For example, when we used the Onza during our trials of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, we found the D-pad didn't allow for the quick, swift multidirectional gestures that fighting games require. Instead, we were left with clunky performance that really soured the experience. That said, we found the D-pad to work well in games where the pad is used as a weapon-selection tool.
Moving beyond the D-pad, the Onza's dual analog sticks have a unique feature. Each stick is equipped with an adjustable tension dial that can increase or decrease its tightness. The two sticks can be adjusted individually. We've never seen anything like this before in a controller and really enjoyed the customization it offers. We found the tension knobs to really be useful when playing first-person shooters, as with a tighter analog stick we felt our aim was more accurate.
Of course, the tension dials can be used in tandem with any type of game. For what it's worth, we found ourselves leaving the left stick alone and tightening up the right stick for play with shooters.
The four Xbox 360 face buttons carry a sort of "mouse click" feel. Imagine what it's like to click a mouse button and then try and picture that same tactile feedback on a game controller. We're not completely sold on Razer's claims for its Hyperesponse controls, but there's no denying that they do feel good. Not nearly as much pressure is needed to hit one of the buttons, which could possibly improve the reaction time of some gamers. The buttons also light up, which is a welcome bonus.
Turning the controller around exposes the two triggers and the other feature we've really come to love about the Onza. In addition to the standard RB and LB bumpers on either side, the Onza has an extra shoulder button that can be bound to any other input (other than an analog direction). For example, the extra left bumper can be assigned the start button while the extra right bumper can be assigned "Click right analog stick." Again, Razer is able to deliver a feature that we've never seen before in a controller, and one that has incredible potential.
As alluded to above, we'd be lying if we said the fact that the Razer Onza is a wired controller isn't a disappointment, because frankly it is. However, Razer has informed us that this is because of Microsoft's ultrastrict limitations on third-party technology licensing. Long story short: Razer isn't allowed to make a wireless controller. Instead, Razer includes a high-quality braided 15-foot wire that allows for more than enough slack.
If you can't live without a wireless controller or you favor fighting games, the Onza may fall a bit short of meeting your needs. However, at $50, it's easily one of the best third-party controllers we've ever used. Sure, we would have preferred it to be wireless, but nothing on the market even comes close to the forward-thinking feature set and customizable buttons.