Performance and Other Features
If you're interested in buying a digital controller for a console in which most of its title require analog control, I'm sure you're expecting the tradeoff to be worthwhile. You're also expecting said controller to excel in its functions when taken to its most obvious genre, the fighting game. Well, I'm happy to say that for the most part, this pad delivers the goods and then some.
First of all, its light weight (partly achieved by removing the vibrating motors, so this pad has no rumble feature) makes it very easy to hold in a single hand, so you can emulate the posture you would use on a joystick: one hand handling the directions, the other hand hovering above the buttons (rather than holding the other side of the controller, only allowing the thumb to be used for button presses) so you can press multiple buttons at once with ease by using multiple fingers. This is very convenient for pulling out moves that require multiple button presses at once, such as taunts, focus attacks, grapples, and Ultra moves in Street Fighter IV. The buttons are also oversized, so even though they all have the same size and no added features to be able to tell which is which by touch alone, they are still very easy to discern which is which due to their spacing and size. It would have been a nice feature to have made the top buttons have a slight physical difference as other controllers have done, but during my playtime with it that has never been an issue.
The control pad itself is like an oversized version of the standard 360 directional pad, but it doesn't have the limited range of motion of the original 360 pad. It moves freely with little problem, and the pad is quite accurate in registering every input. I had no problem doing circular motions such as the fireball and dragon punch motions from Street Fighter, and performing even complex charging motions such as the one for Guile's Ultra move in Street Fighter IV became second nature after just a few bouts. It's still not as effective for performing the short jumps in King of Fighters as a joystick, but it's about as close as any pad I've used has come to it.
There's also a turbo button placed left of the back button that you hold down and then press any button on the pad to activate rapid fire functionality on that button. It works as expected, allowing you to pull off moves that require repeated button presses such as Chun Li's Lightining Kicks and E. Honda's Hundred Hand Slaps with ease. Unfortunately, there is only a single light, so you don't get an easy look to check which buttons have the rapid fire function enabled.
The bottom of the pad has the standard Xbox 360 headset connection jack, and the back of the controller has a switch that you can use to set the directional pad to send the inputs as the standard digital pad on a 360 controller, or as either of its two analog joysticks (of course, with no analog support, so it just sends the inputs as maxed analog movements).
Unfortunately, the controller is wired. Though it works in its favor if you consider the possibility of wireless input lag, it would have been nice to see a wireless version for the 360. I understand it has to do with licensing fees that Microsoft charges to use the 360's wireless technology, and it is sad that gamers have to lose out because of that.