As mentioned in previous reviews, Performance Design Products (PDP) on occasion have leaned, at least in this reporter’s opinion, too heavily on aesthetics as opposed to a tighter focus on the quality of the product itself. At first glance, that would describe the Afterglow Prismatic Controller for the PC and Xbox One (Performance Design Products, MSRP $49.99). The variety of LED colors generated by prismatic lighting that can be programmed to display different shades while using the controller makes for an interesting piece visually, but will that help in fighting off hordes of zombies or trying to dominate in a multiplayer arena?
The players who would normally make best use of the controller usually boil down to two types: Those who just want to pick up a controller and play and those looking for a deeper, more customizable experience. While the Prismatic offers spontaneity with its fast and responsive premium ALPS Electric dual analog sticks, the extra buttons and dials found on the front and back can provide a distraction for those who are just looking for something basic for their gameplay. For the more hardcore gamer however, those extra buttons and dials offer an enhancement that brings out the full potential of this PDP offering.
With dual rumble motors and impulse triggers providing a uniquely different feel than the standard Xbox One controller, the Prismatic is no slouch when it comes to providing feedback vibration through its bulkier ends and straight into your hands during play. Follow that up with its unique dual multi-function wheels underneath that allow for mapping up to six programmable functions and a configuration app that can be brought up on the Xbox One and we just might have the keys to victory right in the palm of your hands. An additional 3.5 jack allowing for a plug–in headset and the ability to control chat and sound right from the controller itself provides additional reasoning why this controller is an viable substitute if the original manufacturer controller cannot be found.
While the Prismatic offers a plethora of programmable and customizing functions from both a visual and gameplay standpoint, there are drawbacks that may give some hesitation, which become even more defining because of the close proximity in price to a standard Xbox One version. The D-pad under heavy duress does not respond as favorably as the standard unit. Additionally, a 10-foot cable does not allow for most players using the controller to sit back on the couch for some relaxing gaming thanks to the relative shortness of the USB connection itself. For those looking to maximize the experience, the best suggestion would be connecting to an Xbox One that is placed in a smaller setting, for instance a student desk or bedroom because there might be some griping by the individual using it out in the living room area.
So it all comes down to this point: Is the PDP Afterglow Prismatic Controller offering a gaming experience that meets or exceeds that of a standard Xbox One option? For many, the answer will be no. But for those who are really after the ability to customize every aspect of their video game habit, this could be just exactly what they have been looking for.