PDP, formerly Pelican, has released a Marvel themed “Versus fighting game controller.” Since the pad seems to take a lot of inspiration from the NeoGeo pads and, unlike the NeoGeo pad, is available for the Xbox 360 I thought I should review it.
Let’s get this out of the way: This pad feels pretty much on par with the NeoGeo pad. If you play on 360 and want this sort of pad, go forth and spend the $40.
The stick itself feels very similar to the NeoGeo pad but is a tiny bit more sensitive. There’s a nice click whenever the stick is moved in one of the eight directions. The clicks easily mark each directional position to the player. It only took me a few seconds to be able to cancel Kyo’s Fireball into his super with the PDP pad in 2002UM. The best part about the stick is the covering. Whereas the NeoGeo pad has a 2 part stick cover which will eventually lead to ground plastic in the stick innards, the PDP pad has a single cover which should provide excellent protection against dust and other abrasive elements.
The buttons on the PDP pad are hard to figure out. They are as sensitive as Sanwas and have a nice click when activated. These buttons feel much more crisp and precise than the spongy buttons on the NeoGeo pad. That said, the row of buttons on the PDP pad are in a straight diagonal row as opposed to the soft arc of the NeoGeo pad buttons. The PDP buttons are also much closer together than the buttons on the NeoGeo pad. I love the feel of the PDP buttons but wish they were as ergonomic as the NeoGeo pad buttons.
The NeoGeo pad is slightly heavier than the PDP pad but both feel equally solid. The slightly textured backing on the PDP pad feels really good, maybe even a bit better than the NeoGeo pad ABS plastic finish. The cord on the PDP pad is about 6 inches longer than the NeoGeo pad. The Start and Select buttons on the PDP pad are out of the way and are somewhat hard to activate so there are no worries about accidentally pressing those during a match. I’ve never really had a problem with those buttons on the NeoGeo pad but I know most players are quite concerned with the placement of these potential round enders.
In the end, the PDP pad is quite equivalent to the NeoGeo pad. I prefer the NeoGeo pad’s button layout, finish and weight. The PDP pad has nicer buttons and a stick that seems less vulnerable to problems resulting from dust. It’s about time someone has taken the NeoGeo CD/Pocket stick and attempted to improve upon the design and market it to fighting game players. The question will be the durability of the controller in the long run. Will the PDP pad end up being another flimsy piece of tech or has PDP, aka Pelican, pulled a Mad Catz and turned themselves around. Only time will tell.