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Xbox 360 Controller: Razer Onza Tournament Edition

By Siri Karri

Despite the fact that I’m not a “Tournament” gamer, I still had some deep issues with my controller.

1) The left thumbstick always rested slightly left of center, meaning that in games such as Call of Duty or even Mortal Kombat my character would constantly drift left unless I actually applied force to the thumbstick in the opposite direction.

2) Since I started playing high-execution games such as Street Fighter IV online, the lag between my wireless controller’s input and the character’s actions on the screen really did begin to affect my performance. Needing to block in different directions while buffering the inputs for my special moves was getting harder and harder when I was playing against high-pressure players.

3) Getting back to the good ol’ left thumbstick, it had worn down to the point where my finger would slip off effortlessly if my thumb wasn’t surgically cleaned . . . a HUGE problem.

My old controller wasn’t bad, but I knew I couldn’t play my favorite games as well as I wanted to with it. I went online to shop for controllers because I didn’t want to get overcharged for a cheap knock off controller at my local retailer when my friend on Facebook coincidentally informed me about the Razer Onza Tournament Edition and how he planned to get it. Now I was familiar with “modded” controllers: controllers which for a hefty fee (often over $80) they would program a controller to do crazy things such as turn a semi-automatic weapon on Call of Duty into a full auto by causing the trigger to pump at an accelerated rate.

“No thanks, I’m not that rich,” I replied, but then he gave me a link to the site. I bit.
The controller cost $50 . . . the price at which most retailers sell the standard controller. Granted, the shipping and handling (even after I applied my online coupon) would bring the price to over $58, it still seemed a steal for a “Tournament Edition controller”. It had “backlit buttons” and “two programmable buttons” and a host of other things that basically suckered me in. As soon as I clicked “confirm purchase” I regretted my decision. $60 for a controller? That was at least 4 large Donatos pizzas that I just sunk into something I probably could have gotten for $10 less at my local GameStop. Oh well, no turning back now.

The controller arrived today, and I’m happy to say that I don’t regret my purchase on bit anymore. This piece of equipment is amazing.

Keep in mind that I am reviewing this not as a competitive gamer, but as an experienced one. If you want a super detailed review I suggest you research the Razer Onze yourself but keep reading if you want an average Joe’s review of this marvelous controller.

The Looks

Similar to a woman, the first thing I noticed about this controller was it’s beautiful looks (have at it feminists, I couldn’t care less) and this controller definitely got my attention. The sleek black rubber covering with the insignia on the right hand side looks damn sexy and the two programmable bumpers are set in perfect symmetry with good spacing on the front side of the controllers. The fact that the buttons are back-lit only sweetens the pot.

The Feel

I want you to understand that there’s a difference between “different” and “bad”. This controller feels very different, and it took me some getting used to but it was in no way bad.

Perhaps it’s because I played with a wireless controller so long, but the this controller seems awfully light. Everything I’ve used from tennis racquets to meals I’ve always enjoyed a little bit on the heavy side, so picking up this feather light controller definitely took some getting used to.

The buttons are describes as “hyper-response” which is fancy for “you barely need to press the button for it to register”. It’s really disconcerting because you don’t really “press” the button; you click it. The effort needed to press the button is similar to that of pressing the mouse-button on a small laptop mouse.

The programmable buttons are placed on top of the normal bumpers, and this is actually very good. It keeps the distance between the normal bumpers and the triggers the same meaning that until you actually need your programmable buttons (and you’ll only want it for specific games), the controller behaves like a normal controller.

The thumbsticks don’t have the four little nubs of general controllers, but it has a sturdier rubber coating and a far more depressed center. Instead of my thumb needing to grip the edges in order to manipulate it (like a normal controller), my thumb could rest in the central depression comfortably. It wasn’t just comfortable; it would help reduce the wear since all of the pressure wouldn’t be centralized on tiny points.

The Performance

I can’t praise this controller enough. The process for “programming” the controller is relatively simple. There is a small button on either side of the bottom of the controller which represent either of the programmable shoulder buttons. Simply hold down the underside button and click which button you want it to represent.

For Call of Duty, I programmed the left shoulder for the “Y” button because I didn’t want to move my thumb from the right thumbstick whilst switching weapons (allowing me to continue aiming or tracking an opponent while switching to the appropriate weapon for the job). Sure enough, I saw a guy running around the edge of the map in “Rust”, and I tracked him as I switched to the shotgun seamlessly and managed to peg him with a round perfectly because I was able to follow him.

In Street Fighter IV, I put the right shoulder to “Y” again so that I could Focus Attack Dash Cancel by clicking “B” with my thumb and the shoulder instead of sliding my thumb across both buttons at the same time. It took some time to get used to, but it made FADC’ing into my Ultra combo a little bit easier.

Despite the way this controller looks, they change so much about the buttons that it takes a while to get used to all the changes at once.

The Cons

This controller isn’t perfect, and there are a few flaws worth noting.

1st, the way the regular shoulder buttons are built are a little different. While the regular face buttons are easier to press, the shoulder buttons are harder to press. In most games, this isn’t a problem . . . but in fighting games or games which make extensive use of every button on the controller it gets a bit annoying.

2nd, the D-pad is bipolar. It allows for “precision” only if you’re mapping different abilities to each D-pad. Want to switch to the correct gun every time in Gears of War? Then you’ll LOVE this d-pad. But if you want to use the D-pad as a substitute for the control stick for certain games . . . you’re out of luck. The D-pad buttons have to go down so far and the action is so clunky that anything other than menu choices and ability mapping is virtually impossible.

Overall Impressions: If you’re a competitive gamer, you should be reading a different review. This controller isn’t so special that anyone who is a serious gamer HAS to buy it, but anyone seeking a replacement for an older controller will find it a decent value.

The Verdict: Try it

To Read More by Siri, CLICK HERE

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