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The 8BitDo Pro 2 is the latest incarnation in the 8BitDo Pro line of controllers. Connectable via Bluetooth the device is able to link up with every home console on the market, as well as smartphones, and your home computer. Well, providing that you have your own dongle. And if not, you can always use it wired using the included USB-C charging cable.
In this review I’ll be reviewing the 8BitDo Pro 2 and why it is probably one of the best 3rd Party controllers on the market. And further into the review I’ll discuss if it is worth upgrading to the Pro 2 if you already have the Pro+. So without further ado lets get to it.
The 8BitDo Pro 2 is an incredibly comfortable controller; it isn’t overly heavy and it has a great build quality easily on par with many first party controllers. It features a textured underside to the grips which feel nice for what they are. As a whole entity the 8BitDo Pro 2 feels like it takes the best elements of the controllers that inspired it and adds in a few extra features here and there. And whilst it is retro inspired it can easily be used and enjoyed on more modern systems and games. I have used it on a rage of retro and modern releases and I’ve had next to zero issues; it will easily handle any game you throw at it and then some.
The Pro 2 is available in three different colour schemes, two of which are more than a little retro inspired. And a third design that is a little more modern and for people who want their controllers to look a little more fresh and a little less ‘vintage’. I opted for the GameBoy themed controller. Though I do wish there was one that was themed after the Super Famicom/PAL region SNES but that is hardly a deal breaker.
THE GOOD STUFF
Whilst the 8BitDo Pro 2 might be retro inspired aesthetically the controller does feature a fist full of features for the modern gamer. It has Gyroscope motion controls built in, which is great for games that are compatible with it. There is also a pair of buttons on the underside of each controller, similar to the Steam controller or the XBox Elite controller which can be programmed for extra utility. And there is also a turbo button which is always neat, even if it can be accident activated fairly easily. These features are great elements of the 8BitDo 2 and help to ensure compatibility with some games that other third party controllers cannot give.
The 8BitDo Pro 2 (much like its predecessor) comes with a number of console specific profiles preprogramed into the device. And unlike the Pro+ you don’t have to press a button combination to switch/activate a profile; there is now a button on the underside of the controller which you can switch to for whatever device you wish to use it to. Plus if you download the 8BitDo Pro Ultimate Software you can program new profiles and edit existing ones for expanded functionality.
With all this said however it should be pointed out that first party controller/console exclusive functions are not built into it; you cannot scan Amiibo cards/figures with the 8BitDo Pro 2 nor is there HD Rumble or Haptic Vibration. Which whilst understandable it can be an issue when playing games that utilise those functions. Especially seeing as more games are integrating more advanced rumble technology into their gameplay which might limit the longevity of the controller if HD Rumble or Haptic Vibration (or similar functions) become the norm.
You can find an article which discusses games that use Haptic Vibration on the PS5 here. I can’t comment on how well or not the 8BitDo Pro 2 is able to handle Haptic Vibration myself, but having used it with my Switch there are some puzzles in some games that are almost unplayable without HD Rumble. So be aware of that if you are thinking on getting an 8BitDo Pro 2.
SHOULD YOU UPGRADE TO A PRO 2?
So with all of that out of the way the question now remains “Is it worth upgrading to an 8BitDo Pro 2 if I already have a Pro+?”. And on balance I’d regrettably have to say no. Whilst the new Pro 2 does feature a handful of time saving additions and tweaks there isn’t much about it which really feels all that revolutionary if you already have a Pro+.
Sure, you don’t need to hold down a button combination to get it working, it feels about as comfortable as the last version, and the software you can download for it is neat. But with that said it really doesn’t feel like a “Must Buy”. And if I am being honest there isn’t anything about it that really makes it feel like a “2” as it doesn’t feel like a successor to the previous version and more like a hardware revision; it takes some of the machine’s pre-existing features and smooths them out and refines them and that is about it.
However, I’d highly recommend getting one if you haven’t already got an 8BitDo Pro+ controller. Sure, it does have it’s limitations but if you don’t play those games anyway you aren’t missing much. There is simply no denying that the Pro 2 is a fantastic piece of kit. One that you can use on pretty much any gaming platform on the market right now. Honestly you will struggle to find a controller as good as this for the price and I’d highly recommend it if you haven’t got an earlier model.