It's hard to believe that there once was a time when I was excited and intrigued by a brand new world of motion controls. I remember standing in a two-hour line at E3 2006 just to be one of the first people to get their hands on Nintendo's Wii, a control that promised brand new dimensions of gameplay. Oh how innocent I was back then. These days I've been hardened by non-stop mini-game collections and third-party titles that can't seem to get the whole motion thing right. I'm to the point where I've all but written off this so-call new world of interactivity, preferring to go back to my traditional tried and true video game control.
Perhaps that's why I was so excited to get my hands on Nintendo's brand new Classic Controller Pro, a revision to their original (and somewhat clunky) Classic Controller. As odd as it seems to talk about a standard game pad on the Wii, these days it's my preferred way to play. The Classic Controller Pro may not have a fancy microphone or motion capabilities, but it offers a comfortable design that makes playing both new and old games enjoyable. And when it comes down to it, isn't that all you're looking for in a game pad?
Since releasing their first Classic Controller, Nintendo has spent some time thinking about ways of making their pads more comfortable to hold. The new control offers two ergonomic handles for you to hold on to while using the D-pad, face buttons and two analog sticks. In a lot of ways this pad looks like a slightly larger version of the PlayStation DualShock control, complete with the buttons, handles and analog sticks in exactly the same locations. Even more familiar are the four shoulder buttons on the top of the control.
In fact, the only real difference between this Classic Controller Pro and the PlayStation control is the cord you use to connect into the Wii remote. This cord gives the device power, but also makes it feel less than wireless. It's annoying to always have an unused control tethered to this game pad. Thankfully the cord is long enough to put your Wii remote on the table (or in your lap), but I've never been a big fan of Nintendo's insistence of tying everything to their motion control. This control (and so many others like it) would be much better if it actually was wireless.
The good news is that once you start using the Classic Controller Pro you'll never want to switch back. My first instinct was to load up one of the many Virtual Console games I've been suckered into buying. I found that the analog sticks worked perfectly for Super Mario 64 and the D-pad was ideal for Ninja Spirits. I had similar luck playing through some of my favorite GameCube games. Even Wii games like Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Monster Hunter Tri are significantly improved with the Classic Controller Pro.
There are definitely things I like about the Classic Controller Pro, including the responsive D-pad and the shiny exterior. However, I've never been a fan of Nintendo's unique style of analog sticks. It's also jarring to not be able to push in the two analog sticks for two additional buttons. That has been standard on the Xbox and PlayStation for nearly a decade. I also found that two of the shoulder buttons weren't as large as I would like them to be. Still, these are minor complaints. For the most part the Classic Controller Pro is everything you could ask for in a game pad.
If you're like me and somehow avoided buying the original Classic Controller, then this inexpensive pad is well worth the money. Those who already own (and like) their original control, this redesign may not be worth the modest upgrades. There's no question that this is a better controller, but it's not the kind of massive leap forward that would warrant rushing out to your local game store. Still, if you've been thinking about going back to a standard game pad, then this brand new Classic Controller Pro is worth tracking down.
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