For the past week I’ve had the chance to use the new Thrustmaster GPX Lightback (Black) Controller that works on both the Xbox 360 and on your Computer. Before getting into the main review I’ll talk about the whole package, not just the controller itself.
The packaging that the GPX Lightback comes in is very easy to open and displays the controller effectively. To my surprise the packaging is not the annoying, hard to open kind, but was very easy to open and get the controller out.
Enough about the packaging though… onto the controller itself! The controller is designed very closely to that of an Xbox 360 controller, which seems to be the most common and preferred controller type at the moment. The controller is wired and only consists of you plugging it into your Xbox 360 to get it working. Getting controllers to work on the PC has always been an interesting experience, though the GPX Lightback works instantly when plugged in. The only time you will have to install a driver for your PC is if you are running Windows XP still.
The controller has several features over the usual D-Pad, “Xbox Guide” button, Triggers etc that are on your classic Xbox 360 controller. These features consist of; Light Feedback where the analog sticks feature lights under them which shine brighter depending on how much vibration there is and Speed Gauges (per trigger) which display how far a trigger is pressed down, allowing more precise acceleration and breaking. Both of these features have their own useful on and off switch at the top of the controller incase you do not wish to use them.
So how does the Thrustmaster GPX Lightback compare to the traditional Xbox 360 Controller? Well let’s compare them. The GPX Lightback firstly has a much more comfortable feel especially for those with bigger hands. Don’t get me wrong, the original Xbox 360 controller is comfortable though it just feels less suited for my hands when I am holding it.
Trigger placement is also something that I preferred on the GPX Lightback, though people that were used to the Xbox 360 Controller and tried it said that they personally found the original Xbox 360 triggers more comfortable. I tested this controller on Halo 4 (Xbox 360), Portal (PC) and Hitman Absolution (PC) and when playing each game I found that the triggers felt as if you were in much more control than the original Xbox 360 controller.
The D-Pad on the GPX Lightback was also a lot more responsive than that of the original Xbox 360 Controller. Due to it being a cross D-Pad and not including the surrounding circle (as the original Xbox 360 controller does) it feels as if you are actually pressing the part of the D-Pad that you meant to.
The analog sticks on the GPX Lightback are a lot much more comfortable to use due to the grips which are on them. When in intense gaming sessions I have noticed my thumbs have occasionally slipped off of the analog sticks on the original Xbox 360 controller, though when using the Thrustmaster GPX Lightback this didn’t occur and I didn’t feel like it would happen during gameplay.
Whilst the controller does have its positives over the original Xbox 360 controller, this does not mean that it has no negatives! The overall texture and feel of the Thrustmaster GPX Lightback seems to be worse than the original Xbox 360 controller. This isn’t by a drastic difference; it is just that the Xbox 360’s controller has a sturdier feel to it compared to the Lightback that has a more plasticy feel. I’m sure that I wouldn’t be able to break it but it does feel less sturdy than the original Xbox 360 controller.
Light Feedback on the controller, while being a great feature, seems to be fairly useless most of the time. When in an online match of Halo 4 I generally don’t look at the controller and this is because when you are gaming you need full attention on the game itself. At times I did make sure that I looked down at the controller to test the Light Feedback – and it was impressive! Turning your room’s lights off and playing in the dark would be recommended to check out this feature, I tried it and the controller even matches my Alienware PC setup, with the sleek black colour and red lights, which made it look beautiful.
Wire length is always a concern for me when going back to wired controllers as I am used to using wireless these days, though the Thrustmaster GPX Lightback has a reasonable length wire which reached my PC easily (due to it being close to my monitor) but was a bit more of a push when playing the Xbox 360 as that was across the room.
Overall the Thrustmaster GPX Lightback is a well designed Xbox 360 and PC controller which includes everything you would expect on a typical Xbox 360 controller, whilst throwing in two new Lightback features which add to your gaming experience. While I feel gamers will not see the Lightback features often, they are indeed useful and I can imagine they are even more useful for games such as racing games, where you will want to see how much acceleration you are using. The feel of the controller does feel slightly worse than that of the Xbox 360 controller due to the plastic feel of the GPX Lightback, giving it a less sturdy feel. Price wise, you are looking at an extra £10 compared to your original Xbox 360 controller, while this is worth it I would say that the price should be down closer to the original Xbox 360 controller’s price range. The features that add to this controller though do make it a worthwhile purchase over an original Xbox 360 controller.
+ Great Lightback features with responsive D-Pad and comfortable shape
– Lightback features may not be seen midgame due to attention being kept on screen and controller feels less sturdy than a traditional Xbox 360 controller
Purchase the Thrustmaster GPX Lightback Here
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.