• Dax J Martin-Cheeves

UNBOX: HORISPLIT PAD PRO "Pokémon Edition"

Updated: Jul 29


By Daxavier Josiah


Since the release of the game known as DAEMON X MACHINA I have been interested in a controller that was first created specifically for the configurations and gameplay of that popular Mecha game. The company known as HORI went out of their way to develop a customizable controller that allowed you to assign buttons needed for that game and provide a better simulated experience compared to the traditional Joy-Cons. The success of this controller has allowed HORI to develop more controllers in a variety of colors and themes that celebrates other popular games like Pac-Man, Monster Hunter, and Pokémon. I decided on the Pokémon edition as a tribute to my time with the cast on the METAVERSE. My purpose for investing in this product is to seek the following:

  1. Comfortability

  2. Quality of the analog sticks.

  3. How the turbo button factors in.

Let's find out what I learned from this.


PROS & CONS:

PROS


COMFORTABILITY

The one thing you will clearly notice is that the full-size HORI controller is much larger in scale than the traditional Joy-Con controllers in every way from the design of it, buttons, and analog sticks.


This controller was made for those who enjoy playing with controllers from game consoles like the PS4/5 and XBOX 360/SERIES X and S. The design of the controllers provides that same comfort and for the better if you are a person with large hands. One of the main complaints by some gamers where that the Joy-Cons were too small for them, and it would provide a level of discomfort. HORI has solved that problem as this feels just as smooth and wide in your hands as those other controllers. The layout of the buttons and analog sticks resembling that of an XBOX/PC controller it feels right at home for those who want to play FPS games with them. For those who are used to playing with the Joy-Cons it may take a little while to assimilate to the feel of it but once you do it feels great (provided that the size of your hand can wrap around them).



QUALITY of the ANALOG STICK and D-PAD

Along with the scale and frame of the HORI Split Pro Pad comes the buttons and analog stick which are also designed to be bigger than what you are used to on a Joy-Con controller. The bigger buttons are a welcomed feature in that they feel easier to access. I like that they are spaced a bit farther than the traditional Joy-Cons as it allows me to focus on the buttons, I need rather than hit a button I didn't mean to hit. Another plus is that they are a bit higher than normal which keeps me from feeling like I am pressing too hard on them. When it comes to the analog sticks that may be a case-by-case basis again based on the size of your hands. The analog sticks are vertically a few centimeters higher than normal so getting used to using them solely depends on your thumbs reach. Bigger hands will not have a problem working around this, but smaller hands may feel a bit awkward when trying to use them. Those of you who prefer the traditional D-PAD instead of Nintendo's four button directional pad will be incredibly happy to know that the Split Pad Pro's precision D-Pad provides highly functional and fluid gameplay especially for fighting games. I've played a range of fighters from SNK classic fighters to STREET FIGHTERS, and the recent SAMURAI SHOWDOWN and every command I made it reacted simply fine.


TURBO and ASSIGN BUTTONS

One of my favorite features in a third-party controller for a game system is the use of a turbo button. Back when the SEGA Genesis and the Super NES were released there were dozens of companies like MAD KATZ for example who would make controllers for 16bit games that were sometimes challenging to play.


The use of the Turbo button would combat the challenge for a better outcome of your game play experience. I lived for these controllers. But for some reason around the time of the PS2 the idea of making third party controllers with a turbo feature seem to be outdated. My theory on the reason for that could be that companies thought that the industry was moving forward from 2D to 3D completely. If true it would be a challenge to use a turbo feature on a game where it is using polygon graphics. The animation wouldn't be able to match the speed of command. Little did we know that retro game is not only here to stay but it is as popular as it ever was. I for one am happy that this feature is being brought back as there are dozens of Indy games out there that celebrate the use of this feature. And it does not disappoint (except when playing NES Pro Wrestling. No matter how fast those buttons are I still get my ass handed to me). You simply hold the turbo button down while pressing the button(s) you want to go turbo and you are now in the Speed force in the world of gaming. Hold the button down again and it easily turns the turbo feature off.

The Assign button allows you to program the rear triggers to be another use of the L and R shoulder buttons. As I mentioned before this feature was originally designed for DAEMON X MACHINA and only that game at the time. While they can be used for other games, I am not sure if they serve any real purpose for most of the Nintendo Switch library, yet they are there if you feel that you want a different was to play a game. At the end of the day, it is just another feature on the controller that is just there.


SIDE NOTE: If you are wondering about the autograph on the back of my Nintendo Switch, it is an autograph from none other than the great Yoshinori Ono. The former Capcom Executive Producer of STREET FIGHTER 4 & 5 who was at SDCC in 2017 during their annual meet and greet for UDON Entertainment.

I have kept it in great shape since. Also, funny story here in these pics is that I got a photo bomb moment from not only my wife but also artist and UDON Entertainment Founder LONG VO who in 2019 I would host a TALK TIME LIVE panel starring him and CHAMBA at Philadelphia's Keystone Comic Con. Funny how the world works.

CONS


I only have one issue and one minor disappointment with this controller. The issue I have with the HORI Split Pad Pro comes in the form of the HOME button which works fluidly when using it to go back to the home screen or holding it down to open the options for Sleep Mode, Auto-Brightness, Airplane Mode. Traditionally when using the button on a normal Joy-Con you can use the HOME button to wake up your Nintendo Switch from Sleep Mode with just the touch of the button. However, I find it difficult when trying to use the button while attempting the same command. It works but only sporadically as it took me up to 2 to 3 attempts for it to work. Otherwise, you will need to turn on your Switch using the power button. I don't know if that is something that all the HORI controllers do or it could be a defective function, but it was a bit of a letdown because everything works so well. The minor disappointment doesn't really take away from the overall quality of the controller, yet I do wish they would have added a rumble function to it. While the price for the HORI controllers is around 40% less than that of the traditional Joy-Cons I would have been worth the investment if they would have to charge more to add that feature to their controllers.



OVERALL:


The full-size controller experience of the HORI Split Pad Pro is worth the price. They provide the right comfort I needed for hours of playing and doesn't result in my hands cramping up as the result of going hard using the smaller controllers. With the added turbo buttons, it brings back a fun and nostalgic playthrough that I haven't enjoyed in quite some time. Despite the inconsistencies with the HOME button, the lack of need for the ASSIGN features, and the lack of a rumble feature, this controller is the best for those with big hands that want to genuinely enjoy the greatness that is the Nintendo Switch. For that I give this controller.......



OVERALL: B