Razer Raiju PlayStation 4 Controller Review

Bringing the thunder.

Alongside the recently reviewed Nacon Revolution Pro, Razer’s Raiju is the second officially licensed PlayStation 4 controller to touch down in 2017. With a wide range of gaming mice, high end keyboards, and other premium PC accessories, Razer has recently made moves into the console space with products such as the Xbox One Atrox arcade stick and Wildcat controller.

The Wildcat is a good reference point as many of its features carry over to the Raiju and then some. Pegged slightly higher at an RRP of £149.99, the Raiju brings some additional functionality to the table, with the controller naturally geared towards those who take competitive play seriously.

Before we dig into any of the advanced features, let’s first talk about the Raiju shape and form. At first glance the pad’s design seems at odds with what PlayStation gamers are traditionally used to. The main body of the controller is larger and less rounded, housing both sticks and other thumb inputs on a single flat panel. Aesthetically, it clashes with the DualShock 4, but the shape sits comfortably in-hand. Those gamers who much prefer Microsoft’s meatier Xbox One pads will definitely agree and I have to admit I found my monstrously sized mitts reaching for the Raiju when anticipating longer gaming sessions.

This comfort is galvanised by simple button placement that doesn’t force awkward finger movements, helping to avoid any hand cramps. One thing I will say about the four face buttons – which may sound like a strange thing to mention – is that there’s an unusually mechanical clicky-ness to them, similar to pressing a mouse button. Given the relative quietness of the DualShock 4 and other pads we’ve reviewed, it seems odd though fails to detract from the Raiju in any way.

Removable blue grips help to beef up the twin sticks by just a fraction. They effectively give the sticks a bit more surface area, allowing for slower, more precise movements when needed. This same beefiness also comes into play with the trigger design. Compared to your standard DualShock 4 triggers, they’re wider with a little more plastic to wrap your index finger around. Again, it feels very much like the Xbox One pad.

Of course, where basic design is important, it’s the raft of advanced features that make the Raiju an appealing option for the aspiring esports gamer. Briefly going back to the triggers, players can switch on a hairline setting and separately alter how far they will travel, reducing the response time when aiming down sights and/or shooting.

On the reverse side of the pad, you’ll also notice two triggers towards the bottom, within easy reach of your middle fingers. These can be reprogrammed on the fly and especially come in hand for shooters if you want an even quicker way to reload, crouch, weapon swap, or jump without needing face buttons.

Unless you’re willing to commit to the Raiju (or most premium pads for that matter) then remembering to use these shortcuts won’t come naturally. To get the most out of them, there needs to be an almost subconscious response that’s tricky to learn if you cycle between genres and controller layouts. It’s not a feature everyone will use and there’s an option to remove these triggers completely using the guide and screwdriver provided.

Two more reprogrammable buttons can found at the top, acting as a second set of bumpers. Again, the placement feels natural but, at the same time, I never found myself pressing them by accident.

 

Out of the three licensed PlayStation 4 controllers we’ve reviewed, the Raiju offers the simplest solution when reprogramming buttons. From looking at the design, you’ll have noticed a small control deck bolted onto the bottom. By holding the remap button, you can then hold a your desired trigger and button to link the two, with the Raiju vibrating in confirmation. It takes a little time getting used to, but is more convenient than the Scuf Infinity’s key system or the Nacon Revolution’s need for a PC client. This deck also has buttons allowing for easy volume adjustment when playing with a headset.

The Raiju is a great piece of kit and lives up to its name as a dedicated esports controller. Razer has carefully fitted its premium pad with a range of nifty features that can be adjusted without headache or confusion. As touched on before, that hefty, high quality feel is also there, making for a great premium alternative to the DualShock 4.

Of course there are caveats, though hardcore competitive gamers have already learned to live with the cost of these controllers and the slight inconvenience of needing a wired connection. Without putting it in the hands of a professional there’s no way of proving just how much of an advantage the Raiju offers during online play. That said, having field tested it for the past fortnight, the combination of easy-to-use features and great comfort put Razer’s PS4 pad on the highest tier.

Written by
Senior Editor bursting with lukewarm takes and useless gaming trivia. May as well surgically attach my DualShock at this point.

12 Comments

  1. I bought one of these last month and have to say the four extra buttons definitely help. I had them set for potions and spells on nioh. There is also rapid fire mode which makes button presses lighting quick. My only complaint is while you can alter the L2 and R2 buttons to reduce travel time L2 or aim in shooters is fine but R2 or fire take a bit more pressing to register. I tried it on battlefield 1 and it wouldn’t fire all the time because I wasn’t pressing hard enough and on horizon Z D you can’t fully pull back your bow.

    • What is it about the R2 button? The same thing happens with the normal DS4 controller.

      Except it doesn’t happen with all of them. I’ve got 2, and it only happens with 1 of them. And it doesn’t happen with all games.

      My guess is it’s a slight difference with that 1 button on different controllers means that pushing it all the way in doesn’t register the same value. Some games seem a bit picky about what counts as pressing the button. If they’re looking for a value of 100% (or whatever), but your controller only goes up to 99%, you’ll suddenly find you can’t accelerate the car in FFXV (an example I’ve had issues with).

      It’s not a problem with the controllers, really. It’s a bug in certain games that nobody ever seems to bother fixing. Bloody annoying though.

      • Same thing happened to me driving in ghost recon I thought an elderly woman was driving the car until I realised it was the R2 button. Seems a bit daft if this pad is designed to give you an edge in shooters that the R2 button is the only one that lets it down L2 is fine but if you run round a corner in battlefield and into an enemy aim at him and press R2 and nothing happens then your going to look like a tit trust me it’s happened

      • I’m reasonably convinced it’s not an issue with the controller. Any of them. More so now you say it happens on fancy expensive ones as well as the normal DS4.

        It definitely looks like some developers are assuming it works for them, so it’s fine. They’ve obviously set the threshold for registering R2 as being pressed fully too high, and some controllers can’t reach that. But the ones they’ve tested it with obviously can.

        Presumably it’s possible it can be an issue with any of the triggers, but R2 is just the one that it always causes problems with.

    • One thing to consider here is that there is a second step other than just pulling the little switch at the trigger. You need to actually SET the trigger to register as a QUICKFIRE mode. To do this you hold down the BUTTON that allows you to set buttons, then hold down the trigger button and press X. THe controller will vibrate and now the rigger will register fully. You need to do this on both triggers. To unset the QUICKFIRE mode just repeat these steps but press O instead of X.

      I came across this same problem when I was playing through the Difinitive Edition of Tomb Raider. I suddenly was unable to shoot any weapons! I am sure it has caught a lot more people out aswell.

      Hope this solves your issue.

      – M –

  2. Very nice but, like the others, too expensive.

  3. I’d really like one of these but I’ll be dammed if I’m buying one for £150. That’s equivalent to 3, yes 3 standard DS4 controllers.

    If it were half the price, £75, I’d say though still expensive I could at least try and justify the cost.

  4. Slightly influenced by the Xbox one controller! I’m surprised they can copy it so much without legal problems.

    • I know, it’s terrible. Someone’s gone and made something with buttons and sticks like the XBone controller and every other controller ever. And it’s a similar shape because they’re obviously aiming it at people with hands!

      Remember that time Apple sued someone (was it Samsung?) because “it’s a rectangle with round corners” and everyone told them to piss off and stop being so stupid?

      It does look kind of horribly fat like the MS controllers though, I’ll give you that. So probably not good for people with normal to large sized hands. I’m assuming XBox controllers are aimed at people with freakishly large hands.

      • Why the sarcasm? It’s literally the same design but with the touchpad. Have a look at an xboxone controller then get back to me, you berk.

      • Why the sarcasm? It would appear we’ve both been on here for 6 years or so and you’ve not worked that out yet? It’s because it’s the only thing that stops me appearing on the news with the words “rampage”, “many casualties” and “beaten to death with an unknown kitchen utensil” featuring prominently in the report.

        As for this “same design” business, it’s just an obvious, practical shape. It’s got the sticks in the correct position though. There’s only so much you can do with a body with all the buttons and 2 legs for your hands to grip. Sony were doing it long before MS, as were 3rd party controllers.

        And as you point out, it’s got the touchpad in the middle, and quite pointy bits to grip. Reminds me of the Dreamcast controller that had pointy bits and something in the middle (the VMU).

        It’s similar in design in the same way all controllers are. So many bits are obviously going to have to be the same, and there’s a few bits you can move around and a small number of shapes you can use in a couple of places.

        Presumably you think Apple were right to go to court over the “rectangle with round corners” thing? And MS were wrong to copy so many features for the XBox controllers?

  5. girls,calm down….
    its nothing like the xbox controller!
    the sticks are not offset.

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