On August 20, 2018, Razer unveiled not one, but two revised versions of the already excellent Razer Raiju controller. This time around, Razer brings to us their Raiju Tournament Edition and Raiju Ultimate – their very own take on the PlayStation 4 controller. Let’s kick this Raiju Tournament Edition + Raiju Ultimate review off with a quick breakdown of what’s in the box.
Unboxing the Raijus
The Raiju Tournament Edition’s packaging was clean and nice, the unboxing process was a simple process. As soon as you open the box, the controller is sitting right there ready to greet you. Just like any other Razer product, it includes the usual note welcoming you to the Razer cult. There’s of course, the handbook alongside the braided USB cable.
Now, the Raiju Ultimate, however, gave off a real premium feeling when you first open up the box in comparison to the simplicity of the Tournament Edition. Despite both boxes being actually similar in terms of material its made out of, the Ultimate stood out since it comes with a casing for the controller itself. Unzipping the hardcover case revealed the Raiju Ultimate plus three other controller accessory – two alternate thumbstick and one D-pad. This also comes with one braided USB cable and the handbook as well.
Features and build
The biggest change from the last reiteration that truly piqued my interest was the introduction of Bluetooth functionality. This, in retrospect to its predecessor, was a new addition. Fun fact: Razer is the first company to ever receive a green light to produce a wireless PlayStation 4 controller (outside of Sony themselves, obviously).
Raiju Ultimate build
Holding the Raiju Ultimate in my hand felt really different from my usual Dualshock controller. It was definitely heavier and bigger. They also removed the blue grips that were on the first edition Razer Raiju for some reason – I liked those. The new ones, though, are still the same rubberized grip – just black in color. Due to its weight, the Raiju Ultimate feels really solid.
The Raiju Ultimate, as mentioned above, comes with customizable D-pad and thumbsticks. These are held together magnetically. They were loose enough to make swapping a breeze but still secure enough to ensure that they didn’t fall off during gameplay.
As for the Mecha-tactile buttons, they felt really nice on presses. Feedback rate was good so no deep presses required. Plus, the tactile feeling is a definite bonus. Though, the fact that it has a glossy finish tends to leave behind some fingerprints so be sure to keep those hands clean!
Next, the interface of the controller is similar to that of a Dualshock. You’ve got your four buttons the right and a D-pad on the left. In the middle of it all is a Chroma-lit touchpad with the Options and Share button on either side. Then, the two thumbsticks with the PS button in the middle. The surface of the controller looks sleek and clean and luckily, it doesn’t stain easily.
Here’s one other thing they changed up or revised after all the consumer feedback they received. Long gone is the obnoxious panel between the controller grips. Instead, it’s now replaced with a smaller panel with four extra function buttons for Bluetooth connection, phone app connection, Chroma change, and lock. Below that is the slot for your audio devices. By downsizing the panel, it gave a lot more space for me to grip on to the controller sturdily.
Bumpers and Triggers
Turning the controller around you’ll notice an extra set of bumper alongside the usual R1/L1 bumpers and R2/L2 triggers. Underneath, surprise – another set of buttons. The bottom side also include locks for those extra triggers on top plus a slider to let you choose between modes.
The triggers come with trigger stops which makes them superb for FPS games. If you’ve no idea what that is, it’s basically a stop to reduce the travel time for input. In a nutshell, it enables rapid fire when you’re off firing your guns.
Finally, let’s talk about the touchpad. It comes engraved with Razer’s logo, outlined by a Chroma strip that lights up when turned on. They are simply gorgeous to look at. Plus, remember that third button on the panel? You can set out different Chroma effect for them.
Raiju Tournament Edition build
Next up, let’s check out the Raiju Tournament Edition. It has all the shine and glitters of the Ultimate except for a few aesthetic features. Most importantly, the prices between both are different.
For starters, the Tournament Edition controller is not customizable. Even the interface is slightly different from a typical Dualshock controller, which, the Ultimate emulates. Besides swapping the location of the D-pad with the left thumbstick, the Tournament Edition controller is also missing the four extra function buttons. The panel only features one button for Bluetooth connection. Though, the same button can be used for connecting to the phone app.
On the bottom, both of them are the same. There’s an extra set of trigger and buttons plus the locks alongside the mode slider.
Gaming with the Raijus
Undoubtedly, my first pick was the Raiju Ultimate when it came to deciding which I’d begin my test drive with. Since they were made for the PlayStation 4, that was the first hardware I tested it on. So to test these controllers out, I picked three games from vastly different genres: Final Fantasy XIV (MMORPG), Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands (FPS), and Spider-Man (Action-Adventure).
The Raiju phone app
But first, before we get into the whole nitty gritty, a quick detour! We’ve got to talk about the phone app. I mentioned above that there’s a phone connection button on the Ultimate, yeah? Basically, with the phone app, you can set different profiles for the types of game you play. Pairing the controller with the app is fairly easy, just follow the instruction on the handbook. I did this easily without a hitch, only took me a moment to pair the controllers and they were good to go.
Booting up the app, after a successful pairing, will take you to the home screen where it shows multiple default profiles you can pick from. These include Shooter, Fighting, Sports and Racing. You can, of course, create your own profile. Customizing the profiles essentially lets you set different functions for the M1/M2 and M3/M4 buttons, as shown in the image above. The best part about the profiles? You can switch to any on the fly.
The controller stays connected to the app throughout your gaming session. If you happen to switch a game, all you have to do is switch profile within the app. This is done simply by tapping on the big squares on the home page. Plus, you can drag and rearrange the order of your most-used profiles. The top four profile will be the ones featured in the boxed section. If in cases where the controller disconnects from the app, you just have to tap the reconnect button and the phone will automatically search for the controller you pair with. It was easy to use and really convenient.
So for Final Fantasy XIV specifically, I turned off the M3/M4 buttons on the bottom of the controller and lock both the extra bumpers. As for Wildlands, I used the default Shooter and for Spider-Man, I played with Fighting. Oh, you can use the phone app with the Tournament Edition as well.
Creating a personalized experience each game
Alright, back to the experience. Due to the controller being slightly bigger in size and also heavier, it took several hours of playing before I got used to it but eventually, I got comfortable with them. Frankly speaking though, the location of the M3/M4 button is in quite a niche spot. Despite many circumstances where I accidentally pressed them, they also came in handy further down the road. I didn’t use them in FFXIV but they came in handy for setting up various macros in Spider-Man and Wildlands.
The extra set of triggers on the back, M1/M2, I likey – a lot. These were great in all three games. I set up macro keys for them and they were super convenient to access as well. The M1/M2 triggers have trigger stops on them as well. I used these over the R2 button for quick firing. They have significantly less travel input in comparison to a typical Dualshock.
Plus, there’s always the toggle-locks to keep them on/off and these are super handy. I don’t know about you, but there are times where I set my controller down on the desk while my character sits in a bush somewhere because the actual player needs to heed nature’s call only to accidentally fire a shot, alerting the whole enemy fortress to come whoop me upside down.
Tournament Edition or Ultimate?
Between the Tournament Edition and the Ultimate, the biggest difference stems aesthetically. Despite the former not having Chroma feature, it’s still a solid controller with the same technical features of the latter.
Otherwise, the Tournament Edition does feel lighter in comparison. Another visual difference was its layout. This threw me off a little since I wasn’t used to having the D-pad swapped with the left thumbstick. It took some extra hours of playing to get used to it. So if you prefer the Dualshock layout, I’d recommend the Ultimate.
Playing on PC
After testing it out on my console, I switched them both over to my PC. Here I played some Maplestory 2, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Final Fantasy XIV PC edition. Playing Maplestory 2 with the controller came as a pleasant surprise pretty much lowered the risk of getting carpal tunnel on both wrists! So if you happen to have those spammy, platformer-type games, the controllers are great for them. Setting it up with the PC was easy as well, Steam’s Big Picture detected the controller right away. All I had to do was follow the setup guide on-screen.
Great gameplay enhancing qualities
Performance-wise, I really enjoyed the Mecha-Tactile buttons. There was no need to put too much pressure on them when inputting. Whenever there was a hold mechanic, I didn’t have to push too hard. Plus, the response rate was high as well. Previously when I played Spider-Man on my Dualshock, I had some problems with that QTE that requires you to spam a single button really fast. I’d always come close to failing or just flat out fails the QTE simply because the controller couldn’t respond quick enough to my input-spam. The Raijus solved this issue with that quick response rate I mentioned above. Of course, that’s not the only thing you’d use them for.
Just in general, the buttons were great in any game scenario. What I liked most, were the triggers and bumpers on the back, all three sets of them. Razer modified these to make sure there’s minimal travel between input and actuation, making the triggers especially versatile for games that requires you to go fast. Ease of input is important especially in those long hours of gaming sessions and both Raijus pass the test with flying colors. Or should I say – flying Chroma? 😉
Settling the score
My verdict? After using them both to play the same games, I would say they are similar in technicality. You’re not missing out on the functions if you decide to get the Tournament Edition. However, the Ultimate does look so much nicer with the Razer Chroma Lighting strip.
Ultimately, the biggest improvement they did to these new revisions is the downsizing of the panel between the grips. This made the controllers a lot easier to hold albeit being heavier. That really is the only problem for me; the size. Otherwise, the controllers were pretty great to use. Setting them up was easy, I got comfortable with them real fast and most importantly, those extra buttons definitely contributed to some enhanced gameplay.
I give the Razer Raiju Tournament Edition and Ultimate both a 4.5/5 rating for performance but, bonus point goes to Ultimate for looking great. I’d suggest going for the Ultimate if you already have other Razer Chroma products as this will fit in nicely as a new addition to the lit-fam. Otherwise, the Tournament Edition will prove just as powerful. At the moment, pricing within Malaysia is yet to be announced. We’ll keep you updated! Big thanks to Razer Passion Malaysia for providing us with the review unit. And you! Thanks for reading this Raiju Ultimate review.