When I play first-person-shooters, I favour the keyboard (Logitech G13) and mouse (SteelSeries Sensei MLG) combo. However, there are some games that require the more specialized touch of a console-style controller. This was never more clear then when I was playing They Bleed Pixels. Thrustmaster has a USB Xbox 360-styled controller (called the GP XID) that really goes a long way toward making certain games a lot easier to play; which translates to a lot more fun in the long run.
The Xbox 360 controller is a well-designed piece of technology: it is small enough to fit nicely in your hands, yet big enough to feel substantial (nobody wants to use a flimsy-feeling controller); the button and analog sticks are placed well*; the controller is solidly constructed and comfortable to use. The GP XID is very similar, with some subtle changes to the weight and shape. It is slightly smaller, with a more prominent D-pad than the old Xbox 360 “disc” D-pad** – making it more like the “popped up” mode of the new “transformable” D-pad on the new 360 controller.
360-esque colour scheme!
Smooth and white, the overall construction of the shell is definitely of a level of quality. In the event of an accidental drop, I am reasonably sure that the GP XID would survive without any major damage. The surface also feels slightly matted, offering a solid grip with little slippage. I also found that my hands did not tend to sweat when holding this controller; and when they did, it was stayed put. The Windows Live shortcut button is an interesting shade of orange (illuminated), and the A,B,X and Y buttons are also white with easy-to-read print, matching the colour scheme on their 360 controller cousin.
The thumb-sticks have great action – firm and precise, they have enough resistance to aid your level of precision without being too hard to move. The button construction (there are 12) also feels solid – perhaps a bit more firm than I am accustomed to; but this issue went away after a few minutes of use. The shoulder buttons in particular feel as if they have a slight delay to the action due to their construction, requiring more pressure than a normal 360 controller; but, again, this just takes some getting used to and is not more than an initial minor inconvenience. The rugged USB cord is over 6 feet in length, allowing for a fair range of movement once connected.
Solid construction and a nice, long USB cord.
The GP XID is plug-and-play and requires no additional driver CDs to use on most modern Windows PCs. I tried this controller in Windows 7 Home, Windows 7 x64 Ultimate, and Windows 8 – with no installation difficulty whatsoever. This wasn’t a surprise as the drivers are pre-installed in those Operating Systems (also for Windows Vista). For those that are still using Windows XP, you will have to download a driver package to install manually. The GP XID worked flawlessly for every game that I used to test it with. In fact, it worked so well in some instances that I wondered why the hell I had been using the keyboard and mouse for so long.
If you’re looking for a comfortable and easy-to-use solution for your PC Gaming needs, the Thrustmaster GP XID is a great option. Simple and durable, this controller is ready to go as soon as you plug it in (provided you have the correct OS, as indicated above). On top of that, it is affordable; at around $25, you really can’t go wrong with this product.