailed it!

Controller Comparison : Playstation 4, ‘Dual Shock 4’

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The current Dual Shock excels in the other stipulation above – comfort. Although I have some issues with the buttons being slightly spongy and their placement being odd (why are the triggers the bottom of the controller? They often catch on things) these minor gripes are made up by the great feel in the hand. The wider size compared to previous Dual Shocks is a better fit and the weight and depth of the controller feels great even after extended gaming sessions.

Controller Comparison : Nintendo Switch, ‘Joy Cons’

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These are a totally different beast from the two controllers above. They are designed for a different purpose as the need for them to be easy to take off and used in multiple ways – on the console, by themselves or together on the grip – is more important than their responsiveness or comfort. In some ways the Pro Controller for Nintendo Switch would be a closer comparison but I really wanted to compare only what you get in-the-box here. What’s great about the Joy Cons actually is that they don’t have to skimp too far in order to achieve their versatility. Whilst in a direct fight they would be third best here in both responsiveness or comfort they actually get remarkably close considering all the things they need to be able to do.

Verdict
All three of the controllers that you get in the box with these current consoles have their strengths. And all three are decent in the other areas too. It’s crazy to think how far we’ve come: 15 years ago I would have been putting down the original Xbox controller and picking up a Dual Shock 2 and not enjoying the feel of either in my hands. With these controllers available today we really are spoilt!

What about you? Which is your favourite controller on consoles at the moment? And which is your favorite ever?! Let us know in the comments below.

Click here to purchase the Xbox Controller from Amazon.co.uk:

Click here to purchase the Dual Shock 4 from Amazon.co.uk:

Click here to purchase the Joy Cons from Amazon.co.uk:

In addition, click here to purchase the gGrip for the Joy Cons from Amazon.co.uk:

And lastly, if you’re interested, here is the Pro Controller for Switch from Amazon.co.uk:

E3 Round Up

So the three current console manufacturers, alongside a number of publishers, have had their E3 showcases for 2017. A lot of drama and arguments have been had online about it all so I’m going to keep my summary positive and mention the top 3 games for each console that I am now looking forward to after the expo. At the end of the day – there is plenty of great gaming to be done here, there’s no need to argue about it!

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Forza Motorsport 7
– it’s Forza. Thus it will be amazing!
Super Lucky’s Tale
– I love the idea of having a fun and light hearted game to play with The Boy on Xbox.
Crackdown 3
– the first one was superb, the second only ok. Hopefully this can get back to it’s original heights.

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Super Mario Odyssey
– it’s Super Mario. Thus it will be amazing!
Yoshi
– totally loving the look of the art style of this one. Betting it plays great too.
Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle
– this game was rumoured and I was unconvinced, but by the look of the showcase it will be awesome!

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Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
– it’s Uncharted. Thus it will be amazing!
Detroit Become Human
– this kind of reminds me of Quantum Break in some ways. I always like a bit of Sci-Fi.
Spiderman
– of all the various superheroes, Spiderman ought to be the one who translates best to a video game. Let’s see if this one finally nails it!

What about you? Which games are you looking forward to most after the E3 showcases? Let us know in the comments below!

REVIEW: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

  • Released: 2016
  • Played on: Xbox One
  • Also available on: PC, PS4
  • Time to get into: 1 hour
  • Time to complete: 10 hours

As you can see from my all time top games list, the original Mirror’s Edge is one of my favourite games. I enjoyed the story and the ending was great but mainly it was simply the running that was fantastic. The feeling of freedom when nailing the flow of a run over a few minutes was awesome.

So now with this sequel/prequel/reboot/whoreallyknows Mirror’s Edge Catalyst moving away from planned-out levels to an open world, would that feeling of joyful abandon as you raced across and over the City of Glass remain? And would it live up to it’s predecessor?

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The answer is a bit of both. Whilst the running is still fantastic, in Catalyst there is very very little to back it up. The rest of the game is poor and frustrating and ultimately pulls the game down from the heights of the previous title.

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The parkour aspect of just running as fast as you can through the city is actually even better in this open world. You can go wherever you like and I often found myself just running for the pure joy of it, forgetting where I was actually supposed to be heading at that moment. As you run you pick up speed and then if you can nail every jump, every slide, every vault, every cable and every swing perfectly you keep that momentum – that is what really drives this game: the desire to stay at full speed for as long as possible.

Of course sometimes you do find yourself in a dead end and have to back out but as soon as you get going again the thrill takes over once more. This video illustrates the flowing, tumbling, graceful joy of Catalyst:

Running Running Running Running from The Gamer Boys on Vimeo.

Unfortunately, everything that is built around the running – the collectibles, the missions and the story – do not even get close to the same heights and ultimately let the game down as a package.

Collectibles

I’m not even sure these should be here at all. Having to stop and look around for things goes entirely against the whole ‘running’ concept. I gave up on trying to get them all very early and I’m going to give up writing about them very early too!

Missions

The various types of missions range from simple point to point ‘Dashes‘ to full on story driven set pieces. Outside of the main story though the types of mission quickly blend into one – essentially ‘run over there as fast as you can’. The game attempts to dress this up in different ways but it quickly becomes repetitive. However, there is the benefit that you learn a lot about the quickest ways to get around by doing these runs!

Another mechanic that doesn’t totally work is the ‘Runner Vision’. This is a visual indicator to where you should head for your current goal and it thus a great guide to help you stay at full tilt without running off far away from your destination. Unfortunately, it’s not terribly consistent and so you often find yourself stood looking around for the red dash rather than heading towards your goal. It’s a great idea that’s not quite perfectly implemented.

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Story

I’m so disappointed by this. The story somehow manages to be confusing and also thoroughly predictable and derivative. The cut scenes are full of bluster rather than character as a group of people you don’t particularly care about shout at each other. Even main character Faith seems one dimensional compared to the original Mirror’s Edge. The whole thing feels like an uninspiring drag keeping you away from running. The end is even worse – not only do you watch the most exciting part rather than be able to take part in it but it ultimately comes quickly and suddenly. No feeling of achievement or fulfilment.

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Verdict

I’m torn on this game. Without the running it would be genuinely terrible – it has next to no redeeming values otherwise. But the joy of flying up and over and around and through the skyscrapers is amazing and very very nearly makes this game great. If you can find it for a good price then grab it to do some running – just don’t expect the rest of the game to have any longevity.

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Click below to purchase the game from Amazon.co.uk:


REVIEW: Forza Motorsport 6

  • Released: 2015
  • Played on: Xbox One
  • Also available on: PC

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By Source, Fair use, Link

Short Review: The pure gameplay in Forza 4 and 5 was already amazing – the graphics and the detail in the handling and the depth of the races already spectacular. Where Forza 6 took this to the next level was the clear love of racing that ran through it’s blood – and dragged you into it’s world.
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REVIEW: Quantum Break

  • Released: 2016
  • Played on: Xbox One
  • Also available on: PC

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By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, Link

Short Review: A real effort was put into this to make it feel like you were playing the main part in an great action movie/tv show and it nails it. The story is great and the live action sequences combine really well with it but still it rests on really solid gameplay and often stunning graphics.
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REVIEW: Forza Horizon 3

  • Released: 2016
  • Played on: Xbox One
  • Also available on: PC

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By Source, Fair use, Link

Short Review: I was unimpressed by the open world of Horizon 2 but this one gets back to the unbridled joy of the first one without losing the complete freedom of the open world. The sheer number of different cars, events and environments that you move smoothly through is spectacular.
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