Xbox 360 D-Pad Hindering My 'Fallout 3' Experience

As I stockpile more and more weapons in "Fallout 3," I've discovered the first Xbox 360 game forcing me to curse the controller's d-pad.

Your weapons in "Fallout 3" are assigned to each area of the d-pad. The game allows you to pre-assign up to eight hot keys -- up, down, left, right and each in-between.

The primary arrows work just fine…it's the diagonals that prove painful.

There's nothing more frustrating than trying to swap to your combat shotgun -- in my case, assigned to the lower right -- and accidentally pulling out your grenades. Please, Mr. Super Mutant, do rip me to shreds. Thanks, d-pad!

Hidden away in Microsoft's press package for "Gears of War 2" that arrived on Wednesday, however, I discovered a red Xbox 360 controller. It doesn't have the tweaked d-pad we've heard about, but it is a new, unused d-pad.

A few minutes spent with the factory-new d-pad did made it feel easier to hit diagonals, but that could just be me hoping it's easier. An improved, more defined d-pad would be the better solution. Instead, I'll probably reduce my weapon load-out to four and ease my frustrations that way.

It's sad that I'm sacrificing a gameplay feature because of a faulty controller, though. Am I the only one finding the d-pad troublesome in "Fallout 3" on Xbox 360?