Marketed as an alternative to Nintendo’s Pro controller for the WiiU and retailing for $34.99, Nyko has done an admirable job. Setup is fairly painless as the controller syncs up with the WiiU just like Nintendo’s first party controllers. Just press the sync button on both the system and controller to get started. The controller itself also comes packaged with a charging cable. Though completely unrelated to the functionality of the controller, Nyko has several blue highlights to the controller that I found stand out nicely and help to set it apart from even other Nyko products.
Like most of their other controllers, the Pro Commander has a soft-touch rubber finish that makes it very comfortable to hold even after marathon gaming sessions. The controller is light and feels fairly natural to hold. They’ve also included the ever-popular offset analog sticks with concave tops which is a huge improvement over the rounded tops of Nintendo’s pro controller. In fact, the only thing Nyko doesn’t quite nail in the feel of the controller is the placement of the grips. They have designed the handles of the controller sticking almost straight down from the main body which both make the controller feel a little on the small side and place those sensitive gaming wrists at an uncomfortable angle.
With the offset analog sticks, the face buttons of the Pro Commander have been moved up from the typical placement on Nintendo’s pro controllers. The buttons themselves feel nice to press and stick up a little farther than a normal controller, minimizing those agonizing moments of having to start over because you didn’t actually press the button. The directional pad unfortunately suffers from being almost the opposite of the face buttons. The pad itself is a little stiff. Playing a fighting game like Injustice or other games that require precise inputs can lean toward frustrating as the pad tends to stick, especially on those “rolling” inputs (down, down-forward, forward). Pressing down on the analog sticks is also somewhat stiff but is not nearly as rough as some of Nyko’s previous controllers.
Nyko seems to know what does and doesn’t work with some of their designs, particularly when it comes to their triggers. The Pro Commander’s trigger buttons have a pleasing texture and curve slightly upwards. With a nice texture and the right amount of give the triggers are comfortable and easy to press down on, making games that use them feel great. If only the shoulder buttons fared as well. While improved over some of their other controllers, the Pro Commander suffers from slightly squishy shoulder buttons. There’s not much of a “click” when the buttons are pressed and it can be a bit jarring since they don’t stick up much. That said, they are 100% functional and if you use a lot of Nyko products, you’ll be right at home with the feel.
The Pro Commander is a solidly built controller with some nice improvements over Nintendo’s pro controller design. At it’s lower price point and 20+ hour battery life it is a great backup controller for marathon or competitive gamers. Not having to use a usb dongle like many other wireless controllers means no worries about breaking part of it off and the controller itself is reliable and comfortable to use, even if holding it can feel a bit odd.