To celebrate the theatrical release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, PowerA has released a pair of themed wired controllers for Xbox One and Windows 10. Fans can pick the Light Side-themed Jyn Erso controller, or a Dark Side controller emblazoned with a Death Trooper. They look cool, but are they any good as controllers?
Star Wars style
PowerA's Rogue One Controllers share the same physical components; only their front shells differ. A drawing of the Death Star appears in the center of each controller, with the Xbox Home button centered perfectly in the crater-shaped Superlaser cannon well.
Both controllers have a different character from the movie on their front right handles. The Light Side's Jyn Erso is a great choice of character, seeing as how she's one of Rogue One's primary protagonists. The Dark Side Controller's Death Trooper is far less important to the overall film, but a striking character design nonetheless (and primary antagonist Director Krennic parades around in an all-white getup anyway).
On the front left handle of both controllers, you'll find some team-themed graphics. Jyn's has the large R1 surrounded by The Rebels on one side and The Empire on the other. The Death Trooper controller goes with a DT monogram and a single phrase split across both sides: Death Star Special Forces.
Comfort and performance
The form factor of the Rogue One controllers closely matches that of PowerA's Fusion Controller, which is not too different in shape from a standard Xbox One controller. The back has a hexagonal texture that helps with grip. It doesn't feel as nice as an Elite controller's rubbery grips, but still offers better grip than a plain smooth surface.
The Rogue One Controllers' analog sticks are very high quality, especially for a third-party controller. They have a similar length, shape, and feel to official Microsoft sticks. Sticks and triggers have long been the greatest strengths of PowerA controllers.
The D-Pad is nice and clicky. Although it doesn't feel as perfect as that of the Hori Pad Pro, it's still a reasonably good directional pad. The Triggers have a great level of resistance too, making them a pleasure to use. One of the triggers on my Fusion Pro Controller eventually lost some of its responsiveness, but hopefully that won't happen here.
The Star Wars Rogue One controllers retail for $49.99, although Amazon currently sells them for less. They fall into the same price range as PowerA's own Fusion Controller, which is an affordable alternative to the official Elite controller.
The Fusion Controller has the advantages of swappable analog sticks, two programmable buttons and Trigger Locks on its rear, and a braided USB cable. In comparison, the only advantage of the Rogue One Controllers is a much more pleasing aesthetic design. No goofy frontal handgrips, plenty of cool Star Wars imagery.
Not everybody wants or needs the advanced features of the Fusion Controller, though. Simplicity is an advantage for some players. In fact, most kids (the primary audience of the Rogue One controllers) would probably be happier with a sweet Star Wars-looking controller.
The Rogue One controllers have a great visual design, and they're not bad controllers for the price, either. Pick one up for the Star Wars-loving Xbox gamer in your life who needs a spare pad, or just grab one to show some Star Wars love. An actual good Star Wars movie in theaters is worth celebrating!
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