Reviews based on the Xbox 360 version
Release Date: October 1st, 2010
Originally $20 US, these controllers went up in price (or were originally at and when they came out the store discounted them for a short time as a promotional deal) to $30. It was an understanding to many that the controller was clear, shine with LED lights inside, and vary between blue, green, and red. Sadly, this wasn’t really the case. While these controllers are clear, and they do have LED lights, they only come in one color per controller, and unfortunately it seems most places only carry the blue ones, even though the boxes illustrate a different color. While this was a bit of a letdown, it’s not necessarily the fault of the product or company, but rather how the information was presented. What the real problem here is that the lights are too bright. There is a switch in the back of the controller that allows for three different modes of light. The first obviously being the off position, the second being a pulsating light that occurs when the controller vibrates, and the third is just to leave the controller’s LED lights on. I actually found myself turning the lights off more then having them on due to how bright they are, and my love of gaming in the dark. Due to how bright, it messes with your perception of the visuals on the tv considering how close the controller is and how bright the lights are vs. the glow of the television screen and it’s distance. The eyes wind up overriding everything in the distance due to focusing on the lights in front of you thanks to your adjusted vision to the darker environment you are playing in. Yes, during the day this was not a problem, or just with lights on in general, but with a controller like this, you’ll be itching to play it at night. The vibration mode was not so much a problem though, and it does provide a little less strain on the eyes, but when the controller vibrates, and in some games it will a lot, the flashing lights will often just cause a distraction from the game itself.
Aside that problem, the design and materials used on the controller could have been a lot better as well. Granted, the controller in question is a cheap third party peripheral, so a lesser quality is to be expected. The controller definitely feels lighter compared to the wired official Xbox 360 controller, and that’s pretty light to begin with. If you’re adjusted to using that controller and not the wireless one, this lighter weight won’t really bother you as much, but if you prefer that bulky feeling, this controller’s weight will come as a genuine surprise and may not be a good one for you. Aside the weight, the contols are pretty rough themselves. After only a few casual gaming and four controller boosting sessions, both the A button and the Left Bumper button had broken to where the spring or whatever is used to cause them to come up beyond the indentation had broken, leaving them flimsy and pushed more inside the controller then propped outward so you can push them in with ease. However, the buttons do still work, though due to this the button has to be pushed in a little further and the edges, which are not smoothed around said buttons, can really hurt your fingers after a while.
Aside that, the controllers also utilize a directional pad that is simply a black plastic circle the standard directional pad size with slightly raised rectangles to push for the appropriate direction, but without being seperated or raised up higher like the official Xbox 360 controllers, instead being part of the large black circular disc. This causes some directional issues in games where the directional pad is necessary, or for fighting games when trying to perform special moves and the analog stick is not tight enough to pull off the maneuvers and want a more accurate approach to pressing the buttons. Aside that, the left and right analog sticks feel nice to begin with, but very quickly the rougher texture that holds your thumbs in place will wear thin revealed a sleak plastic that you will slide off of repeatedly.
Overall, the Xbox 360 Afterglor Controller is a cheap way to go if you don’t have money but want an extra controller for whatever reason, and as a back up or just to sit there and help unlock multiplayer achievements by taking out the AI and replacing it with a non-existent player, then this is something that, if you want one, feel free to grab it as a cheap secondary accessory. But, if you’re looking for something a little long lasting, don’t let the LED’s pretty lights fool you. This controller isn’t exactly garbage, but it’s not the most concrete build and it will start breaking almost immediately, and the analog pads will be pretty much unusable for more rampant titles in less then a month’s time, maybe less if you’re a hardcore gamer with no life outside of the digital world. I can’t speak for the PlayStation 3 or Nintendo Wii Afterglow Controllers, but if this controller is any sign of the quality of this product, I could safely wager the other two controllers are about the same.