Performance Designed Product’s (PDP) Xbox One: Afterglow Prismatic Controller is a third-party controller for the Xbox One console. While many third-party controllers fail to capture the essence of the original’s quality, PDP has managed an impressive feat of both matching the quality and putting their own flavor onto the Xbox One controller.
The first thing that stands out about the controller is the very fact that it is see through and actually has LED lights that glow. What is even more impressive is the very fact that you can change the color the controller glows, which adds a nice touch and personalizes the controller. While this is a very cool feature, there are some draw backs because of it. The outside of the controller is made of plastic and doesn’t feel very sturdy, which leads to durability issues. I dared not drop it, but if I had, I worried that it would quite possibly break. While this is not an issue for handling, it could be an issue for children using the controller, as they are more prone to accidents. This issue aside, the controller feels very nice in your hands and I did not feel handicapped one bit while playing with the controller in a competitive environment.
While it’s not exact, PDP has managed to capture a highly similar feel to the first-party Xbox One controller, which cannot be said for most third-party accessories. All of the buttons feel crisp, the analogue sticks work splendidly, and even the D-pad feels like it is of first-party quality. There was quite a bit of care and attention to detail that PDP paid to the controller to ensure that players wouldn’t feel handicapped by using their controller. I would even go so far to say that the difference between the feel of PDP’s Afterglow controller and Microsoft’s first-party controller is so minimal that I wouldn’t mind in the least bit using the third-party controller while playing with friends, which is almost never the case, as I am very particular with how a controller feels. PDP nailed it in this respect and is the biggest reason why this controller is so wonderful. The rumble feature on the controller can also be toggled on and off, which is great for those who prefer not to play with rumble on. If the rumble feature is on though, you can actually see certain parts of the controller’s inside move, which is pretty cool.
One of the Afterglow’s biggest features is the ability to map six actions to two wheels that are on the back of the controller. This is a nice feature that allows the controller to stand out from the standard Xbox One controller, although it may feel a little awkward not using buttons at first. I preferred to use buttons as that is what I was used to and I would sometimes get confused as to what action I mapped where, but with time and adjustment you eventually get the hang of it.
While the Afterglow is a fantastic third-party controller, it does have some downsides. First off, there’s a huge learning curve in being able to use a lot of the controller’s unique features. While it was easy once I knew what I was doing, I had to read the instruction manual several times before I actually knew what to do and how to access these features. For younger players, this would be even more difficult. There is also the fact that the controller is completely wired and needs to be plugged in at all times. While this isn’t a huge deal, as the controller comes with 10 feet of USB cable, it is a little frustrating because the Xbox One’s USB ports are on the back of the system.
These issues aside, PDP has managed to craft a wonderful third-party controller for the Xbox One with the Afterglow Prismatic Controller. While the price point is only $10 cheaper than the original at $49.99 MSRP, it has enough unique features and matches the quality of the original to warrant such a price. While the premise of the controller may seem a bit gimmicky, as it is called “Afterglow,” the customization makes the controller feel personalized, which cannot be matched and sets it apart not only from other third-party controllers but also from Microsoft’s own first-party controller itself. Furthermore, while the controller may not be as durable as the original, is not wireless, and has a steep learning curve, it matches the feel of Microsoft’s own counterpart which is its most important aspect.
Gamer Professionals would like to thank the team at Performance Designed Products for sending a review unit.