Razer Wildcat Review
The pro controller game for consoles is in an upswing, it has always been present in some form or another but, with the inclusion of Microsoft not only officially joining the”pro” game with the Xbox Elite controller but setting an impressive standard, Razer answered by released their much anticipated competitor, the Razer Wildcat pro controller for the Xbox One.
I must preface this review of the Razer Wildcat with this, I have never had a “pro controller” before, and my only comparison I have is with my home hack of an Xbox 360 wired controller and an outside point of view for the Xbox Elite controller. I have researched the Scuf Gaming customizable controller but they start at $149 before even doing what you want with it, so the Xbox Elite and Razer Wildcat just seemed like the best place to start for a casual gamer looking for an inexpensive pro experience.
So why choose one over the other? Each pro controller is $150, corded, come with custom button mapping, carrying cases, trigger stops, and removable triggers/paddles. If history serves as anything, in gaming, buying the official product is typically the smarter move, giving some edge to the Xbox Elite, but Razer has a long history with sharp, dependable, and high performance products, making the Razer Wildcat very desirable. Because I have other Razer products for PC and a few other very very small issues with the Xbox Elite, I chose the Razer Wildcat.
The Xbox Elite has a few differences than the Razer Wildcat: it can be wireless, has 3 different sized thumbsticks, 2 different d-pads, and paddles instead of triggers. People who have used the Kontrolfreek thumbstick extenders understand why the different sized thumbsticks would look and sound important in certain discussions, but from experience I’ve found the use of such products providing very minimal aid in FPS, which is why having this option in a controller didn’t bear much weight.
Any pro gamer will tell you fractions of a second matter in first person shooters and pro play of any type, making a corded controller more desirable, so having a wireless option for the Xbox Elite is just that, a nice option but nothing I care much for.
The d-pads for the Xbox controllers has always been a talking point, mostly among fighting gamers. The two different d-pads for the Elite are boasted as being better for “precise combo execution”, but I would be hard pressed to not see the problems we see now with the current Xbox One controller. Although I have no experience with it to prove my hypothesis.
Finally the biggest reason why I chose the Razer Wildcat over the Xbox Elite is the Elite’s paddles. There’s something unfamiliar about them, making me unsure if $150 would be well spent. Unlike the Razer Wildcat that has the familiar triggers in comfortable and intelligent places.
The Razor Wildcat feels great in your hands, it just fits. It comes with a rubber material you can optionally stick on the outside handles and wrap around the back, and small rubber knobs for the thumbsticks to add just a little height and grip. In pure Razer fashion, the additions are in their iconic green meaning they’ll get dirty fast from your grubby mitts, so that sharp look you see now will be a bit more dim with every use. I found putting on the extra padding on the controller troublesome, a pain in the dick to be exact. The instructions provided aren’t much help wither. I would honestly advise to avoid putting on the pads at all since they don’t add that much to the Wildcat’s overall comfort.
The most impressive part with the actual feel of the Razer Wildcat is the attention to detail and feedback from pro gamers. Besides ergonomically fitting your hands, if you look closely to the back of the controller, it has two notches where your middle fingers sit making long intense gaming sessions very comfortable.
This is kind of a no brainer when it comes to Razer, but history of other shoddy third party products forces me to comment on it’s construction. The Razer Wildcat is solid yet light, and feels much sturdier than the standard Xbox One controller that comes with the console. I may sometimes rage when gaming, squeezing my controller to the point where I can feel the plastic click under my grip, I haven’t had this happen while gaming with the Razer Wildcat. The flexing and clicking that is, I still rage unfortunately.
The Razer Wildcat is made of quality materials, as you would expect any Razer product to be built of.
The main purpose I bought the Razer Wildcat was for it’s extra triggers and button mapping abilities. While I did this mostly for Smite, where using an ultimate ability that requires you to aim with the right thumbstick and activate using “Y” was becoming troublesome, you can also use it in games like Titanfall and CODBlOps 3 for example where using a free trigger instead of “A” becomes advantageous when sliding or wall running.
Since button mapping was so important to me, how you accomplish this mapping was equally important. This is where the Razer Wildcat beats out the Xbox Elite in my opinion. While the Xbox Elite forces you to use Microsoft’s app to map it’s buttons, the Razer Wildcat lets you save two different maps on your controller and allows you to change mapping on the fly by a simple pressing and holding of corresponding buttons you want to map.
I used the trigger lock ability with both CODBlOps3 and Star Wars Battlefront and noticed improved response and recoil from weapons. The trigger locks are pretty self explanatory, but for those who are unaware of how they work, here’s the short of it, games such as Call of Duty respond with the trigger only being depressed approximately 1/3 of the way before your weapon fires, meaning you can lock that trigger to depress only that far allowing you to fire more quickly and more often, improving recoil and accuracy. That’s the theory anyway, one that I saw some improvement with.
I’d experimented with home made trigger locks in past generations of Xbox 360 controllers, so this already included addition with both the Razer Wildcat and the Xbox Elite was a welcomed option.
Since posting my Razer Wildcat unboxing video on YouTube, the overall reliability of the Wildcat has been questioned. There’s been multiple reviews coming in from YouTube and Amazon noting the Razer Wildcat’s tendency to randomly disconnect from the Xbox One. I’ve been gaming with the Wildcat for long sessions over the week and have only had this phenomenon happen once to me, but even at one time this still puts the Razer Wildcat’s reliability in question.
- Easy key mapping
- 2 profiles to map
- Comfortable feel
- Triggers are in advantageous and intelligent places
- Rubber add-on for thumbsticks adds extra grip and comfort
- Built in audio
- Price comparable to other “elite” and “pro” controllers
- Reliability in question
- $150 price tag is still steep, even if it’s competitive with other pro controllers
- Soft sticker pads are laughably difficult to apply
So if you think my two cents matter even a little bit, then I hope this review helped you on your decision to take the next step in the game of pro and elite controllers. Even with the Razer Wildcat’s few drawbacks, I’m impressed with it and will continue to use it as my go-to for competitive play.