Recently I had a chance to sit down and review the Ghost Recon: Future Soldier 7.1 Surround Headset. While I was disappointed that the headset was wired, I was still impressed with its’ performance, and the way those Ghost Recon logos lit-up on the side of the ear cups was pretty neat too. Over the past few days I have had the chance to play with another Mad Catz Ghost Recon: Future Soldier branded peripheral, this time it is the Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Pro Gamepad for the Xbox 360. Much like the headset, I have to admit I was a little disappointed the controller was wired, but I think this was a design choice to all it to use power from the Xbox 360, eliminating the need for batteries. Wired or not, this controller is a comfortable and slick looking one that will likely please all those Ghost Recon fans who are grabbing the game on May 22, 2012.
The first thing I noticed when I unboxed the controller and got it in my hand was how comfortable it was. It is nicely weighted and felt good. The no-sliding rubber grips located on each end of the controller ensures it won’t slip during some of those rigorous online gaming sessions. The Ghost Recon Future Soldier design is pretty slick too. As you can see by the attached screenshots, it has a nice looking design and the Ghost Recon brand is prominently displayed on the controller.
Another thing I also noticed before I actually gave the controller a spin was the quality. It is sturdy and well built. Granted, I am not a “controller expert” by any means, but there have been occasions in the past where I have picked up third party controllers for the Xbox 360 and it just looked and felt cheap. This is not the case with the Pro Gamepad as it feels and looks like a top of the line high-end Xbox 360 controller.
While the Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Pro Gamepad Controller is clearly geared towards gamers who will pick up the latest instalment in Ghost Recon franchise when it is released, you can obviously use the controller for other games. Nevertheless, this controller does come equipped with all the features you need for battle in the Ghost Recon world. One of the cool little features of the Pro Gamepad controller is its’ ability to light up. Just beneath the left and right analog sticks are LED lights. The effect is cool but it can be distracting as whenever you move the thumbsticks the LED lights become a little more exposed and thus flash before your eyes. It is not a major distraction, and is not a deal breaker, but I have to admit it can inadvertently catch your attention more then it should.
The Pro Gamepad has the rumble functions and all other features that are standard for Xbox 360 controllers. That being said, it certainly feels slightly different from your typical Xbox 360 controller but not enough to turn you off or have you running back to your regular Xbox 360 controller any time soon. That is unless you would rather play without wires. I do have to say that the controller grips do feel great. The soft touch grips are perfect for those like myself who tend to get sweaty hands while playing some intense shooter games. As for the buttons, they are very responsive. Like the controller itself, the buttons feel slightly different from many other controllers but they react to presses quite well, which is something that cannot be said for other third party Xbox 360 controllers, which is why I am pointing this out. The triggers also feel very good; however, I can’t help but think that they do feel a tad larger compared to the first party controller.
In terms of other additional features, The Pro Gamepad is also equipped combat buttons and precision aim usage. In fact, the controller comes equipped with two combat buttons on the bottom. Each combat button can be assigned to one of the controller’s action buttons and each combat button has a four-position slide switch to indicate the action button assignment you can choose. In other words, if you set the slide switch for one of the combat buttons to the “X” position then whenever the combat button is pressed the game will respond as if the “X” was pressed. The controller also features a Precision/AIM mode that when activated slows the on-screen movement controlled by the left or right analog stick.
The controller features a 9.8-foot cable which is not a bad length; however, I would have preferred a cord slightly longer. As I noted in my headset review I sit a ways back and in regards to the controller the cord provided does not reach where I typically sit. I would have preferred a 14-foot cord. Again, it is not a deal breaker but rather it left me wanting to play with a wireless controller so that I would not encounter any similar issues.
One thing is certain, Mad Catz’s partnership with Ubisoft has managed to successfully whip-up a controller worthy of the Ghost Recon name. The overall feel and look with the Ghost Recon branding is solid. The buttons, including the custom combat buttons, are very responsive and the controller’s LED lights beneath each analog stick to provide a neat little backlighting effect. While I would have preferred a longer cable, or better yet a Ghost Recon controller with wireless capabilities, the fact remains if you are in the market for a new Xbox 360 controller that perfectly compliments the Ghost Recon: Future Soldier game, or take your gaming very seriously, then the Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Pro Gamepad is definitely for you.