I’ve been anxiously waiting to get my Steam Controller amidst the mixed feedback by the community. I needed a dedicated controller for my PC because the mouse + keyboard combo is just not great for the games I like to play. I play mostly JRPGs, 3rd Person Action Games, Civilization V, and some 1st Person Shooters.
Being able to map buttons myself, or choose one created by the Steam community is the best thing Steam has done to make the Steam Controller experience a lot better.
The Steam Controller feels very solid. Not a fan of most glossy finishes, but I think it’s glossy in the right places. The controller doesn’t feel cheap. It’s as big and weighs just like a XBOX controller.
The buttons don’t feel wobbly. The Steam Controller’s joystick is reminiscent of the PlayStation controller’s joystick. The two trackpads are very different in terms of texture and appearance, but feel solid.
Gripping the controller doesn’t feel too awkward despite its inward gripping appearance. The handles are thick enough for my slightly bigger hands.
Haptic Feedback is Different
Haptic feedback reminds me of how the Force Touch Trackpad works. It vibrates, but not really. It’s a weird experience and I suggest you try it! A negative: haptic feedback creates a weird vibrating sound from the trackpad. I wish Valve would come up with something to disable that sound while keeping the vibrating sensation intact.
Being able to use the right trackpad as a mouse is one of the best features of the Steam Controller. Haptic feedback gives me an idea about the inertia of my movements. Pretty cool since it kinda feels like you’re rolling a ball to move your mouse or adjusting your camera in-game.
Haptic feedback gives you a sensation that you’re moving/touching something, when you’re just putting your thumb on a flat surface. It’s incredibly satisfying to use.
Backplate Buttons FTW
The backplate buttons are awesome! They are responsive and has yet to fail me. It’s weird, because they really don’t look that great. The way your hands are positioned while using the Steam Controller makes the backplate buttons very accessible, sometimes more accessible than the shoulder buttons! I usually map them to the XY buttons for fast access.
Gyro is Genius
I’ve only used the Gyro for Strike Suit Zero, but many people swear by it for FPS games like CSGO! It’s great for flying/driving simulation games. It feels more responsive than the sixaxis controller.
I’ve read about people using the Gyro for fine aiming in FPS games. I’ll update this post once I’ve spent enough time doing that.
There is always good support from the Steam Community. I don’t post there much, but I’ve read guides and even used controller settings offered by the community.
It’s stupid easy how I could change the default button mappings to a better one made by the Steam Community. It saves me a lot of time manually figuring out the best mapping for each game. If you’re playing a game and then realize the default mappings aren’t working for you, you can change your button mappings and try your new settings right away!
Weird Button Placement
I think the ABXY buttons are placed too near each other. It also feels awkward going from the right trackpad to the ABXY buttons. The LB and RB buttons feel a little stiff and pressing them feels out of my way.
The lack of proper directional buttons got to me when navigating menus. It’s so awkward using the joystick to navigate through menus, cell, etc. The left trackpad doesn’t really help much in situations like these. Ninja edit: I lied. I just spent an hour using the left trackpad for directional input in old games. It works like a charm. I guess I don’t like how loud the click sound is and how far apart the left and right buttons are. Other than that, it feels natural, given some time.
Trackpads Can Be Customized Like Crazy
You can set the trackpad to be used as a joystick w/ click, extra buttons (4 for each), a scroll wheel (this was a great surprise to me!), a mouse, and a keyboard! You can set a button as a modifier (called mode shift button) and that literally adds a whole new dimension to the controller. Heck you can even use a “soft press” of the paddle buttons to use as a modifier! You can modify the trackpad to be used as normal buttons, and “click” just by touching the corresponding area.
Using the trackpad for directional input lets you simultaneously press two keys by pressing in between them. For example: to input down -> down forward -> forward, you only need to press the down “button” and move your thumb to the forward key. Exactly the same way you would with directional buttons!
You could set the haptics off, on low, medium, or intense. I like putting my haptics on intense to actually feel my button presses.
At first, I didn’t think the Steam Controller was for everyone. The trackpads could be very unfamiliar, but you should give it some time. The Steam Controller is so customizable and adds a new dimension to mouse + keyboard optimized games.
I suggest that you give it a try for a week, play around with the Steam community’s config, and play with some familiar games!
Got the Steam Controller? Let me know what you think~! Some pics of the stuff that came with the Steam Controller below.