- Officially Licensed by Nintendo and CD Projekt Red
- Ergonomic Layout
- Motion Controls
- Two Mappable Buttons
- LED Indicators
- Price: $49.99
- Review Unit provided by PowerA
With Sword in Hand
My recent hands-on time with the Witcher 3 Wild Hunt Controller from PowerA gave me an excuse to jump into the game which it features. Before I get started on my review, I’d like to provide a back story of my experience with various controllers on the Nintendo Switch. Okay, this is less an ode and more an FYI. I’ll have considered this review a failure if I don’t have you humming or singing a song at the end of it.
You have my Sword. And you have my Bow. And my Axe. And my Controller.
I’ve been a long time gamer yet I’ve never jumped at a console during it’s launch week or even year. The Nintendo Switch was different. It was a magical combination of handheld gamer’s dream mixed with big screen ambitions. The Switch was special. I had to have a launch system. If you recall those first several months of the Nintendo Switch, the library took time to accumulate the sense of gravitas it enjoys today. As such, I only used the included Joy-Con. I remember thinking how natural they felt. The ease of use and convenience of them had me doubting I would need anything else.
As more games released with competitive multiplayer, the Joy-Con just didn’t cut it for me. They lacked precision and tight controls to maintain a competitive advantage. At my old age, I need all the help I can get. After procuring an official Nintendo Pro Controller, that became my go-to option for games such as Rocket League. Now, nearly three years later I have purchased several Pro Controllers at a high price. As time and wear (and my kids) take their toll, I find I have to replace controllers more than I would like.
Time to Shake the Dust Off
Enter PowerA and their line of Enhanced Wireless Controllers. In this review I’ll be covering The Witcher 3 edition. My main objective was to test how it would perform in a competitive arena. I was concerned about latency. Fortunately it performs admirably and I couldn’t discern any lag time between my inputs. The thumb-sticks feel more loose and don’t give quite the same tightness of the Pro Controller. In some of the more aggressive matches, I did notice some slips and dips in accuracy. These were very minor and not overly impactful. Suffice to say, The Witcher controller never flew into my television screen over a missed goal or a short-changed block.
One of the nice features is the mappable buttons underneath. If you watched my preview video, I show off how easy it was to program them in a fast-paced match of Rumble on Rocket League. It seemed like the perfect game to utilize the “AGL” and “AGR” triggers. As I called out in the video, I would occasionally depress the left thumb-stick in my turns and flips during Rumble matches. Since this is how you activate power-ups, I would use them unintentionally and miss opportunities. Though you can change the key bindings in the game itself, I never quite found the right combination that worked for me. I was happy to discover the simplicity and functionality of the alternate triggers and have been using them in all of my subsequent matches.
*Quick tip, I did change the key binding for the power-up to the right bumper and then set it to the PowerA AGR trigger. When you map a button, the old button still works the same which if left on the thumb-stick can still cause accidental usage of your plunger at inopportune times.
Into the Wilds
I did a comparison of The Witcher controller versus the Pro when holding them. The Witcher controller is a bit lighter. The manufactured components seem less quality and as mentioned above, less tight. Otherwise the PowerA Enhanced controller fits comfortably and I was able to use all the buttons with ease. It has a sleek design and the two extra buttons underneath are accessible with the middle fingers.
One of the first things I tried with the Enhanced Wireless controller was if it had the ability to wake up the Switch from sleep mode. I have tried past PowerA wired controllers and other 3rd party controllers which lack this feature. Meaning, you have to walk over to where your Switch is docked, and press the tiny button at its top to wake it up. I had to suffer through that nonsense when I was a kid! This day in age, that seems absurd. Ok, enough ranting. I’m happy to report the PowerA Enhanced controller can wake up your Switch while you sit comfortably on your couch. It’s also as easy to pair to your Switch by holding a button on the top of the controller itself.
Let Loose your Arrow
There’s a handy table on the back of the box which covers the capabilities and missing features. The Witcher controller does not come with a USB cable. Not surprising as it is a wireless controller but it also means it doesn’t use a cable to charge. One drawback for some is that it requires two AA batteries. This also means there’s not an internal battery that will die after a presumably long time and you’re out a controller. I personally would prefer an internal battery that I can charge.
The Witcher controller does have motion controls which I didn’t expect. As much fun as I had hacking and slashing monsters in The Wild Hunt, I didn’t have the chance to test that feature. So I booted up an old friend. I equipped a quiver and bow to my dragon born in Skyrim and went hunting. The motion controls worked but did seem a tad sensitive. That didn’t stop me from taking down a family of mudcrabs or a dragon so I call that a win. There’s no HD rumble support which doesn’t bother me but it is one less feature than the Pro controller. You also won’t be able to scan your Amiibo.
Toss a Coin to your Witcher
All said and done, I really enjoyed my experience with the PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller, The Witcher 3 edition. It’s a sleek looking accessory which compliments CD Projekt Red’s titular game. Despite lacking a few features and feeling a bit loose with low-cost components, I would recommend it to any budget conscious gamer. Considering the savings you get compared to the Pro controller, it’s hard to let those items dissuade you.
- Wakes my Tired Switch
- Mappable Buttons
- Comfortable Grip
- Easy to Use/Program/Pair
- Bargain Price
- No HD Rumble
- AA Batteries
- Slightly Loose Buttons
The low price point justifies the detractors you’ll find in an otherwise worthwhile accessory for more serious games making the PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller hard to pass up.