Best & Worst Controllers for the Nintendo Wii U

Often a gamer’s most difficult purchases are neither games nor consoles, but controllers and accessories. Determining whether or not you want to invest in a particular system is as simple as looking at a list of exclusives. Similarly, the deciding factor for most video games usually comes from checking out a few gameplay videos. A gamer hunting for a good controller lacks this luxury.

The fact is that a game accessory is capable of being three-quarters perfect for one gamer, but a total train wreck for another. For gamers unsure of which controller to invest in for their newly purchased Nintendo Wii U, I have put four of the main contenders through the paces!

Wii U Pro Controller

It can be nerve racking to invest in third party gaming accessories. So many questions linger in the hearts of thrifty gamers. Will this breakdown in a couple months? Will I pawn this off on my younger siblings? Will this break my thumbs? For many, the fears outnumber the benefits of a slightly reduced price tag. Those unwilling to take this gamble can turn their attention to Nintendo’s Wii U Pro Controller.

For those that prefer traditional controls, the $50 Wii U Pro Controller offers unrivaled value. With battery life reaching over 80 hours and an extremely comfortable layout, it’s hard to find fault with this first party accessory. This wireless controller is extremely responsive, durable, and beautifully designed. While it would have been nice for it to be compatible with original Wii games, this is excusable when the rest of the pack is so impressive.

Nyko Wii U Pro Commander

Wii U owners looking to dodge the high price of Nintendo’s Pro controller have been looking intently at Nyko’s $35 Commander. How does this wireless black titan compare to its rival? In short, better than expected. The Nyko Pro Commander never quite manages to outperform Nintendo’s offering, but it provides a respectable alternative. Battery life is no issue as it not only quickly recharges, but holds a charge for several hours.

Some design decisions aren’t quite as appreciated- namely the slightly bumpy triggers. This is certainly not a deal breaker, but it is a little odd for FPS fans. If you can get over a slight learning curve when using the controller in shooters, you’ll be very happy with the Nyko Commander.

Retro Classic Controller

Where Nyko’s Pro Commander succeeds; Interworks Unlimited’s Retro Classic Controller fails. The Retro’s main selling point is that it is a Wii Classic Controller that apparently swallowed a Super Nintendo Controller. While on paper this is a neat concept, it is equal parts uncomfortable to use and unappealing to look at. Were this not bad enough, the Retro Classic Controller is only compatible with Wii U games that support the original Classic Controller. Fortunately, it also supports original Wii games and Android games.

Unless you are in dire need of a controller that supports all three platforms, I would highly recommend passing on this unreliable eyesore. For the asking price of $30, you might as well invest in something that doesn’t remind you of Basket Case.

Afterglow Wii U Pro Controller

PDP’s offering to the Wii U is somewhat sandwiched between the previous two controllers. While it manages to aesthetically outclass both the Interworks Unlimited Retro Classic Controller and the Nyko Pro Commander, it stumbles a bit in practice. It lacks the three-way compatibility of the Retro Classic Controller and the responsiveness of the Nyko Commander.

This puts PDP’s $30 alternative at a disadvantage as, outside of appearance, it doesn’t quite compare. For those enamored with the admittedly awesome Afterglow effect, the battery life is decent and the controller feels fairly durable.

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