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Saturday, 2 November 2013

Wii Classic Controller Pro

   With the Wii now being discontinued by Nintendo and the Wii U on store shelves (which is still to hit any kind of stride though there is plenty of time yet,) some may think it a bit odd to be talking about the Wii’s Classic Controller Pro. But with so many great games in the Wii library (yes there are a great many of them,) there will ultimately come a point, at least there did for me anyway, when certain games will come along which will make you carefully consider whether to buy this particular controller or not?

   I like the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, and don’t have a problem with using them because as a Wii owner, I know that not all games will make me wave my arms about nonstop all day long. I also believe that they (Wii Remote/Nunchuk) still have great potential as a control method, and when utilised properly they can really add to a game and make the overall gaming experience a whole lot better, the Wii version of Resident Evil 4 is a prime example. Unfortunately we all know that for every game that got the controls right, there are probably two or more that didn’t for one reason or another. One issue with the Wii Remote is that it was never as sensitive or precise enough than Nintendo would have us believe all those years ago, and for some genres it wasn’t the revolutionary control method it should have been. It seemed the Wii Remote, Nunchuk and the first person shooter genre were going to be a match made in heaven, surly this was the perfect control method for such a genre? I still believe it is, or at least it was, if only coders had worked their magic better, and it still could be in the future if the tech was redesigned and beefed up somewhat. But as time has shown, it has never really panned out all that well with the odd exception that is, with many games in the FPS genre feeling as though they had received ported mouse and keyboard controls.

   This is the point where you start lamenting the lack of a second control option (at least I did,) and wished there had of been one right from the very inception of the console itself. Eventually a more traditional controller did appear in the form of the weirdly shaped Classic Controller, and then later with the much better shaped Classic Controller Pro. But the question for any Wii owner is whether it is worth buying one considering how they still seem to hold their price like any coveted Nintendo product? The answer really lies in the number of games you want to play that actually support this controller and whether or not you frequently use a moded Wii for emulation. If there are enough retail, virtual console and WiiWare releases that will outweigh the cost of buying one and you do use the console for emulation, the Classic Controller Pro is essential. Its worth pointing out that any game which supports the Classic Controller also supports the Classic Controller Pro as they are essentially the same product in different shells. 

   As a general controller goes, or a traditional controller in Nintendo’s case, this is in my humble opinion, the best the company has ever produced. I have never been that struck on Nintendo controllers, even when I had a SNES when I was younger, I always preferred to use a third party pad instead of Ninty’s very own. As for their other controllers through the generations, I find the NES pad extremely uncomfortable to hold for any length of time, I didn’t like the feel of the N64 analog stick and found the general design of the GameCube pad just weird. So for me at least, I find the very by-the-numbers design and button layout very comfortable and pleasing, especially when playing a game for several hours.

   The grips sit neatly in the palm of each hand and the shape lets my fingers naturally curl around the top of the pad onto the shoulder buttons while I find the two analog sticks perfectly placed apart for the thumbs. The face buttons are quite large and have a nice pop to them, and thankfully the d-pad is rather large for a Nintendo controller which gets a big thumbs up from me. That’s another complaint I had with the N64 and GameCube controllers, the d-pads on them were tiny and felt just something awful, so I’m very pleased Ninty didn’t do the same on this pad.

   This pad isn’t without its quirks though, and while I understand the reasoning behind them, it would have been nice to have had a pad featuring the rest of the bells-and-whistles we have all generally become accustomed to over the last two generations. This controller is not wireless, so to pass its inputs onto the console it plugs into the bottom of the Wii Remote and piggybacks off its wireless signal. It’s better than plugging the pad into the console and stretching a lead across the room, but annoying all the same as going down this cost cutting route means it also lacks rumble and a built in speaker. I’m sure the mandate behind the Classic Controller Pro was to produce a traditional style controller that would meet the needs of the target consumer it was aimed at, yet be produced for significantly less by stripping its features back to the core basics.

   This controller is well worth getting even if it does feed off the Wii Remote and lack several features, especially if you can find one cheap enough, though they do tend to hold their price. If you plan on playing The Last Story, Xenoblade Chronicles, Call of Duty games or the madcap No More Heroes 2 then you will find this controller a worthwhile investment and hard earned money well spent.

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