The worst thing about the Nintendo Switch is the Switch itself. The portability is great and the touchscreen controls are a welcome addition to most games. The Joy-Cons are even great when you’re jumping into party games with friends. But when you’re trying to play your average game with the Joy-Cons docked or, worse, with them docked in the comfort grip thing, it feels horrible. It’s the worst feeling console since the 2DS, which was a monstrosity in itself.
That’s where the Fusion Pro controller from PowerA — a Nintendo official licensed product — comes in. It’s like playing on the Switch with an Xbox controller, and it marvellous.
First things first, you know this is a premium product as soon as you take it out of the box and you see the semi-soft travel case. Opening this reveals not only the controller itself, which is gorgeous, but a selection of swappable parts.
Don’t like the black faceplate? PowerA have given you a spare in PS5 white. Thumbsticks too short? They’ve given taller options. Don’t like the mappable pro pack with the four paddles on the back? No worries, you can take that off and cover the contacts with a little backplate.
If it sounds like they’ve thought of everything, it’s because they have. The front plate is simply held in place with a series of magnets, which means that it comes off when you want it to, without any unnecessary tools, but won’t come off when you don’t want it to. After holding the controller upside down and shaking it like the end of a ketchup bottle, I’m satisfied with the strength of those magnets.
And the pro paddles? They’re not for me. Personally, I think they get in the way, but that is mostly because I don’t play games where they confer any real advantage. The fact that you can very easily map or remove them, depending on your preferred style of play, means that this really is a controller for anyone and everyone. It is worth noting, however, that you can’t map them to multiple buttons, so if you’re trying to cheat out combos, this isn’t going to work.
But wait, there’s more. The Fusion pro controller feels genuinely luxurious. The soft-touch finish on the faceplate and the injected rubber grips feel so satisfying, and with the offset analogue sticks, it genuinely feels like I’m sitting here playing Monster Hunter Rise on an Xbox — only the graphics really give it away, and not even the best controller in the world can fix that.
So, given that this is touted as a wireless controller, the success, or perhaps imminent failure, of this device all hinges on its battery life. Once again, PowerA knocks it out of the park — an officially licensed Nintendo product with poor battery life? That’d be the day. The manual that comes with the controller advises that you get around 30 hours of gameplay and 60 days’ standby without having to charge it, and I’ve not seen anything to dispute that. I am extremely pleased with the battery life here.
If you’d prefer to play while plugged in, more power to you. You’ll be pleased to hear that the charge port doesn’t get in the way at all, and at 1.2m, the supplied cable is long enough that you can comfortably sit on the sofa and play, and strong enough that I don’t doubt it’ll stand the test of time.
Last, we have the 3.5mm jack port. This would be a nice addition, but I couldn’t get it to work for the life of me. I tried four different headsets, in combinations of the controller connected via USB and not, but to no avail. At best I got some minor crackling when I unplugged headsets, but since the manual doesn’t refer to the jack port, I’m none the wiser. Still, if this is the only downside to an otherwise excellent controller, I’m sold.