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Thanks to the fine folks at Thrustmaster, we’ve spent some time of late getting a little more hands on with the first ever Hands On Throttle And Stick for the Xbox One. Skip straight to our PB Unboxed video below, or continue with our full review, just here
As you may be aware the Pixel Bandits “PBSF Clan and Community” is almost hazardously addicted to Frontier Developments recent (ish) remake, Elite Dangerous. For those of you who aren’t up to date with 2014 yet, Elite as a title started over 30 years ago back on the good old BBC Micro, but it’s come on a little bit since then.
The latest iteration is in glorious HD and available on PC, Ps4, Xbox One and Mac (though the Mac portion might leave a little to be desired). While Playstation have had a HOTAS setup for a little while now, fans of the title on Xbox One have been crying out for a Microsoft version since it was released in the Game Preview Program during E3 of 2015.
Good news then that October 7th saw the release of the very first (and as yet only) Xbox One HOTAS, coinciding with the Frontier Expo at Here East, London. We’ve been almost patiently waiting to get our hands on a version here and Thrustmaster have certainly not disappointed.
It’s modeled, as we expected, on the T.Flight 4 / T.Flight X models which have been available for PS3, PS4, and PC for quite some time.
The build quality in itself is solid, and there is little there which gives us worry that bits are going to be flying off within a few minutes.
With no jagged edges, and ergonomically designed, it’s easy to tell that while this might be the first HOTAS outing for Microsoft’s big box, it’s certainly not the first crack of the whip for the folks at Thrustmaster
The Frontier team did a great job of creating the Elite Dangerous context menus which helped console pilots to fit all the functions they need (or most of them at least) on one control pad. It may seem at first that there are many more options on the throttle and stick here, but in reality the number isn’t drastically different.
While we have the seeming addition of the real paddles, B1-5 and previous and next buttons, bear in mind that we are missing what would be the shoulder buttons, as well as left and right analogue click. As you can see in the video above (or picture just below) we’ve got our first draft of our new control scheme up and running and while the improvement is not as huge as it may first seem, we definitely have enough room (and then some) to get in all the functions we need.
The stick itself has a good range of motion, and is potentially the biggest draw for pilots who’ve only played with a controller. The ability to have all ship controls at your fingertips without having to switch between standard and alternate controls is a huge pull here, and it’s one of the reasons why we can’t really see ourselves going back to using just a pad in the near future.
The Run Down
Build Quality: 9/10: We’re very happy with the controller quality itself, and with a well crafted and ergonomic design this solid piece of kit feels like it will last us well enough down the line. We’d very much have liked to see a heavier material used on the Throttle’s rear paddles, but overall we’d say it is a well made piece of kit
Price: 7/10: The seventy pound price tag is a little high when compared to the Playstation and PC variants of what is essentially the same controller. we’re hoping that as time moves on away from launch, the T.Flight HOTAS One will fall down a little but on that one only time will tell. As it’s still the only HOTAS available for Xbox, it certainly has exclusivity, and it would be interesting to see what happened to the price not only after release, but if a competitor hit the market as well.
Satisfaction: 9/10: We’re very happy with the HOTAS One, and not just because it’s our only option. With the extra controls given, the great in game compatibility with Elite Dangerous (you may have heard us mention it) and a lovely quality in construction, we’re very happy with the controller overall. There aren’t many games compatible with it currently (in fact, the Thrustmaster website lists only Elite) but we’re hoping that changes soon. If not, it seems Thrustmaster will have their hands full already in keeping up with demand from the Xbox Elite crowd