The Joycon Controller(s):
These things. Everyone has an opinion about these things and here is mine: It/they are… fine…they’re OKAY.
Nintendo’s decision to make these symmetric for multiplayer purposes is both an amazing idea and a crippling one. On the one hand you can play with anyone, at anytime without worrying about having another controller. It also technically means you got two controllers in the box when you bought it. When was the last time that has happened for a major console release? Yet, it means we don’t get a true-directional pad and the offset stick layout can be uncomfortable for many when in Handheld mode. Sure, you could buy the Pro controller but that is ANOTHER expense you’d have to swallow.
The 4-circles on the left pad replacing the direction cross isn’t ideal, but so far in my gameplay tests it isn’t a huge issue, especially if you are familiar with playing on a Playstation as it does have that separation feel like the dualshocks. All of the buttons on a whole feel very nice, responsive and tactile even though they have the most ludicrously low travel of any controller I’ve played it. The need for that tactile click is really important and while the buttons don’t move much, that satisfying click is still there. The sticks don’t feel as smooth as a PS4 or X1 controller and this seems to be Nintendo’s weakness. Every stick in every controller they’ve ever released just hasn’t felt as good as the competition. Are they useless? of course not and they function just fine. But in terms of feel it’s par for the course and nothing pass passable, sadly.
Each Joycon slides pretty effortlessly into the side rail of the system, accompanied by a little animation on the screen at their respective sides to indicate it’s in position. Nice little touch to show that the system saw the action and it’s ready for use, you know, in case you didn’t hear the audible click of the locking mechanism. Once in place they are pretty secure and require a button press on the upper back on the joycon in order to slide it back out of it’s rail. This applies to the controller shell that comes with the device as well. The placement of that lock button could have been in a better spot on the back of the joycon to make sliding as easy as the commercials portrayed, but it isn’t a big deal.
Using a single Joycon for split screen isn’t as bad as you might think. Sure it’s cramped and you aren’t going to be able to play for extended periods of time, but for on the go matches with friends or even party play with round-robin style tournaments and the likes it’s going to be fine. I can’t see slogging through some massive Co-op game with these though as the tight stick and button placement would kill your hands after a while. So if that is what you plan on.. *sigh* The Pro controller might be a good option.