Hey folks, Valkor here. When it comes to 3rd party controllers, even though I've tested some quality joypads such as the Snakebyte Bluetooth Controller for the PS3, I still get skittish when a new controller comes my way. How does all that relate to this next review? Well entering into the Val-Cave is none other than PDP (Performance Design Products), whose first visit into the cave was a successful one with a couple of Disney and Marvel iPhone 4 covers. That was an easy pass, but now we get some serious hands on with their latest controller – the PDP Versus Fighting Pad for the Xbox 360. And it looks as though they've scored themselves another win.
PDP's Versus Fighting Pad is a wired controller that's specifically designed for those who love them some fighting games such as Street Fighter 4, Mortal Kombat, or Marvel vs. Capcom 3 just to name a few, but don't really care for the layout of their current controller. What the Versus Pad does is mimic the 6 button layout of arcade machines by bringing the left/right bumper buttons and placing them on the face of the controller along with the AB and XY buttons and switching the start/back button at the top between the left/right triggers. The D-pad is a mix between analog and thumb stick, and reminds me of the classic NES MAX controller, only with the thumb stick protruding out more. Looking at the guts of the controller, the Versus Pad features micro controllers similar to that of an arcade stick (which also gives it that clicking sound whenever you press a button); so you're pretty much holding an actual arcade controller. To round out its features, the Versus pad has 10 feet of wire connected to it and a headphone jack below the face.
I'm not heavy into fighting games as I used to be, so when testing out the Versus Pad, it gave me the opportunity to try out such as titles as Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and the most recent Mortal Kombat. Games that I passed on because… yea I'll admit it, I suck. And the results are in!
I feel winds of change are blowing… and it feels good as the Versus Pad not only upped my game to just slightly above amateur, but it also impressed in other non-fighting game environments as well. As far as fighting games go, I popped in a copy of MVC3 followed by MK and was able to pull off some sick moves repeatedly and with ease, which has never happened to me before in any fighting game. Yea it tooksome time to learn those moves, but I did it! The responsiveness and accuracy of the controller was precise and breathtaking, it just felt so right. Yea I'm not up there yet with the majors, but I'm more than happy going solo with this controller until I can at least keep up. Moving along, I tossed in a copy of Sega Genesis Ultimate Collection to play some Streets of Rage 2 and I found that the Versus Pad works equally as well as it did with the fighting games. SOR 2 is a simple beat 'em up and playing with the standard controller is OK, but with the Versus Pad, it's like a dream. As much as I've played the game, I think this round I chalked up my fastest run yet. So yes, the Versus Pad was made for fighting games, but you'll find that it's useful in other titles as well.
Bonus: The Versus Pad does work on the PC once you download the Xbox 360 driver! Simply click on the highlight link, which will take you to the Microsoft website, click on the "support" tab, and download the driver that best suits your windows operating system> From there it's an easy install and you're on your way.
That infernal clicking!! Actually it isn't that bad and in the heat of battle, you'll barely notice it.
Score another win for the PDP gang as their Versus Fighting Pad proves to be a worthy contender in the 3rd party controller market. Fans of fighting games should definitely pick one up to get that true arcade feel in the palm of your hands. The Versus Pad is available in both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 flavors with a suggested retail of about 40 bucks (lower prices are available if you know where to look). And out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving PDP's Versus Pad a perfect 5 and it's been Valkor tested and TOV Approved!