Say what you will about PlayStation and Nintendo, when Xbox releases a new first-party controller they make a real event out of it. Unfortunately, this isn’t something we’ve been able to see much lately, due to all three next-gen consoles only just reaching their 1st anniversary. Thank heavens, then, that Microsoft has chosen to celebrate the occasion in style with the launch of the Halo Infinite Limited Edition Xbox Elite Wireless Series 2 Controller. Packing in all the bells and whistles, Xbox’s premiere first-party gamepad just got a whole lot more attractive.
To get the obvious out of the way, aside from some cool etched-on Easter Eggs and the overall aesthetic, there’s hardly a difference between this and the regular Xbox Elite Wireless Series 2 Controller from November 2019. It’s still an Elite Series 2, after all. Hair trigger locks? Check. Adjustable-tension analogue sticks? Of course. It even features the same style of wrap-around rubberized grip that makes it a dream to hold in the hands for long play sessions. So far, so expected. For long-time Halo fans, however, the visual update has been worth it.
Styled after the legendary hero, Master Chief himself, the Halo Infinite Limited Edition Xbox Elite Wireless Series 2 Controller does an excellent job at replicating his classic green battle-worn armour. The affection for Xbox’s premiere exclusive series doesn’t stop there, though. The two included D-pad options both come coated in an attractive gold, mimicking the Chief’s visor colour seen as he stares out to the planets below while aboard the Pillar of Autumn. Just like the Xbox controller seen with the limited-edition Cyberpunk 2077 Xbox One, there’s a decent litany of scuffs featured all over, too.
Master Chief’s spartan designation, 117, can also be seen in a couple of places – namely just above the controller’s Y button and front facing just beneath the charge port. Speaking of which, even the provided charging dock touts a Halo reference. Only it’s probably not one you’re familiar with yet. This limited-edition Elite Series 2 controller is just as much about commemorating Halo Infinite as well as the franchise’s past, you see, but we’d say the engineers and designers at Microsoft have achieved a good balance. Overall, the aesthetic of this premium gamepad is utterly amazing, serving as a good standalone showcase item for those uninterested in the limited edition Halo Elite Xbox Series X console.
So how does the gamepad handle? Well, as previously alluded to, if you’re familiar with the original Xbox Elite Series 2 controller you’ll have some idea of what to expect. In addition to a gorgeous and weighty premium accessory, you’re also getting six different thumbstick options, two alternate D-pads and adjustable hair trigger locks that prove useful when wanting to reduce your time-to-kill. Halo Infinite is already lighting up the Twitch streams with its addictive brand of online multiplayer, and using this while playing does almost make you feel invincible.
All this will feel exciting to Xbox players yet to pick up a pro controller of any kind, but to veterans it is pretty much business as usual. Even still, swapping out the thumbsticks and D-pads is as easy as a simple magnetic click. Elsewhere, using the thumbstick adjustment key to rotate into the grooves of either stick might seem odd at first, but becomes second nature when you liken it to using a screwdriver. Plus, the hope is that you’ll never need to adjust them again once set to your preferred tension level.
It might sound silly, but another great perk of the Halo Infinite Limited Edition Xbox Elite Wireless Series 2 Controller is indeed the fact that it’s rechargeable. This has always been one of our biggest gripes with first-party Xbox gamepads dating all the way back to the 360. Whereas Nintendo and PlayStation have let you charge using either Micro-USB or USB-C for the longest time. Microsoft insists on making you swap out new batteries like the “good” old days. Much like the previous two Xbox Elite designs, however, that’s done away with for a neat charging dock and a Master Chief green braided USB cable. It’ll feel like a revelation to Xbox players still using the Series X or Xbox One launch controller.
Okay, so the Halo Infinite Limited Edition Xbox Elite Wireless Series 2 Controller is an attractive item sure to delight any budding Spartan. But the question then becomes: is it worth the £179.99 price tag? It’s especially prescient considering that you can purchase the non-Halo Elite 2 controller for £20 less. That said, such a premium isn’t too egregious for a gamepad that looks as good on the eye as this. If you’re already prepared to pay £150 for some performance-enhancing extras, we think it’s a fair price.
As the hype for Halo Infinite’s campaign continues to build and more and more players check out its free multiplayer, we wouldn’t blame anyone treating themselves to such a great-looking and feeling device. Xbox has simply perfected what players have come to expect from a premium controller option, only now it comes bundled with an appropriately epic look for FPS fans that also finds room to include some nice not-so hidden flourishes. If you’re a major Halo player, we love it and are sure you will too.
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