Thursday, October 20, 2011

Nintendo Wii Classic Controller Pro



Rating: 4 out of 5
Pros: Familiar design and layout, works great for titles that support it
Cons: Many titles (including all GameCube titles) not supported

Introduction

The Nintendo Wii Classic Controller Pro was a great decision on the part of Nintendo. I'm all for these new ways of controlling games like the Nintendo Wii Remote and the Microsoft Kinect, and maybe one day we'll have advanced far enough to plug a cable into our temple and play the game in a dream world. In the mean time, however, some things just tend to work better with a normal controller. Whether that's because the games for the last few generations have been designed with the same basic controller types in mind, or whether we as gamers have just become accustomed to controlling games in a certain way, the end result is the same. Most of the Nintendo Wii titles are either cheesy casual games that only support the Wii Remote in a very basic way that would work equally well with a classic controller, or they're higher production games that throw in various motion controlled gimmicks to justify the new controller. Either way, I find myself letting my Wii collect dust because the Wii Remote just doesn't offer many distinct advantages over the regular controllers of other consoles. Even when it does manage to get something right, it's either not quite accurate enough to make it worth bothering or suffers from just enough latency to make it useless.

The most use my Wii Remote gets these days is to browse around on Netflix. I still try out games here and there that require the Wii remote, but I almost always rent them before I buy them to see if it's worth attempting to play with a ridiculous control scheme. I keep buying a game here and there that specifically says it works with the Classic Controller, and most of those games have been decent... but many are virtual console games that were previously released for the earlier Nintendo game consoles or the Sega Genesis.

Description

The Nintendo Wii Classic Controller Pro looks and operates similarly to any other current generation console controller. It features a directional pad on the left and four digital buttons on the right in a diamond pattern similar to a SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) or Playstation controller that are labeled X, Y, A and B. It also features two analog control sticks at the bottom of the controller, and these are spaced out similarly to a Playstation controller. The original Wii Classic Controller also had two analog sticks, but they were closer together and uncomfortable to use. The original Wii Classic Controller also had L and R shoulder buttons, as well as ZL and ZR buttons beside them placed closer to the center of the controller top. The Classic Controller Pro moved these ZL and ZR buttons underneath the L and R to form two rows of shoulder buttons like all the other current generation controllers have. This makes it easier and more convenient to play multi-platform games that were also released on one of the Playstation or Xbox consoles.

The power cord on the original Classic Controller stuck out of the bottom of the controller instead of the top. I really never liked this, and it's one of the things I always hated about the Sega Dreamcast controller. Thankfully the Classic Controller Pro fixed this problem as well by making the cord come out the top of the controller. This controller is also comparable in size to a standard Playstation or Xbox controller, where as the original Classic Controller was flatter and lacked the ergonomic handles/grips/wings of the Classic Controller Pro. It is a little lighter than the Sony or Microsoft competitors, but it's light weight does not come at the expense of durability or make it feel cheap.

The Classic Controller Pro isn't wireless, but it's the next best thing. The three foot cord that comes out the top plugs directly into the bottom of your Wii Remote just like the Nunchuck, which at least allows you to sit across the room without stretching a cord across the floor for people to trip on. My only problem has been accidentally standing up, forgetting the Wii Remote was in the chair next to me and leaving it dangling in the air by the cord while I was holding the Classic Controller Pro. Oops.

Games

Sadly, most Nintendo Wii games do not support the Wii Classic Controller Pro. All Virtual Console games support it, as well as some WiiWare titles. Thankfully a few of the Role Playing Games on the Wii support it, which was my main concern. Arc Rise Fantasia, Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Monster Hunter Tri, Rune Factory Frontier, Tales of Graces, Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga... all good to go.

While RPGs may seems an obvious choice for Classic Controller support, there are other genres represented by titles such as Call of Duty: Black Ops, Madden 12, Need for Speed: Undercover, Samurai Warriors 3, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and WWE All Stars. Unfortunately the Classic Controller Pro does not work at all with Nintendo GameCube titles, so if you were thinking of picking one up to play through your GameCube library semi-wirelessly, think again.

Final Thoughts

I love the Nintendo Wii Classic Controller Pro, I only wish it supported more titles. Not liking the gimmicky motion-sensitive Wii Remote nearly as much as I initially thought I might, I'm thankful that Nintendo came out with a decent classic controller with a familiar design and layout so that I can play as many titles as possible with it instead.

If you have a Nintendo Wii and don't care for the Wii Remote, or if you plan on playing a lot of Virtual Console titles, definitely pick up a Nintendo Wii Classic Controller Pro. If you don't use the Virtual Console much, make sure to check your games for Classic Controller support before you waste your money.

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