Honestly, when I played the Nintendo Switch in mid January, I was extremely happy with how the Joy-Cons felt both individually and in the Joy-Con grip. And I was convinced you wouldn’t need to purchase the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller after being so satisfied with the Joy-Cons. However, after spending the better part of the week going back and forth between each controller configuration, I’m convinced not only is the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller the best way to play games such as TLOZ: Breath of the Wild, but it might just be the best controller I’ve ever used in both comfort and functionality.
Before I get into it, I do just want to re-confirm that the Joy-Con Grip is absolutely fine as a controller. It’s actually really comfortable, once you get used to it, but it still doesn’t compare to the absolute beast that is the Pro Controller.
It’s a weird one, I’ve never paid much attention to the weight of a controller, but the Pro Controller feels weighty and solid in all the right ways. It’s also an incredibly wide controller which I found as a really nice fit for my average sized hands. It helps that the texture of the controller is very grippy, which in my opinion so something that the DualShock 4 lacks. While Microsoft added a more textured grip into the recent newly-designed Xbox One controller.
The second thing that you’ll notice is just how much bigger the face buttons on the Pro controller when compared to the Joy-Con grip. I’d even go as far as saying that they’re potentially bigger than any controller ever invented. And honestly it is a good thing, as I never felt like my hands were cramping or that I was accidentally tapping the wrong button. It doesn’t take a fool to figure out that the D-pad on the Pro Controller is going to be essential for fighting games and the like. It’s also worth mentioning that both the + and – buttons are physical, circular buttons on the Pro controller and they’re also positioned in a much better place.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has a control scheme that is incredibly complex. Pretty much every button is used regularly both when exploring and in the midst of battle, so the Pro Controller’s strengths stand out much more when playing Zelda particularly.
There’s a few areas where I think Nintendo could have improved on however. The shoulders buttons take some getting used to and the lack of headphone jack built into the controller is a massive omission due to the fact that we’ve become so used to being able to plug directly into the controller (and what other option do we have?)
I haven’t even discussed the fact that the Gyroscope functionality is built straight into the Pro controller and the previously mentioned weight and wideness makes it feel much more accurate and natural, especially when aiming in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild.
Nintendo has also been smart enough to incorporate NFC tech into the top of the controller, which is clever especially as Nintendo keep pumping out Amiibo.
The Pro Controller lasts an impressive 40 hours. Which is close to ten times the battery life of a PS4 controller. Which also comes with a decent-length USB-C cable for charging, which is incredibly helpful as the AC Adaptor included with the Nintendo Switch console does not include separable USB and Powerbrick.
It’s also worth mentioning that it’s being reported today that the Pro Controller can be used wirelessly with your PC, which just adds value for money.
All-in-all, I’m a massive fan of all of the Nintendo Switch controllers so far, but the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is without doubt one of the best controllers I’ve ever used. Yes, it’s expensive, but it oozes quality and functionality to match its asking price.