Friday, August 2

Hardware Review: PDP Faceoff Deluxe+ Wired Audio Controller


Well, here’s a first for me… it’s time for my inaugural hardware review! Being honest to this point since I adore my Pro Controller I haven’t been too inclined to worry over checking out other peripherals out there. However, given the opportunity to check something out and provide a review for other people who may be curious I had to jump on it.

What you’ll get here is a reasonably well-constructed controller that feels a lot like Nintendo’s own Pro controller in terms of dimensions and layout but that has stripped away from functionality as well as added a few bonus features while coming in at a far lower price point. For you gamers on a budget out there this should be tempting, just be sure you carefully consult the fine print and check as many reviews as you can to ensure its what you’re looking for and can work with.



Starting with the positives though the overall heft of the controller is on the light side, making it “feel” a bit more fragile, it does feel good in my average-sized hands. For the most part everything is in roughly the same spots and is comfortable to use. The joysticks themselves are nice and sturdy, and critically don’t feel either too tight or flimsy. The ridge on the edges of the sticks I think will go either way for people. It takes some getting used to, and I initially wasn’t a fan, but at the same time I could see how perhaps it helps minimize the chances of your thumb slipping at the edge.


When it comes to features that make it unique the most notable feature, and possibly why you are investing in it, is the audio jack. Depending on how and what you like to play this could either be a mere convenience or essential. If you don’t mind being tethered within 10 feet of your dock (this plugs into the USB port on the back) and enjoy playing something like Fortnite which natively supports chat this may well be your jam, and you’ll simply learn to accept the quirks of the overall controller. If you’re only using it for the audio jack and are going to play on the TV or a monitor and don’t want to disturb anyone around you I suppose it would work nicely as well.


The other two notable features are a bit of a mixed bag, and are all about your personal tastes. I have no doubt the inclusion of a D-pad is exciting for some folks out there, as obviously the base Joycon design is a bummer with 4 buttons in its place, and the wonky issues with the Pro Controller itself are pretty well-known. While I’d say this D-pad is better in terms of overall accuracy I’d also note that it is a bit on the mushy side and since I’ve generally come to accept D-pad play just isn’t all that great on Switch I’ve learned to stick to the joystick. Still, again I’d say it has an edge on the Pro Controller and since this is far cheaper it may be just what you’re looking for. The completely unexpected feature that took me by surprise is the inclusion of 2 additional triggers that are on the back of the controller at the mid-to-bottom area. They actually lined up nicely with where my fingers normally rest so they’ve got that on their side. That said, I pretty quickly was happy to find I could remove that panel since I was more often accidentally triggering them than on purpose. Again, for the right person with some adapting this could actually be a net positive but I was just happy I could opt out. I suppose the final cool feature is that you can remove the faceplate and replace it with something themed (they have Mario and Luigi plates, for instance). Interesting, though not something I’d use.

In terms of what will make or break your decision it’s really a tug of war between the positives and the compromises. There’s no doubt this thing is far more affordable than a Pro Controller but for the most part this is because of what they’ve removed from the picture. It being corded is probably the biggest limitation, so you absolutely need to be within less than 10 feet of your dock to use it in the first place. The other big omissions are motion control (depending on what you play this could hurt more or less) and support for rumble (again, game dependent since some implement it so poorly I rush to turn it off). In terms of feel it does things right I’d say, just feeling a bit lighter in construction than the Pro controller but still being generally comfortable and in no way feeling cheap.


With pretty well everything for every upside there’s a downside but the trick is whether that results in a net gain or loss is heavily dependent on your preferences and how and what you like to play. It’s budget-friendly but stripped down and has a limiting cord. It has great plug-in support for your headset so you can easily use chat but there also aren’t many Switch titles taking advantage of that (for the moment). It has a decent D-pad but I wouldn’t say its overall feel and comfort level quite matches the (more expensive) Pro Controller. My conclusion is that for the price you’re getting about everything you’d have a right to hope for in a controller, and while it is hardly perfect it is a third party peripheral that performs very respectably and is worthy of your consideration.

Score: 7.5

Pros:

  • A respectable budget option
  • If you’re looking to play titles with in-game chat support it may be your best option
  • Shows thought and care in the details that I respect


Cons:

  • There’s no getting around the cord, and the need to be absolutely sure you’re playing within less than 10 feet from your dock
  • If you’re a fan of motion controls or rumble you’ll be out of luck with this controller
  • While I appreciate the option of the added triggers on the back I wanted to remove them quite quickly (which you thankfully can, though it then leaves a bit of a gap on the back)