So, I'm a peripheral junkie (not news) and I'm always trying to find the best accessories for gaming. I decided to look for a new 360 controller and stumbled upon the Razer Onza TE. I read review after review and came to the conclusion that it's an amazing piece of hardware, if it doesn't break on you. If it were any more expensive than the regular Microsoft controllers, I'd have steered clear for my budget's sake but it was only $50 so I decided to give it a go.
- Adjustable tension analog sticks
- Two remappable buttons on the shoulder above the traditional LB and RB
- Rubberized non-slip surface
- Microswitch based buttons as opposed to standard membrane
- Segmented D-Pad
- 15ft no-tangle Braided cord
The specs kind of speak for themselves but if a controller isn't comfortable, you might as well forget the bells and whistles and move on. I'll say that the Onza is the most comfortable controller I've ever used. Hands down. It's got a tiny bit slimmer of a profile than a standard controller and the underside's contours fit nicely in my hands. I'll say that far and away the two most standout features are the buttons and the analog sticks. The buttons themselves use the same type of momentary contact switches found in Razer mice. With this, there is very little distance between your finger and the on position. You might ask if it is too sensitive because of that and I can say, it's not. There is a definite and very crisp action that feels fantastic.
The analog sticks on the Onza are probably its most key feature. With the adjustable tension higher sensitivity can be attained and you don't feel slow and cumbersome, or on the other hand, fast and inaccurate. I chose to add a pair of Kontrol Freeks Elite which add 40 degrees of motion to analog sticks and crank up the tension. Having a lot of experience with PC FPS, Counterstrike 1.6 specifically, I can say that I've always hated console shooters for limited axis and slow, inaccurate movement. Without a doubt, this is the closest I've ever been to feeling comfortable with playing FPS on a console. Nothing will ever top Keyboard/Mouse but this gets damn close to rivaling it.
To quickly touch on the the remappable buttons: The buttons are mapped by holding one of two buttons on the underside and pressing another button on the controller. There is an LED indicator which will tell you where it is mapped. It is done instantly so on-the-fly adjustments are possible.
= The Onza is MLG legal and playable in all tournaments as the buttons are remappable, they are not capable of macros and/or turbo fire =
The remappable buttons are on the shoulder above the LB and RB respectively. My only complaint is that they are a tad small and awkward to get used to. I'll say that after a few hours, though, I never gave this issue a second thought. I really think this was a genius idea and it was executed very well outside of a minor form-factor issue. I will say, it feels awesome to keep my thumb on the right analog stick throughout the course of play.
Now, for the tough part. Nothing is perfect and the D-pad on the Onza is far and away its only downside. With the directions split into four panels in an awkward way, it makes some things strange. I wouldn't say that it effects my execution so much as it makes it uncomfortable
to execute. As a big platformer junky D-pads are always one of the things I find most important on a controller and it's something that has yet to be implemented properly (The closest so far being the Microsoft special edition with transformable cross) However, I think the target audience for this controller is gamers who play shooters where the D-pad isn't meant so much for movement but for equipment selection. So, with that in mind I can forgive them. I do play competitive fighters so when I go that route or I play arcade games (on the now forgotten Game Room) I use an arcade stick, but I gave Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade 2012 a shot just to see if I could manage a few combos. Surprisingly, I executed flawlessly but like I said, it just felt awful. I'm left with mixed emotions regarding the D-pad and that's really all I can say.
Also, I forgot to touch on the start and select buttons. Some people might find them irritating but I prefer them out of the way, so in my opinion it is welcomed.
So, yeah, if you're in the market for a new controller and have the $50 to spend on a Microsoft licensed/branded controller, I say give the Onza a shot. So far the reviews that mention the thing breaking haven't rang true for me, yet.
Like anything else, if you abuse the product, it will break. I've always been very careful with my electronics and I expect that if I continue to be, the Onza will hold up. It feels pretty sturdy in my hands and I'll go on that. I do recommend that if you use the tension adjustments on a higher level with higher sensitivity that you add a pair of Kontrol Freeks ($10 USD) to give you a bit more control. I should say, a whole lot more precision and control. I'd say to date this is hands down the best peripheral, arcade sticks aside, to be released on the 360 and I can't ever imagine going back to the regular Microsoft controllers.
Well, it turns out the Onza isn't compatible with all headsets. If the headset uses a mounting container, you're screwed unless you take it apart and sand it down. I had to do such on my ax720s. Luckily, it turned out pretty well and it works fine.
Fairly simple process. I used a Dremel to knock off the security tabs and then sanded down the container.