Here’s a situation that happens all too regularly: group of friends are coming over for a game of Madden NFL, but you either lack an adequate number of controllers. Or the controllers you do have are perilously low on power. Sure, this misfortune could be avoided by keeping a reserve of AA batteries reserved just for gameday, but with so many power-hungry remotes, controllers, and devices, that can be difficult as striving for an undefeated season with the Cleveland Browns.
One slick solution can be found in Performance Design Product’s Faceoff, a controller that does double-duty, working on both Xbox Ones as well as Windows PC. Since it’s wired, you never have to worry about robbing helpless remotes for a pair of AA’s. What more, a corded connection nearly eliminates input lag, giving you the edge at the snap. What’s more, the Faceoff allows you to show your team spirit. The peripheral ships with a removal pigskin faceplate. But once players open up the package, they’ll find a redemption code allowing them to receive an additional plate for any of the NFL’s thirty-two teams. Pleasingly, PDP even covers postage.
But customization is pure folly if the controller is substandard. Fortunately, the Faceoff is reasonably well-built- nearly rivaling the quality of a first-party controller. Remove the device from its cardboard housing and you’ll notice that the peripheral closely emulates the size, shape, and ergonomics of a Microsoft Xbox One controller. Largely, button, triggers, and analog sticks feel the same with the same, demonstrating identical size, throw, and tension. During play we were able to keep Dak Prescott scrambling and throwing pinpoint accurate passes just like we did with the first-party controller. And the precision wasn’t limited to Madden, with our 2017 Nissan GT-R hugging Forza Horizon 3’s curving roads just as well as with any another input device.
The directional pad is one area where the Faceoff controller doesn’t fare as well. Our team of six volunteer evaluators tended to prefer Microsoft’s controller, citing the both tactile and aural click on the first-party d-pad. Loading up Killer Instinct and Mortal Kombat X seemed to validate these sentiments with the majority finding the Faceoff slightly inferior. But given Madden’s limited use of the direction pad (Madden 17 uses it to control camera zoon, while earlier iterations use it to set up specific player coverage), that might not be too much of an issue for the peripheral’s intended audience. One other factor noted by the testing team was that the Faceoff felt a bit lighter than its counterpart.
When connected to a PC, the Faceoff was recognized instantly by most games with full or partial controller support. Save for the aforementioned direction pad disparity, many of the team stated that found the controller just as functional as the first-party controller and near-unanimously favored the peripheral over the Steam controller when playing first-person shooters and platformers.
While some might have a preference for braided cords, the rubberized 10 foot USB cable that comes with the Faceoff isn’t bad. When looped after play sessions, the cord didn’t remain an excessive amount of coil, thus resisting the type of tangle that occur when cables have memory. Generally, this level of workmanship carriers over to the controller. Largely, the device is sturdily build, with button that seem like they should last several seasons. And while the default faceplate might have felt a bit more rubbery- to simulate the feel of actual football, the bumpy finish extend a bit of grip. What’s more faceplates come off easily enough, allowing for replacement should your favorite squad fail to make the playoffs.
Beyond having internal motors to offer rumble, the Faceoff also includes an audio jack at the base of the unit. Pleasingly, audio functionality is competent, with the controller allowing players to adjust game volume and chat/game sound mixing with a simultaneous push of an dedicated button and a press of the directional pad. A double-press of the audio button conveniently mutes your microphone input.
With a MSRP of sixty dollars and a street price that’s ten dollars cheaper, the PDP Faceoff retails for about the same price as Microsoft’s wireless controller. As such, for general interest gamers, the first-party peripheral still gets the nod. But for football fanatics who want to flaunt their team allegiance, the Faceoff is a fun and functional alternative.
A Faceoff controller was provided for review purposes from the manufacturer.