PDP Afterglow Prismatic Controller Review
You’ve probably at least once in your lifetime used a PDP controller, whether you realized it or not. The iconic Afterglow controller look hasn’t changed much since the PS3 and Xbox 360 days, and this is because Performance Design Products is using a template that works. The look of the controller is a marketing tool, consistent across all platforms and generations, much like their lineup of Afterglow Headsets. However, PDP controllers from the past have always been greeted with mixed reception from reviewers and consumers alike. Has PDP been able to shake some of the doubters perceptions of their controllers? We think so.
From the Box
Signature Prismatic LED Lighting: With Afterglow’s signature Prismatic LED lighting, gamers can set their favorite color, cycle through the rainbow, or turn the lights out completely.
Premium ALPS Analog Sticks: Equipped with the highest quality ALPS analog sticks available, the Afterglow Prismatic Wired Controller offers incredible gaming control.
3.5mm Audio Jack & Controls: Hook up your headset to the 3.5mm audio jack and enjoy chat and volume controls located directly on the controller.
Dual Rumble Motors & Impulse Triggers: The dual rumble motors and impulse triggers let you feel the action through your controller. Get fully immersed in your games and enjoy the experience.
Dual Multi-Function Wheels: Benefit from the Dual Multi-Function wheels with 6 programmable actions. Customize your Afterglow Prismatic Controller to fit your gaming style.
At a quick glance, the wired Afterglow Primsatic Xbox One controller looks like a standard Xbox Controller. The buttons are all in the same place, and the overall look is very similar to Microsoft’s official controller. Outside of the see through plastic and fancy lights, someone not entirely versed in official versus unofficial products might not be able to notice the difference. It is when you flip the controller over where you notice the biggest difference: extra buttons.
Microsoft has been working on their own controller with extra buttons, but this controller – Xbox Elite Controller – comes with a hefty price tag of 149.99. The Afterglow Controller with similar functionality – although without the swappable parts – will run you only 49.99. For those looking for a better First Person Shooter experience at a lower price point, the PDP controller is the way to go.
Aside from the extra buttons on the back, PDP has put headset audio controls right on the controller itself. A little button near the right analog stick will allow you to use the D-pad to adjust chat and game audio. It is a really nifty feature, especially when you pair it with the Afterglow AG 9 Headset – any headset will work, but we really, REALLY like the AG 9!
Like all Afterglow products, the Prismatic Xbox One controller does light up. Using a somewhat confusing combinations of button presses and analog stick turns, you can change the color as well as its brightness. I set this up once, and have never changed it. It’s a cool feature, but like all Afterglow products, it’s a brand defining feature, rather than something that is a ‘must have.’
The two wheel buttons on the back of the controller can be mapped to any button. I’ve experimented with many layouts for different games – which can be saved by the way – and often ended up mapping the back buttons to the L3 and R3 buttons (clicking in right stick and left stick). For most games – including Halo, Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, and more – often map running to the left or right stick click. This often puts extra stress on the thumbs, resulting in pain over short play times. The ability to remap the run – and often the zoom for weapons – to these back buttons is great. This controller is my go-to for first person shooters, and other games as well. Those who play FPS titles, however, will have the most to gain from the mapping ability.
A Game Saver
The biggest reason I wanted to use this controller was actually for playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. In my Phantom Pain review, I came to the conclusion that although the game is an easy 9.0 – 10.0/10.0, the awful controls on Xbox One made the game frustrating difficult to play. The main item used in that title is the binoculars, used for scouting enemy bases and tagging enemy soldiers. Using the binoculars was mapped to the RB button on Xbox One. Unlike triggers that can be held rather comfortably, trying to hold down RB, while clicking in the right stick and moving the focus with the left stick proved to be difficult. More often than not, my finger eventually slipped off the RB button making me start over. Using the buttons on the back of the PDP controller has ended this major issue for me. I have mapped the binoculars to the left, back button and the zoom to the right back button. Problem solved.
I know many people will argue, “Well the new Xbox One standard controllers have a mapping ability too!” While this is true, the controllers don’t actually have extra buttons, so in the case of Metal Gear Solid 5, there really isn’t a great place to remap RB too.
Overall, it is hard to not recommend the Afterglow Prismatic wired Xbox One controller from Performance Design Products. Although you lose the wireless functionality, these controllers are even cheaper than your standard Xbox One controller from Microsoft. Any one with reservations because of past experiences with Afterglow controllers really shouldn’t be worried. The design, construction, and functionality of this controller are on par with your standard Xbox One controllers, and are a much cheaper option over the new Xbox One Elite Controller.