Have you ever been sat on your settee, holding a rather excellent Xbox One or Xbox Series controller and thought to yourself “This is all well and good, but what I’d really like to do is play Gears of War with a PlayStation controller”? Well, if so, 1) personal preference is a wonderful thing, but you’re wrong, and 2) have I got news for you!
You see, somewhere out in the industry, someone has heard your cries, producing a device that will make your dream come true. Coming from Brook Design is a little gadget that goes by the name of the Wingman XB2 Controller Cross-Platform Converter, and it promises to pretty much let you play with any controller on any Xbox. So, having got my hot little hands on one, I decided to take it for a spin and see what would happen.
Now, the actual device itself is a pretty dinky bit of kit. It is about the size of a USB memory stick, 75mm long by 20mm wide, and it has a USB-A male connector on one end and a USB-A female connector on the other. You plug the male end into your preferred flavour of Xbox console: I’ve tested it on an Xbox Series X, Series S, Xbox One and Xbox 360, but sadly I don’t own an original Xbox although it will apparently work on there too. Once the male end is inserted (stop sniggering at the back), the controller of your preference can be attached with a USB lead to the other end and away you go.
Plugging a controller in, I was very pleased with the way that, straight out of the box, the Wingman XB2 dealt with the controllers I plugged in. The PS4 controller I tried first went in and just worked, and the PS button was mapped to the guide button, and everything else was where you would expect it to be. I fully expected having to tell the device what controller I had attached, but it dealt with it effortlessly.
This was pretty mind blowing, to be honest, having sat there playing Forza Horizon 5 with a PS4 controller. But it gets even better. Nobody wants to go back to playing with cables stretching across the living room, do they? I certainly don’t, as we have two cats in the house who see any trailing cable as fair game and will not hesitate to pounce! Well, Brook Design have got you covered here too. As you look at the top of the device, you’ll notice that when it is plugged in, it has a couple of LED’s, one on each side. Well, these aren’t just to look pretty – they are actually buttons as well, and if you press them both simultaneously then it is possible to pair a wireless controller to the device. The list of controllers that the device can handle in this manner is pretty impressive, ranging from PS5/PS4/PS3 controllers, through the Xbox Series/Xbox One (bluetooth models only) including the Elite 2 controllers, and then onto the Nintendo Switch Pro controller if you prefer the feel of this. I have to say, the pairing procedure is as easy as pairing a controller to the console, and works very well.
What if you want to try an Xbox 360 controller, or an Elite 1 or a Xbox One Wireless controller? Well, they will still work, but you have to plug those ones in with a cable, as they don’t run on bluetooth technology. This isn’t any hardship, to be honest, and the list of thibgs that will work when plugged in is pretty impressive. Any arcade fight stick with a USB connection? That should work, although I haven’t tested it as I don’t get paid enough to to be able to justify a fight stick. The Xbox 360 Wireless receiver should also work, as should the Sega Megadrive Mini controller, along with the Xbox Adaptive controller. Now this news is good, as if you require an Adaptive controller, you have been limited as to which console you could use it on, but no more – plug it into your old 360 and you can play with it. Apparently you can also plug the converter into a PC to use the controllers on that, but again, I haven’t been able to test this.
So, we have seen that this clever device allows you to play with pretty much any controller on any Xbox, (although you need an adapter to attach it to the original Xbox, the manual says), you’d think that that would be enough clever stuff, right? Well, hold your horses there.
The Wingman XB2 has a couple of extra tricks up its sleeve. Fancy having a turbo function on a game? Maybe one where you have to hammer a button to revive or break out of a hold? Well, you program any button (or all of them, should that be your bag) to have a turbo function enabled. And one final trick – you can reprogram the device to allow you to remap buttons at will. Imagine you’re playing Tekken 7 – the throws are mapped to two buttons, such as A + X together, and this can be tricky to pull off in the heat of battle. If you could map those two buttons to a single input, how much easier would it be? Well, this is possible through this little wonder too.
The instructions in the box are a bit basic, to be brutally honest, but there is a full manual on the Brook Designs website which explains everything very well. So, if you want to play on the Xbox, of any age, with any controller (fancy playing with a Duke on the Series X, that will be interesting!) then the Wingman XB2 Controller Cross-Platform Converter is what you need.
Huge thanks go out to Brook Designs for provisioning us with a review unit of the Wingman XB2 Controller Cross-Platform Converter. It’s on Amazon for around £40 too.