Impressions – Razer Raiju Gaming Controller for PlayStation 4

Razer has always been regarded as one of the best gaming peripheral manufacturers in the industry. Synonymous particularly with the PC scene and their highly regarded mouse and keyboard customisation options. They also dabbled quite successfully in to the console space with their Xbox controllers, the Sabertooth, Serval and most recently for Xbox One, the Wildcat.

Now after 3 years in to the current console generations’ life cycle, Sony have signed a partnership with not one, but two peripheral gaming giants, Razer and Nancon. Both controllers have been designed and developed with the hardcore eSports player in mind.

You can find out more about Nancon’s new Revolution Pro here. This article however will be focused entirely on the new Razer Raiju.

So how much is this going to cost me?

First things first, the price. This bad boy is going to set you back quite a chunk of change. It’s a premium product so you need to expect to pay a premium price. The Raiju retails for an eye watering £149.99. That’s £30 more expensive than Microsoft’s own Xbox One Elite Controller, but not as wallet rinsing as say, a Scuf Controller. Now I know a base model Scuf starts at £119.99 but come on, lets be honest here, you don’t buy Scuf without pimping it out a little to your own desired specification right? So that’ll be anything up to £190 thank you very much Mr Shopper!

So just on price then, Razer are pitching this right smack in the middle, which is fair enough I suppose, but I would have preferred it match the Xbox One Elite price point. Seeing as the two are almost identical in terms of comfort and button mapping options. Albeit for different console systems. The only real difference comes down to possibly the extra expense required for the touch pad. But an extra £30 per unit? Seems high to me which is even worse considering the Razer Wildcat, which this is clearly based on is £119.99. Again this could be down to PlayStation specific features.

Comfort Factor

Still with me? Magic! On to the comfort factor then. Anybody that has used either of the original PlayStation controllers, be it the DS2 or DS3 from past generations will almost always tell you that they are fine, but the triggers are shocking. And for gamers with larger hands, they were a complete non starter. You could make do but they were hardly ergonomically perfect. With the Dualshock 4, PlayStation made some massive improvements across the board. Everything was better, the size was slightly bigger, they had proper triggers, bumper buttons felt amazing and the thumbsticks felt a bit stiffer than before. All in all it was a great controller. One thing was holding it back though. For a vast majority of Xbox players who had jumped ship to brand PlayStation, they just couldn’t adjust. Whether it was not having offset thumbsticks, the size, or just a combination of factors, there was no getting around it. The DS4 is a fine controller, great even, but it’s just not as comfortable as holding an Xbox One controller. The ergonomics on that thing are perfect. The Razer Raiju feels like I’m playing with an Xbox controller but with all the features unique to Sony’s Dualshock 4. The best of both worlds? The perfect controller? Let’s find out in our next section below, How does it play?

How does it play?

Setting up the Razer Raiju is easy peasy lemon squeezy. You press the profile button to the profile slot you want to assign custom mappings to (there are 2 profiles available), keep it held down then press and hold either of the 4 mappable buttons, then press and hold the button you want to map to said button. For example, on the reverse of the controller there are 2 triggers (M3 & M4), if you want to map X to M4, all you do is hold down M4 then press X. You’ll feel a little rumble to tell you the new mapping has assigned and that’s you. Nice and simple. I’ll admit I was a little disappointed that there was no dedicated interface options like on the Xbox One with their Elite Controller. Due to this limitation you obviously can’t assign custom profiles to specific games either. For this kind of money I would have hoped Razer would have analysed the areas that the competition have clearly excelled in and factored them in to this one.

I’ve played several games on Titanfall 2’s online modes with the Raiju, but as much as I love the roomier grip and feel of this controller, it just doesn’t leave me very impressed. Build quality, thumbsticks and triggers are all good, but those buttons are not as good. As you can see from the pictures above, they are incredibly shallow which means there is next to no depress at all on them, which at times can feel hard to register you have actually pressed the button. It’s not a feel I like on my controllers so I just couldn’t get used to them even after several hours. This problem extends to all buttons on the controller too, from bumpers, reverse triggers (M3 & M4) and the D-Pad which is the worst offender. This has a hard click on/off feeling whereas the Ds4 and other competitors have a softer, almost progressive feeling to their pressing.

This of course may just be down to personal preference and if you like this feeling to your buttons then you’ll love the Raiju. It does allow for rapid pressing with an almost instant effect in-game though.

The last feature I was expecting as standard on an official premium controller such as this, was motion controls. This is a standard feature of the Dualshock 4 and many games utilise it. Sadly the Raiju doesn’t support it in any way shape or form. Now due to the fact that some games are reliant on this and the lightbar (there isn’t one of these either), if you want the Raiju to be your main controller and fully replace your DS4… well… you’re buggered there I’m afraid. Oh, and it’s not wireless either. These last 2 points are bitterly disappointing. Now, I understand that wireless connectivity can have an impact with input lag, but for this kind of money I’d have like to have the choice to go wireless when playing casually and use the cable for those intense online battles.

That’s not to say there isn’t anything here to like though. I like the bigger size, the extra comfort that that allows is not to be ignored. I like the Xbox-style triggers much better than the standard controllers’ ones. The slider to adjust trigger travel is a neat touch too. As are the built-in mic controls and mapable buttons.

The Raiju could have been an exceptional controller, one that could have taken the best of two great controllers and given gamers something downright perfect. Sadly it can only be recommended as incredibly niche. If Razer had released the Raiju around the £80-£90 mark it would be much easier to recommend, for this kind of money though (£149.99) it is definitely lacking in a few key areas.

Technical Specs as shown on the Razer Raiju website

  • 2 shoulder Hyperesponse Multi-Function Bumpers
  • 2 removable Hyperesponse Multi-Function Triggers
  • 4 Hyperesponse mechanical action buttons
  • 4 button Quick Control Panel
  • Optional trigger stop switches for rapid-fire
  • Optional hair trigger mode for ultra-fast responses
  • 3.5 mm audio port for stereo audio output and microphone input
  • Compatible with PC*
  • In-mold rubber grips
  • 2 optional analog stick rubber grip caps
  • Carrying case
  • Detachable 3 m / 10 ft lightweight braided cable with Micro-USB connector*
  • Approximate size : 168 mm / 6.62” (Length) x 105 mm / 4.14” (Width) x 65 mm / 2.56” (Height)
  • Approximate weight (With cable): 350 g / 0.77 lb

*PC compatibility not tested nor endorsed by Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe

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