The Microsoft elite controller has been out for a while so it’s about time we got a review up after many months of intensive use. When it came out I wasn’t sure if the slightly heftier price tag was worth it and I was slightly hesitant to shell out for one. A combination of getting into competitive Destiny PvP and finding my local game store had one left made me cave in and I have to say it was definitely worth the money.
I’ve now had mine for over nine months and it has been fantastic. The controller comes with a great little kit of spare parts to make it exactly how you want it. There are the four paddles for the back of the controller, a choice of three types of thumb stick (regular Xbox, extended thumb sticks and Playstation style convex thumb sticks) and two different D-pads. All of the components are very easy to fit, they simply snap into place magnetically and if you want to remove them again they can be twisted and unsnapped without any risk of breaking. I personally only use two paddles but with all four in place you’ll be smashing out trick shots in no time.
The extra paddles can really enhance your gaming experience particularly in many FPS based games. The paddles allow for aiming while jumping, reviving while shooting and anything else you can programme it to do. I have to say the exhilaration the first time I clutched a headshot while reviving a team mate made me glad I’d paid extra for the controller. The button mapping can also be programmed so you have two pre-sets on one controller allowing you to switch between optimum layouts for two different games. On mine I have a Destiny pre-set and an Overwatch preset, in destiny I can do jump shots and revive plays, in Overwatch I can use my ultimates and special abilities while aiming and running in a way that wouldn’t be possible normally.
trick shots and clutch plays aside, economy is king in this case. The moving parts are all reassuringly sturdy and made of metal rather than the usual plastic and it makes for a far more durable controller. I would say from personal experience the lifespan of a regular Xbox controller is about 4-6 months before the first signs of wear and tear occur. The usual annoying symptoms of the controller’s decline are unresponsive thumb sticks or thumb sticks slowly tracking in random directions while the controller isn’t being used. I have also found in the past that the shoulder buttons frequently stop responding properly after about the same amount of time, obviously this is frustrating and can hamper effective gameplay. Given that the elite is around twice as expensive as a normal controller you might ask why buy one when you could just buy another cheaper controller? I would say this, I have had mine for nine months now and it still hasn’t shown any signs of deteriorating in the same time period I could be on my way to a third regular controller so in my opinion it has already paid for itself. Given the added functionality and reprogramming options that you have and it really is an option worth considering.
Compared to the cost of say a scuff controller, the elite is also priced favourably. Scuff controllers shade it on the price front by about £10 but that’s before any extras are added. the elite comes with the whole shebang for £110 these days and given that the scuff models can reach fairly eye-watering prices upwards of £200, I would say Microsoft are on to a winner here. The hair triggers on the elite controller are far easier to adjust than the rather more DIY options on the scuff range and the paddles are far more ergonomic with some users complaining that the paddles on scuff variants can be rather cumbersome and obstructive. Although this one is more of a matter of personal preference, on price Microsoft have definitely won this battle, on functionality it is perhaps a bit closer.