Is the Razer Wildcat the best third-party controller on the market?
I haven’t been a big fan of third party controllers but Razer may have changed my mind with their new controller – the Razer Wildcat.
The Razer Wildcat is the company’s latest addition to controller line-up and this is not the first time they’ve delved into console territory. Razer has released a few controllers in the past for the Xbox 360 for competitive gaming like the Razer Onza and Sabertooth but this will be their first for the Xbox One console.
The Original Feel but Better
Shape and size wise, the Razer Wildcat looks almost equivalent to the standard Xbox One controller but comes with a few added design which benefits the grip. The Wildcat feels more gripper in the hands because of the incorporated contours on the bottom. The controller is also slightly heavier but after hours of use – it really feels natural in the hands.
They’ve also changed out the thumb-sticks with bigger and more convex shape than the standard. These are really good for shooters but those who prefer a convex layout like the standard Xbox One controller, there’s no option to swapping this out.
Not many people like controllers that don’t feel natural in the hands and that’s the issue with most 3rd party brands but Razer has learnt from the original and made some slight tweaks to benefit it even further.
Razer has also added in the some extra grips for the Wildcat controller which seems pointless given the fact the controller feels great in-hand already. You’ll get some green thumb-stick grips as well which were a pain to put on and doesn’t really give you that extra benefit. It’s a weird choice to add these in but they’re optional and for those potentially keen to use them, it’s there but in my tests – forget about them.
Something you won’t find on other console controllers is the fact the buttons and triggers on the Razer Wildcat are hyper-responsive. If you’ve ever used a gaming mouse before and noticed the shorter distance in clicking then you’ll understand having than the usual stock spongy-style buttons is a huge step up. Razer has been making gaming mice since it’s company birth and it’s great to see that technology move into a gaming controller like the Wildcat.
Taming the Cat
One of the biggest selling points of this controller is the fact that you can customise certain buttons. The Razer Wildcat comes with four additional mappable buttons. Two of them are situated below the controller in a smaller metallic trigger form. These are also hyper-responsive and can be removed with an included screwdriver. The other two are additional bumpers located above the controller – these extra bumpers can’t be removed however.
Mapping these buttons are incredibly easy and requires no software or external tool. All you need to do is hold down the map button located on the bottom of the controller and press the two buttons you want to map. It’s straight-forward and easy to change on the fly if you need to. You can also store up to two profiles so if you play different games or roles – you don’t have to remap the whole controller again.
You can also adjust the trigger stops on the controller. Standard triggers on the Xbox One controller and even the Elite controller have a long travel distance. The standard is acceptable if you’re playing titles like racers but when it comes to shooter, the shorter the travel distance means the controller will register faster when you pull the trigger. The Wildcat allows the trigger stops to be activated and deactivated simply by flipping the switch on the rear-top of the controller.
Into the Wild
On paper, all these functions seem excellent but how does it perform in the real world. I’ve put the Razer Wildcat to test for about two weeks with various games and across both the Xbox One and Windows 10 platform. With a target for competitive gaming, I tested the controller with shooters like Halo 5 and Rainbow Six Siege for the Xbox One.
The Razer Wildcat is primarily designed for the Xbox One and with it’s trigger stop function and hyper-response buttons – shooter who play competitively or seriously will benefit from the features here. Playing Rainbow Six Siege, the Wildcat allowed me to map the reload button (X-button) to the trigger underneath the controller. Having the reload mapped to one of the triggers, I didn’t have to remove my right thumb from the stick to press reload which helps in response time so you can focus on your targets.
The larger surface of the thumb-sticks are also excellent which gives you a better edge than the stock standard sticks you get and the individual button layout d-pad makes sure you press the right buttons.
Having two profiles is also beneficial especially if you play other games like Halo 5. The game has different buttons for say using power-ups and reloads so with the mappable function, you can customise your own layout to be exactly the same over various shooters which comes in handy.
The Razer Wildcat works for every game but for titles like a fighter, having an individual button layout D-pad will make you think twice about this product. However, Razer has marketed the Wildcat to be a controller that targets competitive shooters so if you’re not serious about that genre of gaming than this product is not for you.
Like the original Xbox One controller, the Razer Wildcat also supports Windows 10 gaming. You can plug the controller into the PC and Windows 10 will install or pick up the device straight away. The Razer Wildcat works perfectly with various game with native controller support but the features such as the re-mappable buttons, profiles and audio don’t function in Windows 10.
Razer hasn’t been explicitly clear on whether the functions work on PC but I can tell you straight up they don’t unfortunately. If you’re expecting to use these features on PC than it’s probably not something you want to pick up. In saying this, the controller is targeted for competitive shooters and if you’re shooters on PC than I’m just going to shake my head.
After using the Razer Wildcat for roughly two weeks straight, it has become my new replacement over the standard Xbox One controller. I primarily play Rainbow Six: Siege one the Xbox One and not only has it made my hands feel comfortable during hours of matches but it has also allowed me to play with a competitive edge with it’s customisation features.
There is however some shortcomings and a steep price when it comes to the Razer Wildcat. The stick-on grips is possibly one of the weakest parts of the controller. While they add that extra comfortability, they start to peel and fall apart after a week of use. It was then quite a struggle to remove the residue that is left behind when trying to remove them. As I mentioned earlier in the review, these are optional so don’t put them on.
The other issue is the asking price for the Razer Wildcat. It’s actually matching the same RRP as the Xbox One Elite controller which is another customisable controller made by Microsoft (so classified as first party). The Razer Wildcat does have it’s advantages such as the hyper-response buttons and better customisable triggers than the flat Xbox One Elite but overall – the Xbox One Elite has more things and people will to push towards a first party controller than a third-party with the asking price. This doesn’t make the Razer Wildcat bad, it’s a damn good controller for third party and the best from Razer so far – it’s going to be a tough market for them to compete in.
Overall, if you’re looking for a controller to give you the competitive edge – I’ll highly recommend the Razer Wildcat especially if you’re playing shooters. The customisation features are great and the hyper-responsive buttons are really above the rest.
Disclosure: A unit was provided by Razer for review purposes // Photos property of Respawn Ninja