It is perfect for the Contra collection, Castlevania collection, Megaman collection, Genesis classics, and so on. New collections appear every year, so for those of us who need a proper dpad this is a no brainer. The exception would be for 8 and 16 bit Mario games. I think those games are best served by a NES or SNES controller, as the Nintendo dpad is inseparable from the Mario experience. As good as the Saturn style dpad is, it would be blasphemy to use it in that way.
|There are so many good retro collections these days|
The build quality is impressive, it feels solid in the hand, much more than the original Saturn controller (which was fairly light). The dpad feels very good, it is raised and floaty to the same extent, with a touch more reistance that enables you to feel the directionals a bit more. The buttons are all the same size, which is an improvement over the different sized buttons in my opinion. The are convex and glossy, and have a deeper press travel. It is a different feel, but it is not a bad one. Depending on the version of the pad (XBox, PS4, Switch), the various home, select, start, plus, minus buttons are present and placed somewhat centrally.
The shoulder buttons have a psuedo clicky response, which is very responsive and shallow. I have always felt that the Saturn controller’s shoulder buttons were too “clicky”, and this is an improvement. There are also triggers, which have a deeper pull, yet terminate earlier than on a PS4 controller, which makes sense as they are not analog so the longer trigger pull is not necessary. There is a toggle switch on the top of the controller that allows you to select your shoulder/trigger button assignments, which is a nice touch.
|trigger toggle for the PS4 version|
|…and on the Switch variant|
The decision to make this a wired controller is a good one in my opinion. It is unlikely that this controller will be someone’s primary controller for the PS4 or Switch, so if it were wireless that would require a charge, which would be a hassle. Being hard wired also decreases latency, which is important in games with fast action, like fighting games.
|The usb cable has tabs for click-in security|
Another feature, which is totally unnecessary, is the swappable face plate feature. The top plate is attached by magnets, and each controller comes with three color options. I don’t know why this is a thing, and it probably raises the price a bit. I like the blue for PS4 and red for Switch, but to each their own.
These were sold for $50, which perhaps is a bit steep for what it is. It would have been more cost efficient to forgo the swappable plates, and maybe have been more appealing at a lower price point. I do not believe these are being sold at retail currently, so whatever the price on the secondary market is what it is. The Switch has more 3rd party 2D controller options available, such as the 8Bitdo M30 (bluetooth and 2.4ghz) and officially licensed Retrobit Sega controllers, so this is perhaps not the first option there. The PS4 and Xbox do not have as many options, so this fills a greater need there.
In conclusion, these controllers are very good for the purpose that they are intended – for use with 2D games on modern consoles. I would not try to use these for any 3D game. That being said, they will definitely have some utility as more and more retro game collections are released. I don’t get the sense that these sold very well, so if you’re interested pick them up sooner than later.