PDP Xbox One NFL Official Faceoff Controller (review)

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PDP is arguably one of the top brands when it comes to third-party gaming peripherals. The company, known for its Afterglow series, released a new series of controllers for the Xbox One: The Faceoff Controller. No this is not a controller themed to the 1997 movie Face/Off. Instead, this is a controller that allows you to take the faceplate off the controller and swap it out for a new one. To start, PDP is releasing the NFL Official Faceoff Controller. Will this be a new fad carried into other licenses, or is this just another gimmick? I reviewed it to find out.

Design

Let’s start with the design. One of my favorite things about using a PDP controller is the overall feel that I am using a Microsoft-produced Xbox controller. For the most part, there are no real differences, and that is fantastic. The last thing you want to do is spend time adapting to the layout or the feel of the controller you just bought. Even a slight tweak in the weight or position of the buttons could through a gamer off. With PDP there is no need to worry. The weight, grip, and layout are near identical to the first-party controller. The slight differences are mainly at the top of the controller.

Using the Xbox One controller that originally came with my console, I notice that the bumpers have a bit of a click to them. Not loud like the mechanical keyboard I am using now, but a distinct click to show that you have activated it. The first-party bumpers also feel more stiff and springy. The PDP controller, by contrast, has a much quieter click and a softer feel when pressing it. In addition, the PDP controller also has a larger activation zone on the bumper, allowing you to place your finger almost on top of the bumper to press it. The native Xbox One controller bumpers can only be activated from the sides. Is this an important difference? Not particularly, but the wider activation area allows for a different grip that some players may like better.

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The A, X, Y, B buttons are matte finished instead of glossy and the Xbox button is raised more with white and black detail. The thumb sticks feel as if they are a bit more concaved with a slightly more defined inner ridge. Really the difference while playing isn’t that noticeable, except maybe in tight situations when grip is key. Lastly, at the bottom of the controller is a 3.5mm headphone jack that allows you plug your headset directly into it.

Functionality

The PDP Faceoff Controller ultimately functions like the basic first-party controller, except with some tweaks that are sort of a mixed bag. First, it comes with onboard audio controls, like most other PDP Xbox controllers. These are located on the D-pad and allow the user to control both game and chat audio letting them get that perfect balance. The audio controls are activated by the small button located at the bottom right of the right thumbstick. Pressing and holding it activates the audio option and deactivates any movement controls dedicated to the D-pad. This is an awesome feature and I found myself using it a lot especially while in a party.

The PDP controller also features dual rumble motors and impulse triggers that let you feel all of the action. This hypersensitive rumble feature lets you not only feel the action in the grips but in the triggers as well. I noticed this while playing Titanfall 2, but more thematically, players would most likely feel it while getting tackled or running in Madden.

The drawback for me is that it is wired. Now this may not be a big deal to some, but I hate having wires stretched across my floor while playing a game. The silver – we’ll call it bronze because it makes in only slightly better – lining is that the cord is a whopping ten feet. So unless you are an actual NFL player with a gigantic living room, you will have plenty of room to get comfortable and play without having to worry about the amount of cord you have to work with. The controller is also compatible with Windows allowing you to use it on the PC, which may account for it being corded. However, the native controllers are wireless with the ability to plug in a cord to play on the PC if desired so that really isn’t a solid reason.

Overall, while it might not be a big deal to some, the lack of a wireless option in 2016 lowers the points in my book.

The Faceplates

The biggest feature of this controller is the interchangeable faceplate. The one that comes with the controller is a rubberized, textured face that looks, and feels, like an actual football complete with laces. Since this controller is an officially licensed NFL product, the NFL logo is seen on the right grip. The football texture allows for excellent grip while playing and is extremely comfortable to hold. However, since the whole point of an NFL controller with an interchangeable face is to rep your favorite team, PDP has a full selection of faceplates with all 32 NFL teams.

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The team faceplate isn’t textured like the stock face, but they do still have a matte, soft rubberized finish. This still gives great grip on the controller, but depending on the color scheme of your team, you may see some fingerprints standing out due to the texture. The design of the team faceplates is all pretty much the same fashion with the name stretched across the middle width and the team logo replacing the NFL logo on the right grip. Of course each one shows the team’s color scheme as well. The cool thing is that PDP gives you a credit for a free faceplate with your purchase. Have more that one favorite team? Not to worry, more can be purchased from PDP for $14.99. Removing the plate is actually pretty easy. Gripping the sides, you just pull it off and snap the one you want on in place.

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Overall Reaction

This is an overall solid controller. It is very comfortable to hold for long periods of time and provides excellent grip whether you are using the stock football face or the team one. The onboard audio controls are a dream and make it immensely easier to control the game experience both in a chat party and out. The built-in audio jack is a nice touch and much appreciated as well. The interchangeable faceplates are a cool feature to have that I hope carries over into other licenses, or at least other designs to allow for customization. At $14.99 a piece, the faceplates are an easy, inexpensive way to customize your controller.

Where this controller loses me is the cord and the price. In the grand scheme of things, is the cord that big of a deal? No, probably not. It comes down to personal preference. If you don’t care then by all means do not let this be a deciding factor in purchasing the controller. And speaking of purchasing the controller, the price is a little bit of a drawback to me. You can purchase this controller for $59.99. That is the same price as a first-party wireless controller from Microsoft. Granted this one is customizable, but even still it seems a bit high. I would be more comfortable at $45.00 or even $50.00. Not that the controller isn’t that good, but to be more competitive with the first-party accessories, a lower price point to match the Afterglow series, for example, may be a better option. When it comes down to it, I really want to recommend the controller as a must buy, but the price tag is ultimately what holds me back.

Score: 3.5/5 Atoms

NR 3_5 Atoms - B-

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