First impressions are very, very important in the hardware world. As much as we all know that it’s what’s inside that counts, how a product is packaged is what gives us an idea of what we can expect, or how seriously the company takes its product. If I was going off of first impressions when I received the Thrustmaster T-1 Wireless controller, I would have said “Did you find this at a car boot sale?”. Tightly packaged in the horrible blisterpack of death – you know, the one that develops sharp plastic edges capable of removing digits no matter how you try to open it. Instantly, the T-1’s packaging betrays it as a budget product that probably isn’t going to last through some heavy use. But will it stand the test of time? Let’s see.
First off, it’s small. Really small. I have average sized hands and I can reach the d-pad with my thumb on the other side of the controller. Because it’s so undersized, the only way you can play comfortably is with the balls of your thumbs rather than the tips, which throws up another problem – my average sized thumbs knock together on the analogue sticks, which are tiny and don’t grip all that well. It does sit in your hands nicely, however, thanks to the contoured grooves on the side of the controller. You will find your hands forming undeniable claws after time, though, and you’ll constantly be juggling it around to stay comfortable. Fine for short sessions, or dainty handed gamers – but not so much for the meaty, muscly mitts and thumbs of the gaming elite.
I was going to make a video to accompany this review of the various ways I tried holding the controller to be able to play comfortably, but it seemed like a fruitless exercise. The controller is just plain difficult to use for any longer than an hour. The only positive thing I can really take away from it is that it’s lightweight, even with three triple AAA batteries in it.
While the T-1 is undeniably a bit on the small side, it’s nicely designed, adhering to the current homogenisation of controller design (Aping the 360’s chunky body). It has an all-over cheap feel but is otherwise well built – it just has some cheap materials. The grooves on the grip really do help but they don’t feel awfully tactile. I can compare it to holding a really cheap hairbrush or dustpan. Buttons and triggers don’t give much feedback and generally feel a bit clicky. A resounding ‘meh’ on all fronts.
If you’re using the T-1 on a PS3, it works perfectly. Just insert the USB receiver that comes with it into a slot and they pair just like that. If you intend to play on PC, however, you’re going to have a much more complicated time of it.
Frankly, I only found my way to getting the controller working on my PC through trial and error. Long, painful, trial and error. When I could have A) – plugged in my PS3 controller and had it working in a second with emulation software, or B) – done the exact same thing with my 360 controller. Eventually I just used the same emulator program I do to use my PS3 controller for PC gaming and it worked fine, but plug and play should be a serious focus these days. I used the controller for a series of hour-long periods and like clockwork, the left analogue stick just stopped moving left after too much use. Just locked up entirely, and wouldn’t budge until I either left it alone for a bit or reset the controller. Dragonborn was running across the map in ever-broadening circles, like Zoolander with a case of OCD. Otherwise the controller was completely responsive, matching up to the standard controller with ease. That left stick issue could really throw a spanner in the works of any fighting game, though.
All in all? It does the job, but it’s the controller you give to the guest so you can use the licensed one. At the £20 price point you may as well stop being so cheap and splash out the extra £10 on an official Sony controller and use the USB lead to play on your PC. The PC connectivity frankly isn’t simple enough to justify the cheap build quality and unreliability. If you’re too broke to stretch to an official PS3 controller, you’re too broke to be buying game controllers. You don’t need to play two player this badly! For the love of god, go and stock your cupboards, buy a homeless guy twenty cups of coffee, just don’t throw good money after bad with this flimsy copycat. Functional, but that’s about it.
Grab the Control Pad from Amazon 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.