Gaming

Gamepad you can tailor to suit your needs

Short of moving the physical buttons, every other gameplay element of Xbox Elite Controller can be altered and modified to suit the needs of gamers. But this ability comes at a price.
Short of moving the physical buttons, every other gameplay element of Xbox Elite Controller can be altered and modified to suit the needs of gamers. But this ability comes at a price.PHOTO: MICROSOFT

Players can modify Xbox Elite Controller's buttons, D-pad, sticks and paddles

In a bid to push the Xbox One game console as a competitive gaming machine, Microsoft has come up with the Xbox One Elite Controller, a customisable gamepad that gives players full control of the device.

And short of moving the physical buttons, every other gameplay element of the controller can be altered and modified to suit the needs of gamers.

The first thing you will notice upon picking it up is the heft. The four shoulder buttons are now made of metal, and there's a solid grip to the device.

The Elite Controller comes with six analogue sticks, two D-pads and four paddles, and each can be attached to the main body with magnets. The unused bits sit nicely in a custom clamshell case that has a special cut-out foam piece for the spare parts.

For the sticks, there is the standard-height set with the concave grip, which has a similar stick height as a normal Xbox controller. There is a taller version of this, and a third set with a dome grip, with its height sitting between those of the other two.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $194.90

    SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: Xbox One, PC running Windows 7 or later versions

    AUDIO: 3.5mm stereo headset jack

    HAPTIC FEEDBACK: Impulse Triggers (supported games) and adjustable rumble motors

    WEIGHT: 348g (+/- 15g)

    CONNECTIVITY: Wireless/Wired

  • RATING

  • DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 5/5

    FEATURES: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

For the D-pads, the normal cross-shaped one is now metallic, and there is a new round plate version that is sunken to fit the curve of your thumb.

The new features are four paddles that can be attached to the rear of the controller. Players can remap the triggers for these four paddles. The idea is that every finger is now close to a button, paddle, knob or pad, maximising the ability of professional players in delivering those devastating moves.

Remapping the buttons requires the use of a PC or Xbox One, and once you are in the Xbox Accessories app, you can adjust the sensitivity of the buttons.

This is the bit that will surely confuse amateur players. The tweaks allow players to set how fast or slow the D-pad responds to your thumb, and how much pressure to apply to the shoulder buttons before it is recognised by the controller.

So instead of, say, squeezing hard and pressing the button all the way down when reloading a weapon, you can do so by just pressing down halfway. Or you can fire a weapon with a light tap.

So why, you might ask, is there a need for additional paddles that are a remap of existing button controls? It is because a jump can now be made by a twitch of your fourth finger, rather than moving your thumb over the original Xbox One buttons on the controller.

For racing-game fans, a gear shift can be remapped to one of the paddles, which are located closer to your fourth finger and pinky.

The sensitivity of the four paddles can also be adjusted. If all this is too much to handle, there are pre-mapped controls for popular games such as Halo and Forza, so that players only need to tweak the settings, instead of starting from scratch.

The catch is that the Elite Controller costs almost three times the price of a regular one, and does not come with rechargeable batteries.

So unless you want the dexterity that this controller offers, buying this for regular games might be overkill - the equivalent of buying a high-end laptop just to watch YouTube videos.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2016, with the headline 'Gamepad you can tailor to suit your needs'. Print Edition | Subscribe