We recently got the chance to have an extended time with the Razer Raiju controller and what better way to report the findings back to you, than to write a review!
After all it’s kind of our thing here….reviews.
In The Box
So first things first, inside the box you get a nice little note from Razer saying thanks for purchasing your new Razer Raiju controller. This is a neat little touch and brings a little bit of humanity to the product and the company.
So moving deeper we find a case to store your Razer Raiju inside and keep safe, a USB braided cable that slots into the back of the controller, a small screw driver for removing those extra buttons on the back and then the standard Razer stickers for adorning your walls, ceiling, furniture or cat.
Thumb Culture in no way endorses the sticking of stickers to your cat.
The controller itself is a bit marmite, you are either going to love its mix of design elements from both PS4 and Xbox controllers, or you are just going to flat out hate it.
Personally I really enjoyed using this controller, the mix of Xbox controller shape and the PS4 buttons position made the controller feel great. With the standard face buttons you would expect from a DualShock 4 controller, shoulder buttons and triggers are all adorning the Razer Raiju.
Ok so onto the extras. On the back of the controller you have two extra triggers, now while they are trigger shaped, they are microswitches, meaning essentially they are either on or off. There is no analogue control like there is with the standard triggers. At the bottom of the controller you have a few extra buttons, one for controlling the volume coming in through your ears if you use a headset connected to the Razer Raiju, then you have a quick mute button for those times you need to stop broadcasting your voice to everyone. Next you have the profile select button, with you being able to have two customisable profiles set on the controller this is a quick switch between them. Then you have the final button which allows you to customise what your extra buttons do on the fly. So if you find that something isn’t quite working out for you on a particular game, you can quickly switch it up and use a different button.
Finally you have the trigger stops, being able to lock the triggers so that they only require a small amount of movement to activate, perfect for those quick snipes.
Playing games with the Razer Raiju controller was surprisingly comfortable. Bear in mind that I have big hands so I could quite imagine that someone with smaller digits might have trouble reaching all around this controller. It does get a bit finger gymnastics at time especially when reaching those buttons on top.
The shape and ergonomics of the controller are great, at no point did I feel any fatigue from playing with this controller. The 3m long USB cable allows you to sit at a great distance from your TV so you never have to sit so close that you are going to do yourself eye damage. The rubber grips give you a great grasp on the controller, never slipping and allowing you to be always in control of what you are doing.
So how does it actually work? That is really what you came here for isn’t it?
So to give the Razer Raiju a fair chance I used it in a number of different games, and each type had a slightly different outcome.
FIFA 18 (Sports Games)
So playing FIFA 18 with the Razer Raiju was a tough time, with the buttons on the front having no “feel” to them, this is mainly due to the buttons being Hyperesponsive and mechanical, so they are simply ON or OFF. Whereas on the traditional DualShock controller there is a bit of play, so you definitely know when you are winding up that three quarters power shot into the top corner. After a bit of acclimatisation I did get used to the buttons, but always felt like a standard “squishy” button would have been much better for this type of game.
GT Sport (Racing Games)
So not really designed for racing games, but you can use the buttons on the back as a pseudo flappy paddle gearbox. The only issue with this is that it is slightly pointless. Usually the change gear buttons are mapped to the Square and Cross buttons, so you never really have to keep both fingers on the thumbsticks, so whilst its fun to be able to knock those gears up and down using the buttons on the back, it isn’t really functional and just doesn’t make sense.
Call of Duty: WW2 (Shooters)
Now this is where it’s going to get tasty!
The whole purpose of having these extra buttons on the back and the top is so that you can keep both thumbs on the sticks. So what type of game generally requires you to use both sticks…that’s right, Shooters.
Using the Razer Raiju while playing CoD was brilliant. Assigning the rear buttons to jump and crouch and then the top buttons to change weapon and reload I was able to keep my concentration on movement as opposed to action. Add to this the quick fire triggers and I was unloading clip after clip into the enemy.
It took a few rounds to get used to what button did what as I was still using the standard buttons to carry out the actions, but when I got used to it, it was actually quite revolutionary. Turning and shooting with ease and hitting that reload button while still being able to look around so I wasn’t caught off guard was great.
My only complaint with the button layout was that the L1 and R1 buttons were a little harder to reach once you get settled into the layout of the controller. This wasn’t a deal breaker, but it was something that was a little annoying.
So bearing all that in mind would I recommend that you go out and spend your hard earned cash on the Razer Raiju? Well it really all depends.
If you play a lot of shooters then it is a fantastic investment, especially if you are looking to improve your ability. Yes the price tag is a bit high at around £129.99, but what price can you put on success?
The ergonomics are spot on, the button placement is pretty good, and the responsiveness of the controller being on that braided cable is lag-free. Although the controller doesn’t help reduce in game lag it definitely helps.
The Razer Raiju controller gets the Thumb Culture Gold Hardware Award