Coffee Talk #63: Third-Party Controllers and You

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At CES 2010, Razer announced that it was getting into the console game with its Onza Professional Gaming Controller for Xbox 360. (I still use an amateur controller to maintain my eligibility for the Olympics.) I was greatly excited that Razer was entering this market because, let’s face it, most third-party peripherals suck.

I almost always stick to first-party controllers. Sure, they cost more, but in most cases they’re much better than third-party offerings. The only exceptions I’ve made were Mad Catz’s Nintendo 64 pad and Xbox 360 Street Fighter IV pad. I don’t even use the latter for Street Fighter IV, but rather its d-pad, which is way better than the garbage on the 360’s stock controller. Anyway, that’s two third-party products in decades of gaming.

Most third-party controller vendors attempt to give gamers a cheaper alternative. For my money, most of the offerings aren’t worth it. Razer is a different beast altogether. The company has been making some of the best and most precise gaming mice for years — super high-quality stuff. I expect the Onza to be a top-notch product. I wish more companies would take this approach, rather than the cheapie route.

I wanted to get your take on third-party controllers for consoles. Have you been happy with any of them? Do you prefer the features and savings they (generally) offer? Or do you stick with first-party gear all the way?

Author: RPadTV

18 thoughts on “Coffee Talk #63: Third-Party Controllers and You”

  1. Only 3rd party controller I ever bought was a MadCatz for GameCube. That one was built for smaller hands (or girly hands in my case lol), which was perfect for me since the stock ones are massive and it's cord length was longer. Then a year later we bought Wavebirds lol.

    I did have a cheap ps1 controller someone left at my house once. The design was generally the same, but it's aesthetics and playability were both ugly so it never got any use.

  2. That controller has 2 bumpers plus a right and left trigger? That would be too much for me to handle there. I use the four finger technique (run with it N8R) so 6 would just throw me off.

    I do like their design for the directional pad. I think it will be good for people who like to play fighting games.

  3. @Smartguy – well the middle buttons are completely optional. They can be any button you'd like or no button at all of you don't. I think they might be a good spot to switch the stupid analog stick click buttons to.

    Also, for my PS3, this would be amazing because the Joysticks are adjustable for anyone who wants personalized tension on them.

    To be honest, the only 3rd party controller I contemplated this gen was a controller that looked and felt like a 360 controller, but worked with the PS3. unfortunately I read that the buttons and response time weren't so hot. I usually find that's true of most 3rd party controllers.

    Last 3rd party controller I had was for the N64 cause I was a tennager and pretty broke. they worked well enough but never as good as the official counterparts.

  4. We own one 3rd party controller for our PS2 and it doesn't really work. I bought those MadCats extension cables for my PS2 and XBOX so I wouldn't have to sit so close to the TV and found that some of the buttons didn't register at all when I used them. So I never use 3rd party stuff anymore.

  5. I tried out a third party controller on the PS2 or PS1, I can't remember which, but I only bought it because it was clear. Thought it felt cheap and I to this day have never bought another none Sony controller on PS.

    On my 360 I was wanting to cheat on Burnout so I bought a controller with programmable turbo (way easy to charge an explosion then). The controller itself has very thin joysticks that feel like they might break off fairly easily and the triggers are thin also, but otherwise the controller seems fine. It does have a cool feature on the back there is a switch to invert the y-axis on the fly.

    I hope razer doesn't just put out a "cool" looking controller with their name on it. I would want it to have some better features than the standard controller.

  6. Side Note:

    I wish the Burnout series would go back to the way it was before. I really enjoyed lining up the same crash over and over trying to best my score or my friends scores.

  7. after doing some research on the Razer I do love the idea of extra buttons that can be reprogrammed and the ability to adjust the tension of the joysticks. Also the controller seems to be as comfortable as the MS version and the DPAD is supposed to be a lot better with 4 individual buttons like the PS3

    it seems the drawbacks were long joysticks due to the ability to change tension, and the fact that the controller is wired is just about a deal breaker for me.

  8. @Shockwave

    Exactly! I only raced to unlock more crash events. Then the put out this open world thing which is okay but its not what I want in a Burnout game.

  9. I'm with you slicky, I played the demo for paradise but didn't care for it much. I think one of the worst things that ever happened to the NFS series was the introduction of an open world. well, that and the influence of crap tuner cars from movies like fast and the furious.

    I heard the newest NFS was better but once I give up on a series it's not easy to win me back

  10. With Burnout Paradise I like the Takedown races and that about it. It is fun to drive around in the DeLorean though.

  11. @NFS

    I used to play the original Hot Pursuit all the time (played demo of new one but didn't care for it). I even loved NFS Underground (only the first one) but I hated Carbon and ProStreet and I haven't and probably won't buy another NFS game again.

  12. I hate 3rd party controllers. Some gamers at my church had a Tekken 6 party/tournament a couple of months ago and the guy that put it together was having it at his house and had everything taken care of. There was one huge problem. He had 2 controllers and one of them was a 3rd party controller and the button were not as good as the Dualshock 3. For a lot of the Tekken combos that have to be done quick I'll slide my thumb across 2 buttons to pull it off but the 3rd party controllers buttons were spaced further away than the Dualshock 3 and it didn't work.

  13. Mad Catz is pretty hit or miss for me. I've bought a few of their controllers and about 50% work well enough while the other half craps out. I tend to like the first-party controls better. But maybe that is because we start playing our consoles with them?


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