PDP have developed many controllers over the years, but with the rise of the Microsoft Xbox One Elite contrloler comes an interesting turning point. With new controllers that have more features (along with higher price tags), what do third party companies do to compete?
I previously reviewed the PDP Mortal Kombat X fightPad which, whilst a well built controller in it's own right, wasn't exactly what I would've considered to be well weighted amongst other things (as it was missing crucial features like vibration etc). But that was before the Elite controller was even announced and I was pleased to be asked to review the Afterglow Prismatic Wired controller for Xbox One, as this has features that I thought, potentially, could begin to rival Microsoft's latest hard core gaming offering.
On the front of the box you'll notice a raised plastic area. This is a hologram/3d effect that when angled shows the controller in various colours according to the light.
Turn the box over so the hologram is facing downwards and peal off the small piece of adhesive material holding the top of the box to the back. (where the hanger is facing you).
You can now open the box just by pulling the section with the hanger on it towards you. Inside you can see an extra box/section of packaging that can simply be pulled out. Pull up the flap you can see inside the box and use that to help pull everything free in one go. However, be aware that an instruction manual and an additional sheet of paper will fall out as you do this.
Extracting the controller
Removing the controller from the packing that surrounds it now that it is free of the main box is a separate process altogether. Turn the controller so the analogue sticks face upwards. The USB cable which is quite easy to find can simply be pulled out of the packaging whilst still coiled, there is nothing sealing it to the rest of the box.
Remove the rather noticible tab at the front, and then the piece behind that can be pulled towards you and upwards. It'll allow you to then remove the controller from the box, being careful not to catch the analogue sticks in the process. After removing the unit from the box you will notice protective plastic covering the triggers and other areas that can simply be pealed away if you wish.
The controller feels sleek in the hands, with a wait not massively dissimilar to the standard controllers for the Xbox One. The weels on the back that are programmable are easy to notice, and the small circular button on the back of the controller won't be accidentally tapped.
Attaching the USB Cable
Attaching the cable is simple enough. Once the cable tie is removed, you can attach it making sure the small nodules on the end of the connector are facing downwards when you insert it into the port (which faces away fom you if you are holding the controller with the sticks facing upwards and DPad closest to you).
Upon Plugging the controller in, it will light up blue. When looking at the back of the controller, you will notice a small circle. This is the program button. Press once to set the LED's to a different colour using the analogue sticks to set the intensity/shade and the dpad to start an automatic colour scroll. (See the colour list below for the possible options (regardless of shades and intensities)).
Press the circular button on the back twice to program the wheels on the back of the controller. Then press the wheel in the direction you want to activate the button. Now press the button, stick direction, Dpad input or bumper (the triggers don't work with this) and that's it, you're done. This is, if you're quick, even possible to achieve in game.
Using the audio jack at the front of the controller is simple enough - plug in your 3.5 mm compatible headset and wait a little while for the audio to start streaming through. The lag is definitely not a problem for fighting games at the very least and there is no noticible lack of quality.
The vibration is very solid, even better than that available on the first party Xbox One controllers that came with my console although that is subjective in itself. Playing what I could of the Forza 6 demo, I will say I had a feeling of power with this controller's handling as well.
The Dpad in general works well with Killer Instinct and moves smoothly through the quarter circle motions required of most characters, most of the time. After more extensive testing, however, it became clear that the Dpad is what I can only describe as "mushy". I'll use an example to demonstrate, in the form of Fulgore's Blade Dash move from Killer Instinct. The input for this move is a quarter circle forward and then a kick button. However, with the prismatic controller, it seems essential to leave a very small gap between the input of the quarter circle and the kick button, unlike with the standard controller where this seems to be almost instantaneous. Whether this is just because I'm used to the standard controller, I'm not sure.
- light blue
Using this controller on the PC is near enough the same as on the Xbox One. Just plug in and play. Karateka worked well, with the wheels being able to be used as block and stun buttons. Everything works, as far as I could tell during testing, the same way as it does when the unit is connected to a console.
Though the Prismatic is a confident controller, with a solidly built design, it contains hardware issues that could potentially be fixed at a software level (the controller needing to be unplugged and plugged back in after setting a new colour scheme). However, if you want a controller that is relatively inexpensive, has a few extra features compared to first party offerings and doesn't need numerous sets of batteries or a play and charge kit, you've got a good choice in the Prismatic Wired controller for Xbox One. Though the lights may be a novelty feature, the superior vibration compared to the standard Xbox one wireless controllers and programable wheels (all for a lower price than the much touted Elite controller) make this a good option to consider.
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