The Circle Pad Pro for the Nintendo 3DS came out on January 27 of this year and I have only just bought one. At first I didn’t buy it because it was around £15 – £20 but I managed to pick one up for £5 in a game shop so I thought why not? When you first use it you have to insert a AAA battery into the middle of it. I assume that this is to power the device seeing how you don’t actually plug the Circle Pad Pro into the 3DS. Instead, it connects to the 3DS using the infrared bar on the back. When I first attached it to the 3DS it did feel very chunky but it does attach very securely. I am able to hold the 3DS upside down, only holding onto the Circle Pad Pro, and it doesn’t feel like it will fall out. The Circle Pad Pro gives the 3DS a second analogue and two extra buttons to be used like the L2 and R2 buttons found on a PS3 controller or Xbox 360 controller. These buttons are not analog buttons so they are just like the L1 and R1 buttons.
When you look at the device it does not look very good. However it performs as you want it to and while you’re playing. You don’t really look at the Circle Pad Pro so that does not become a big problem. In saying this, what you do notice is that it is not that comfortable to hold. Personally, I find the groves in the back of the Circle Pad are not shaped well to fit your fingers. On a controller like the DualShock 3 it’s clear on how you hold it and it doesn’t slide about when it’s in your hand. With the Circle Pad Pro you can’t really get a grip on it and that becomes a pretty big problem when you’re trying to play a game. Your 3DS slips out of your hand because you’re moving your hand to touch the screen. It does take some getting used to before you find a way of holding it comfortably but even then it’s not as good as a PS3 or a Xbox 360 controller.
When you’re using the Circle Pad Pro your right thumb does have to stretch if you want to touch the lower screen. This becomes a problem because your left thumb can’t reach the right hand side of the touch screen (or at least my thumbs can’t) so then I have to use my right thumb and stretch it to the screen. This does get quite uncomfortable when you’re playing a game like Resident Evil Revelations and you want to change your weapons. However the second analogue does help in games like Resident Evil. It makes moving the camera around a lot easier and leaves you free to easily move the camera to any angle you want without having to use the A, B, X, and Y buttons to move the camera. I also tried out the Metal Gear Solid 3D demo and found that it’s a lot better using the analogue to move the camera more precisely. I am part way through playing through Metal Gear Solid 3 on the PS3 and the controls are pretty much the same and the analogues work just as well as using the PS3 controller. I did need to change the sensitivity on the Circle Pad Pro because it was quite low by default, though.
Overall I feel that a lot more effort could be put into the Circle Pad Pro with the groves in the back of the device and the placement of the buttons to make it less strenuous on your thumbs. If you can manage to pick up the Circle Pad Pro for a low price then I think it’s worth getting because £5 is a pretty decent price and a lot better than spending £15 on it. I’m going to give this a 3/5 just because I feel a lot more effort could be put into it but it does help when playing more in depth games like MGS3 and Resident Evil.