Picked one up over at Best Buy for $39.99. As soon as I got home (and got the obligatory cut on my hand from the clamshell packaging). I sat down to put it through its paces. I'll break down my thoughts on each individual game below.
Initial Impressions - As you can see above, the pad is beefy, but not uncomfortable. The D-Pad is squishy and the buttons are very nice. You have a switch underneath that allows you to set whether the D-pad is acting as the left stick, right stick, or D-Pad of a 360 controller. After over an hour of gaming, my thumb was not bleeding red or seriously hurting, which is a good sign.
So onto the games:
Street Fighter HD Remix
- Immediately from the start, I feel like I have a problem jumping. It looks like Ryu is taking a step backwards and then jumping. In training mode, I test it out and sure enough, I've got to put a little more effort into a diagonal to get a jump out. I was initially disappointed, but then had an idea. I set the switch to act as the Left Stick, and maybe I'm crazy but I feel like I got better response in that setting. The other thing to get used to is that since the D-Pad itself is bigger, I had to adjust mentally to making sure I was performing motions correctly. So, let's talk some specific examples:
Ryu/Ken - No issues from the 1P side doing any move. On the other side, I have difficulty getting things out 100%. Again, a switch mentally in how my thumb is on the pad and it being bigger. 5 minutes later, issue resolved.
Guile/Vega - YAY! I'm able to charge without accidentally jumping. Again, due to diagonals, I whiff supers a few times, but after 5 minutes I'm pulling them off repeatedly.
Zangief - Holy crap, I just pulled off a standing SPD. This pad gets points for that alone. And I get it off 8/10 on the first try with no retraining. This was the classic command, not the remix command.
I go into arcade mode, and the pad never causes me grief to where I feel like I'm fighting it for control.
Pac Man CE
No issues with turning and getting Pac Man to go where I want him to. In fact I set a new high score for myself in the process.
Streets of Rage 2
At this point, I'm comfortable with the way the pad acts and have no issues moving diagonally onscreen. Specials (f,f) are coming out easily.
Poker Smash, Puzzle Quest, basically all puzzle games
Again, no issue of getting the cursor to go where I want.
So to sum up, the pad is lightyears ahead of using a 360 controller, but may not meet everyone's expectations. If you do jump in and get one, you may need some time in training mode to get yourself used to it before actually running out into the wild. For anything else though, the pad is awesome, and with Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection dropping today, should be getting plenty of use tonight.
Overall Grade - B+