Traditionally consoles have only ever gotten one controller across their life spans with small color variations that appear in order to generate some excitement around them. With the Xbox One we are treated to a completely unique and brand new Elite Controller that takes aspects of the normal Xbox One controller to then expand on them. While this sadly doesn't revolutionize the design of the standard Xbox One controller it definitely takes strides forward towards a more advanced controller design.
The Elite Controller has been designed with the pro in mind so this really isn't something that is necessary for every player. It's not going to instantly make you better, yet there's enough here to give those that use it properly an edge on the competition. I will say once more that this is something to improve your game or a discussion piece to show off for friends, you're not going to be at a total disadvantage without one. I just really don't want people to feel left out if they don't have the money for this and think they won't be able to compete with others.
On the other side of things this is a really awesome controller where it not only looks sleek, but also performs exceptionally well. Being for pros they had a lot of input from that community of games and it clearly shows with this design. The biggest thing to note aside from the look is the addition of four cross-hair triggers and customizable movement sticks. It's the small things that can make the biggest difference and that care is seen here. It also feels much more responsive to touch, the buttons along with the sticks are nicer to move around and it's customizable. With this opening, it's time to really dig into the features and customization options below.
Obviously the largest thing that will attract players is the look and feel of this controller. In a smart move Microsoft has already been moving towards making all their first party games feature competitive leagues and this controller mirrors that perfectly. This also is finally an attempt to follow in the steps of fancy keyboards and mice which pro PC gamers take advantage of with hotkeys in place. It's basically a system which allows multiple inputs for the same key which is pre-programmed by the gamer in order to have a quick access. This works similar to the paddles on the pack which have been added in on the on Elite controller, as you can see in the image below there are two smaller paddles on the top and four larger ones below. With comfort you choose what each of these do and it's honestly nice to finally have something for the rest of my fingers to use since they always just sit there gripping and being useless. As a good example I use the paddles from left top onwards like this; jet burst, switch grenades, throw grenades and shoot. For some scenarios I still use the regular buttons, but find driving vehicles which is the same as shooting is more comfortable and easier with the paddle.
Other changes to the controller include the color scheme which has opted for a dark black matte with a small silver finishing along the top. It looks deadly, sleek and ready to perform for your best Xbox experience. Color was also stripped from the buttons and other areas though by buying this controller you shouldn't need those indicators anyways. They have also opted to add better gripping to the entire controller with even better tactile grip in the area you hold in your palm. This constantly keeps it in place and still feels comfortable even after the longest of sessions. Looking in the middle of the controller there's a 1 and 2 switch option which allows you to have two customized layouts for the controller. Personally I felt every game should have its own unique two, but this works simply enough. It just requires you to open up the controller accessories app to switch the various configurations you have which could be tedious for some like me.
When it comes to the actual buttons and analogue sticks everything is almost the exact same. The biggest difference here is that pieces can be taken off for complete customization. This is an incredibly simple method which allows you to take a piece off easily, yet it will never come off for any reason while playing. The system of editing your analogue stick, D-Pad or Paddles is done with magnets so it just easily peels off and on. I was amazed by this simplicity and still can't believe how easy they made it to change around. Options include removing any of the paddles if you choose on the back, changing between three analogue stick variations and two D-Pad configurations. I was always a fan of the standard D-Pad though I've already grown to love the new circle design as I find it much better for movement.
With the new Windows 10 dashboard players were given a Xbox Accessories App which allows customize controller mapping and changing of other settings. This app is also the home hub for the Xbox Elite Controller from which you do all sorts of customization. The very first thing you do aside from updating this amazing controller wirelessly (still can't believe we update controllers this generation) is give the controller a name. This makes it more intimate for the player and I personally called mine the Onxy Stallion since it's black shaded and full of power.
The first area to edit would be the button mapping which is entirely too easy to do. You select a button like "B" and just choose in the next tab what you want it to be. With this you just select what the paddles do and it's all about trying new combinations to find what's comfortable for you. There are a handful of pre-set configurations with first party studios and I'm sure there will be more to come, but the fun of this expensive controller is making your own. Aside from button mapping are changing how it feels and inverting options.
Each stick has separate sensitivity options present to really get a unique feel in how you turn them. The triggers have a similar setting to them where you can adjust dead zones for those. Aside from the small tweaks just listed you can also individual change the four vibration areas on the controller and adjust the Xbox button brightness which is crazy, would be cool to also change LED color as well though that's not present. Finally we have options to swap sticks, invert sticks and swap triggers if you want.
After making whatever crazy configuration you want, just simply save them to the two slots or to your configuration list. Personally I have made a H5 Master; GOW ELITE, Standard and Telltale configurations for now which work well.
Check out a Elite Controller Mapping Guide Video!
You honestly won't find a better controller anywhere else at this point or probably even across the generation. I've personally never held such a sophisticated and intense controller in my life, this is quite a treat. The cost is a factor though and many won't be able to afford this as they shouldn't be able to. This is the next step up and regular gamers that just come to experience games won't need this at all. The Elite Controller is directly aimed at those that are competitive or attempting to work towards that level of play. You can also keep just to show off to friends like I do with it, but it's not a must have for the regular gamer. Aside from that I only had a couple minor negative thoughts like how it's largely the same in design, but this is still a serious piece of hardware. If you have the money to spend and want to own a great piece like this I'd have to say definitely pick it up. This is the best controller I've ever seen before with many options for a personal connection which controllers traditionally never have.
Review done on Xbox One Elite Controller provided by Xbox gamed on Halo 5: Guardians; Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Minecraft Xbox One, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Transformers Devastation, Darksiders 2: Remastered and Minecraft Story Mode