The official Pro Controller for Nintendo Switch is usually a very useful accessory, but it has some problems: the D-pad is unreliable, and it does not actually provide any “pro-level” functions. The newest controller of 8BitDo improves these two problems, and the price is lower at the same time.
8BitDo Pro 2 is an upgraded version of SN30Pro Plus, and is already a highly regarded Switch controller. It uses Bluetooth and can also be used with PCs and mobile devices. There is a physical control for switching between Switch, X input, D input and Mac. You can also use it as a wired controller via a USB-C cable. I did try to use it on a PC, but because of the Japanese-style button layout, the bottom is B and the right is A, so it feels more meaningful on the Switch. Or maybe I am too used to using Xbox controllers on PCs.
Aesthetically, it looks like a cross between the SNES pad and the PlayStation controller, with a diamond-shaped body, two handles and symmetrically aligned analog joysticks. The game console I own uses a PlayStation-style gray color scheme, although there are also all-black options and beige models that are reminiscent of the original Game Boy.
It’s not a huge controller, but it feels comfortable in my big palm, with easy access to all the buttons and triggers. Just as importantly, D-pad is very good. It feels more or less like an SNES pad, and its placement above the left analog stick makes it more suitable for games with its main input option. Compared to any 2D games on the Switch, I prefer to use Pro 2 instead of Nintendo’s Pro Controller.
The main function of Pro 2 is a customizable back button that you can press with your middle finger. These are common elements of today’s enthusiast-centric controllers, from Microsoft’s Elite controllers to third-party products (such as PS4’s Astro C40). Sony has also released accessories that bring similar features to DualShock 4.
These buttons are useful because they allow you to enter commands without releasing your finger. For example, most first-person shooters assign jumps to face buttons, which means it can be awkward to activate it while aiming. Using a controller like Pro 2, you can set the back button to work the same way as a given face button, freeing you up time to design a more flexible control scheme. Pro 2 makes it easier for you to operate the camera during shooting Monster Hunter Rise Fight, it may be worth the price.
The back button on the Pro 2 is responsive, clicks, and activates with a slight squeeze. You can distribute via 8BitDo’s Ultimate Software app, which is now available on Pro 2 on iOS 2 and Android, and on PC. It is not as simple as some professional controller settings, it allows you to remap buttons directly on the controller itself, but it does support multiple configuration files and works well. In addition to button assignments, the application can also be used to modify the controller’s vibration intensity and joystick sensitivity.
You will indeed miss some of the Switch Pro controller features of 8BitDo Pro 2. Although the rumble is stable, it doesn’t feel as precise as Nintendo’s HD Rumble in supported games. Pro 2 also lacks an NFC reader, so it cannot be used with Amiibo figurines. And it cannot be used to power on the switch, which is common to most third-party controllers across various platforms.
For $49.99, these omissions are understandable. This is $20 cheaper than similar products from Nintendo, not to mention that you will find a professional controller for Xbox or PlayStation for between $180-200. All things considered, I will put 8BitDo Pro 2 on the official Nintendo controller for most of the week.
8BitDo Pro 2 will start shipping on April 12.