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Razer Onza Xbox/PC controller review

Posted 05-18-2012 at 03:09 PM by WNxKid Meatball
[IMG]http://www.razerzone.com/asset/minisite/onza/images/razer-onza.jpg[/IMG]

This is the [URL="http://www.razerzone.com/minisite/onza/comparison"]Razer Onza[/URL] basic model, a so-called professional Xbox/PC wired controller. I purchased this controller in August 2010 from Memory Express in Richmond, BC.

I haven't used this controller in a ton of different games as I am a PC gamer and many games just wont work properly with a controller. I am still wondering how anybody played Starcraft for N64, including me. I played [URL="http://store.steampowered.com/app/50620/"]Darksiders[/URL], [URL="http://store.steampowered.com/app/102500/"]Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning[/URL], [URL="http://store.steampowered.com/app/55150/?snr=1_7_suggest__13"]Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine[/URL], and [URL="http://store.steampowered.com/app/620/?snr=1_7_suggest__13"]Portal 2[/URL]. The first three are proper console ports and Portal is, well, Portal. Basically a stand in for an FPS. The controller does a superb job in all those games. Any complaints about the controller interfering with the gameplay was primarily in menus and that is more a symptom of the console or game design rather a fault of the controller.

As you can see from the [URL="http://www.razerzone.com/minisite/onza/comparison"]link[/URL], there are two versions of this controller. I opted to save a few bucks and get the basic model. While interested in the stick tensioners, I felt it was one more thing that could likely go wrong with the controller. I was right. Apparently the Tournament Edition can suffer from a [URL="https://www.google.ca/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&q=razer+onza+problems&oq=razer+onza&aq=4&aqi=g10&aql=&gs_l=igoogle.3.4.0l10.1383.4022.0.10829.10.8.0.2.2.0.62.452.8.8.0...0.0.F_cmosMesL8#hl=en&gs_nf=1&pq=razer%20onza%20problems&cp=20&gs_id=6y&xhr=t&q=razer+onza+slow+turn&pf=p&sclient=psy-ab&oq=razer+onza+slow+turn&aq=0&aqi=g1g-bK3&aql=&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=bb0adf4235843b8&biw=1511&bih=875"]slow turn[/URL] if the tensioners get over-tight or worn.

The controller is comfortable but I find it a touch small in the hand grips. I have average size hands so its not like I'm just huge and oversized. Where the comfort comes in is in the rubber topped analog sticks and the button positioning, as well as the action of the various buttons.

The control sticks are well placed and feel stiff in their sockets, but the action is fairly loose. I am fairly hard on the controller when I really get into a game and the sticks held up well under what I would consider far too much force sometimes. In Space Marine, the left stick press is sprint, and I found you have to kind of cram it into the socket to get it to respond quickly. My hand would get sore in multiplayer games, but I think that is just me being a bit over excited. Only after about nine months of about ten to fifteen hours of gaming a week, the left stick's rubber cover disintegrated under my thumb. Kudo's to Razer though, the stick is still quite comfortable without it.

The A/B/X/Y buttons are very responsive and sound a loud click when pressed. They are advertized as a short throw button and they deliver. As I said above, I am sometimes heavy on the controls. With the fast action buttons I didn't feel the need to crush them into the controller. Where I find fault is as the controller ages, some buttons don't respond properly on the first push, and sometimes double-tap when you least expect it. I don't recall this being a problem early in the controllers life. Then, it didn't take too long to develop. I didn't feel it enough of a problem to RMA so I never tried. Razer seems fair with many problems with this line of controllers. Several reviewers and commenters report Razer exchanging defective controllers regularly. Maybe too regularly.

The triggers have a long pull, are analog, and developed problems all their own. The left trigger would kind of fall off part way through the throw, so when aiming for example, it would stutter in and out of aim mode. I only noticed this in Space Marine, and fairly late in the life of the controller. The right trigger would randomly just not respond, leaving me staring at an enemy with not a single bullet heading his way. I pulled it apart (not difficult) and blew air through the buttons and springs and that seemed to help immensely even though I could see no dust causing interference.

One of the features that sold me was the programmable bumper buttons. It turns out its not such a useful feature. I had hoped it would be able to map to keyboard or other functions, but all it does is let you remap an existing controller button to it. Not entirely useless, but I found little use for it. It is also limited in that you can't map the left trigger to the right programmable button, or the right bumper to left programmable button, nor can any of the D-pad directions be mapped. Again, not the end of the world, but does lower the usefulness in some ways. It would have been nice as a PC gamer to have the ability to have a mod app and remap any and all buttons.

I don't regret buying the controller, it was fairly cheap. The alternative for me would have been a Microsoft wireless controller for much more. ($69 IIRC) I've had some good times with the Razer Onza and I'm sure I'll use it more as it seems more and more Xbox games are making their way to the PC. If you take away one thing from this review, its maybe don't pay full price for it. I don't want to say don't buy it, its really not a terrible controller, but it does have issues.

-Meatball
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