September 27th 2013 1:06 pm

Critic reviews

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First Looks

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Engadget Nov 4, 2013

But there's no getting past it: Using a gamepad with two clickable touchpads feels weird as a stand-in for a traditional gamepad. And it takes some serious adjustment. It requires a lighter touch, for one, as the Steam Controller's dual pads are plenty sensitive.

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Wired Nov 4, 2013

The trackpads are bent inwards and the handles curve up so that only the dead centers of your thumbs make contact with the pads, leading to greater accuracy.

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Joystiq Mar 19, 2014

It's impressive that the Steam Controller can bounce between styles as disparate as 2D adventure and first-person puzzling, and its touch pads could become second nature over time, but it's definitely not going to provide a seamless transition from traditional controllers.

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CNET Mar 19, 2014

Overall, the controller fit into my hands comfortably and struck a very balanced weight. I'm not at all sold on the touch pads, and the button layout can use some definite tweaking, but it may be more appropriate for the types of games you'd more likely see on the PC: FPS and RTS games.

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Ars Technica Mar 21, 2014

The new Steam Controller still feels very nice in the hands, with large rounded legs that fit very nicely in adult-sized palms. There was a noticeable dip in the build quality of the new prototype, though, with apparent horizontal streaks on the plastic housing from the 3D printing process.

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Kotaku Sep 28, 2013

It's familiar enough to be accessible (I believe they tried less conventional designs before they went with a form factor similar to existing gamepads), but much more precise for (say) anything WASD+mouselook.

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Time Oct 11, 2013

Notice how precisely and quickly he’s able to turn and stop precisely when finessing the view, acing 180-degree turns while jumping and dropping objects right where he wants them or hurling them onto platforms just so.

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SlashGear Mar 19, 2014

At the moment, this unit is effectively a prototype in and of itself. The unit we’re working with has near-finalized pieces, but the bulk of its form is 3D-printed. We’re expecting the final product to be much more well-refined, with more than one texture (maybe even glossy bits).

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IGN Nov 4, 2013

Looking ahead, Valve is confident that players will like the controller, but the team is willing to admit that players will have to learn to adjust.

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The Verge Nov 4, 2013

I tried Portal 2, Trine 2, and Metro: Last Light using the controller, and I must admit the controls weren't immediately intuitive. Pressing buttons on the back of the controller to jump, for instance, felt pretty unnatural after spending decades using my thumbs.

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Maximum PC Dec 13, 2013

Again, I’m admittedly an anti-console gamer. I can’t nor have I ever wanted to play games with a console controller because it’s mouse and keyboard or nothing at all for me. The Steam Controller, however, is the closest I’ve ever come to being mildly satisfied with a console controller.

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ExtremeTech Sep 27, 2013

Think about using your thumb to draw a bounding box around tiny units in an RTS, or to attempt a deny in Dota 2. On the other side of the gaming spectrum, would you rather play, for example, Rogue Legacy with actual analog sticks, or with thumbs on a trackpad?

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Forbes Sep 27, 2013

I do love the symmetry and the fact that it’s so customizable and hackable. This is really what makes the entire SteamOS/Steam Machine project interesting. It takes the concept of a console and makes it much more open-ended, much more mod-friendly.

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TechRadar Jan 6, 2014

Tangling up an AT-AT with my tow cable in Shadows of the Empire was difficult, frustrating at times, but I could sense miles of gaming depth just below the surface. If it catches on it could be a sea change for all gaming, not just on PCs.

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TrustedReviews Jan 7, 2014

This is still a work in progress but touchscreen aside, most things seem to be in place. It remains to be seen if Steam fans will really take to it and be willing to give up the keyboard and mouse for a controller that’s by no means perfect.

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The Verge Mar 19, 2014

Actually using those touchpads remains as initially tricky as it was when we first tried them out, but the potential remains for this to be a really new and interesting way of controlling a game.

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IGN Mar 20, 2014

Although the Steam Controller’s design is evolving and improving, its challenges are still the same — undoing years of traditional gamepad experience and committing the time to adapt.

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T3 Mar 26, 2014

Control will always evolve, and it's exciting that Valve is trying to prompt another sea change, bringing mouse subtleties to a gamepad in an all new way, even if we're not sure we're quite ready for it yet.

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How it stacks up

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