The Razer Raiju Tournament Edition is Razer’s solution to tackle the problem that many of us PS4 competitive gamers face. Those who compete on the PS4 absolutely love what the console has to offer, however if there’s one department where Xbox gamers have an upper-hand, it’s the controller. The truth is that the standard PS4 controller is great for casual gaming, but that’s about it. There is a lot wrong with the dualshock. Simply put, for extended gaming sessions at a competitive level, the out-of-the-box PS4 controller will just not fit the bill. Whilst there are many companies that provide controllers that are designed for eSports, the Raiju TE ticks certain boxes that you didn’t even know needed ticking. The Raiju TE takes PS4 controllers to whole new heights, and whilst there are some features that are lacking compared to what the competition is offering, the Razer peripheral has now become my number one controller for anything FPS-related.
The purpose of any eSports controller is to help you improve your performance when compared to using a stock controller. With the Raiju TE, this is definitely the case. The most obvious difference between the Razer’s offering and the dualshock is the overall design. Sony’s standard offering is considerably smaller, lighter and has a thumbstick layout that is just not fit for eSports. To put it into perspective, the Raiju TE weighs over 320g, whereas Sony’s controller is approximately 215g. Although this doesn’t seem like a huge leap, for a gaming controller this is quite significant. The issue isn’t that the dualshock isn’t comfortable. The problem is that Sony’s offering is just too light. The additional weight that the Raiju TE possesses hits the sweet spot; the extra 100g won’t tire you out. There are one or two competitors to the Raiju TE that allow the gamers to change the weight of the controller. Although it’s a shame that the Raiju TE doesn’t have something similar, it is not a gamechanger.
Currently, the Raiju TE is sold for a steep £149.99. It therefore is on the high-end of some of the eSports controllers that exist for the PS4. However, if you consider the variety of features that the controller has above and beyond its competitors, the price tag is justified. At this price however, this is clearly not a controller for the casual gamer. Having said that, even casual gamers now get a lot of exposure to such gaming peripherals simply because pro gamers and streamers use controllers like the Raiju TE on stream. I am sure a lot of casual gamers (many of whom also care about maximizing their performances on CoD, Fortnite, R6: Siege etc.) will also save up to invest in eSports controllers. I would highly advise that those casual gamers also strongly consider the Raiju TE for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, the Raiju TE is designed to bridge the gap between the excellent Xbox controller and the poorly-designed PS4 one. I personally love what the Xbox controller has to offer. It’s shape fits better in my hand. The thumbstick layout is crucial and the Xbox controller has the better design. As mentioned before, the weight is also important. The Raiju TE takes inspiration from the Xbox controller by providing a controller that almost feels similar to the Xbox One pad. There are clearly noticeable differences, but the Raiju TE essentially takes what’s best from the Xbox pad and merges it with what’s best about the dualshock. With this in mind, the Raiju TE is also a significantly larger controller compared to the dualshock. Most importantly, the left thumstick is placed near the top left side of the controller, essentially being swapped with where the D-Pad would usually sit on the dualshock. This results in a considerably more comfortable gaming experience. It just isn’t comfortable to have your left thumbstick as low as your right one. The design of the Raiju TE is therefore exactly I’d expect from an eSports controller.
In addition, the Raiju TE contains four extra buttons that are programmable. Two of these are positioned at the back of the controller and are perfectly positioned to sit under where your fingers would typically rest. The other two are near the L2 and R2 triggers. I found these slightly less useful (although at the time of writing this review, I haven’t had enough practice with them). Technically, you could argue that the introduction of these four programmable buttons means that you don’t need the face buttons at all. I am sure that hardcore pro gamers would take advantage of all four, however I found myself primarily finding a lot of use just for the two buttons on the back. The benefit of these buttons is that you don’t need to let go of your right thumbstick to press face buttons. In shooting games, the right stick is your aim. You want to always have control of your aim and never let that go. Using a traditional pad, if you want to crouch, jump etc., you’d need to let go of the right thumbstick for half a second to press a face button. That half-second could be the difference between a kill or death. Having constant control of your aim is extremely important when competing at the highest levels.
Whilst other competitor eSports controllers also offer similar functionality, the Raiju TE is the most comfortable implementation that I have experienced. The buttons on the back are so perfectly positioned, that I haven’t had to re-adjust the way I hold my controller in order to take advantage of the new buttons. Where the Raiju TE shines over its competition is how you program the buttons. Whilst other controllers require you to use a tool to carry out a variety of actions to remap the buttons/paddles on the back, Razer’s offering lets you do all of that through an app on your phone. Once you have the app installed, you can easily connect the controller to your phone via Bluetooth and simply re-program what the additional four buttons represent. This is much faster and considerably less intrusive than using a tool to carry out the same effect. There are also other options in the app that let you control various features of the controller including the vibration settings.
The trigger stops are also an essential feature of the Raiju TE. Razer has made switching these on and off the simplest out of any other controller that I have used. Trigger stops are mechanics that ensure that your L2 and R2 triggers don’t travel all of the way down when you press them. Instead, they will go down only as far as required to shoot your gun. The benefit of this is realized in a shooting game if you’re using a gun that isn’t fully automatic. Trigger stops essentially allow you to tap the trigger at a much faster rate. I tested tapping the trigger for a whole minute with and without the trigger stops activated. My rate of fire almost doubled when the trigger stops were switched on. Even if you don’t use a single-shot/semi-auto gun, you’ll find it extremely useful to switch it on since you may need to whip out your pistol during a firefight. In that situation, the winner could often be the one who can fire the pistol the quickest. My favourite use of the trigger stops has been whilst playing Rainbow Six: Siege. There is nothing quire like a combination of an activated trigger stop with Caveira. Her pistol already deals enough damage, but combined with the Raiju TE trigger stops, it may as well be an automatic pistol! Other controllers will require you to use a tool to activate the trigger stops. The Raiju TE just contains two switches, one for each trigger. The implementation of the trigger stops is perfect and you won’t even accidentally flip the switches.
Whilst the aforementioned features are delivered really well on the Raiju TE, some gamers may argue that those features still exist (in some capacity) in other cheaper controllers. What sets the Raiju TE is the face buttons and compatibility with PC.
Firstly, the face buttons are truly the best I have used in any controller on any console. There is a satisfying click that the Raiju TE provides, that other controllers simply don’t. The feedback that the Raiju TE gives you is something I didn’t even know I needed. Now that I have experienced it, I cannot go back to anything else. It is the equivalent of going from a stock keyboard to a gaming keyboard with proper mechanical switches. There is no real way to explain the satisfaction had when pressing the face buttons of the Raiju TE, it’s just something that every gamer needs to experience in order to appreciate it. None of Razer’s competitors come close to providing such tactile face buttons, probably because nobody else thought it was necessary. In theory, for shooting games, these face buttons aren’t needed as much since you’ll be using the programmable buttons. However, considering you’re paying a lot of money for this controller, you’d want to make it your controller for every game. Playing FIFA 19 using the Raiju TE has been an absolute treat and it’s largely down to the feedback I get from the face buttons.
Secondly, the Raiju TE is not just PS4-compatible. In fact, there is a switch at the back of the controller with three modes: PS4 BT, USB, PC BT. This means that you can connect the controller to the PS4 either using a wired or wireless approach (for the wired, the controller also comes with a 2m braided cable that can be detached). You can also use the controller for PC and in wireless mode if necessary. If by any chance you’re into PC gaming, the Raiju TE therefore becomes an ideal peripheral for certain games on the PC (e.g. Rocket League). Naturally, for shooters, you’d want to use a keyboard and mouse. I tested the Raiju TE on my laptop with Rocket League and there was no noticeable lag. It really helped that the single switch at the back of controller is all that was required to change the console.
The battery life is also where the Raiju TE shines above and beyond the standard PS4 controller and even its competition. The standard dualshock contains between 4-8 hours of battery life. I have gaming sessions that last longer than that! Simply put, that alone makes the dualshock a problem unless you want to play with a wired connection. The Raiju TE however has a battery life that lasts up to 19 hours. Upon testing it, I found it required charging after about 15 hours (perhaps it was because I also had the Razer Kraken headset plugged into it), however even that is a significant leap compared to the stock controller.
Unfortunately, there are certain features that are exclusive to Razer’s Raiju Ultimate Edition controller. As an example, the Raiju TE doesn’t have interchangeable sticks – a massive drawback since I do consider this as a crucial requirement. The Raiju TE also doesn’t have the chroma lighting, although I would much rather have a better battery life than chroma lighting effects. In order to take advantage of these additional features, you’ll need to shell out an additional £50. Whether you go for the Ultimate Edition will also depend on where you prefer your left thumbstick to sit, since the Ultimate Edition positions it in the same location as a standard dualshock.
The Razer Raiju Tournament Edition for PS4 has quickly become my go-to controller for every single game I play on the PS4. As an eSports controller, apart from the lack of interchangeable sticks (this can be overcome with a set of KontrolFreeks), the Raiju TE is the best controller that I have used to date. However, even as a standalone controller for casual, non-FPS gaming, this is the most comfortable and convenient (due to its large battery size) option that I have also used. I simply cannot see myself going back to a standard PS4 pad. Although £149.99 is a steep price, if you’re looking to join the eSports scene as a serious competitor, you’ll need to invest big no matter option you go with. As things stand, the Razer Raiju Tournament Edition is the best controller that money can buy for PS4 competitive gaming.