Nintendo Switch owners don't have great options for serviceable voice chat in games. Sure, Nintendo has a smartphone app that essentially turns game chat into a VoIP service. But let's be honest; when both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network have integrated chat features, Nintendo's alternative is cumbersome by comparison.
Luckily, third-party-accessories manufacturer PDP has a new controller that aims to deliver the same ease in voice chat found on the other platforms. Unfortunately, for the time being, the device, called the Faceoff Deluxe+ Audio Wired Controller, works only with Fortnite and a handful of other third-party titles.
The boldly titled Faceoff Deluxe+ Audio Wired Controller ($25) looks like any other Switch Pro Controller knockoff. It has two offset analog sticks, good grips and all the necessary buttons that give great bounce and feedback. There are a few additions however. Those include two remappable buttons on the back, as well as a 3.5-mm audio jack for plugging in a headset.
The controller itself is solid. It has a lenticular finish on the front, reminiscent of those 3D moving pictures that simulate movement when tilted from left to right. There's also a wavy pattern that blankets the front of the controller. PDP calls it "camo," but to me, it looks more reminiscent of motor oil sitting atop a puddle of water. It's a cool effect either way and a break from other third-party controllers that simply strike licensing deals with Nintendo to put a Mario hat up front.
And if you don't like the design, you can swap out the faceplate. Or at least you can theoretically; after a few internet searches, it seems that PDP doesn't sell faceplates separately yet.
Comfort and Performance
The controller itself feels great. The sticks were surprisingly smooth and accurate; I liked the kickback of the triggers, and the buttons felt strong, and never hollow. The programmable buttons on the back also felt well constructed.
Unlike the PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller or the shoulder buttons on the Hyperkin Duke for Xbox One, these extra buttons feel like a deliberate part of the design rather than something that was tacked on at the last minute. Jumping from my PowerA controller to PDP's Faceoff Deluxe+ while playing Splatoon 2, I didn't need an adjustment period. My hands quickly wrapped around the grips, and I was using the programmable buttons immediately.
As for voice chat, the only game I could test it on was Fortnite, as Nintendo's first-party games require you to use a separate mobile app. Voice chat technology company Vivox introduced integrated Switch voice compatibility earlier this year. But currently, only a small selection of games support built-in chat, including Fortnite, Paladins and Warframe.
While queuing up for duos in Fortnite on Switch, a surprising number of players had voice chat enabled through Nintendo's phone app. Usually, chat sound coming in through my HyperX headset is either muffled or distant, which could result from the other players' headsets. Game sound also comes through the headset, which is especially handy in a battle royale title like Fortnite.
But the quality of the audio was not up to par, especially compared with the clarity you'd get from a PS4 or Xbox One controller e. It's uncertain if this is an issue with PDP or the Nintendo Switch, but a lot more can be done to create a more vivid aural experience for Fortnite players. Is it playable? Yes. Could it be better? Definitely.
The PDP Faceoff Deluxe+ Audio Wired Controller is a solid third-party offering. And at $25, it's a great value. The controller is impressive on its own for the price, meaning the voice chat for games like Fortnite is a plus. If built-in voice chat on Switch is important to you, then pick up the Faceoff Deluxe+. You won't be disappointed.