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Razer Onza Tournament controller review

The XBOX 360 has no shortage of 3rd party game controllers and while several companies have released there own version of the Microsoft standard controller very few have maintained the overall quality level that Microsoft has adhered to.

Welcome to the Onza Razer. The latest in a well-rounded peripheral line up from the Razer Company based in ……USA. Razer typically has focused on PC gaming assecories but with this offering has thrown their hat into the console arena.

The Onza is a well built and rugged wired controller. Right off the bat you will notice that the cable is approx 24 feet long with a braided housing versus the typical rubber sealed cable.This ensures that your cable wont get accidentally eaten by small animals that you may have sharing your gaming space with ( I have heard many horror stories about little feline friends taking interest in gaming cables)

As far as the layout and configuration goes it sticks close to the standard MS wired controller with a  few additions and improvements.
The left and right thumbsticks now has tension adjusters that allow a gamer to literaly ” dial” down to a resistance level that suits their needs based on  the game they are playing.The thumbsticks themselves have notched dials attached the underside that make it quick and easy to adjust the resistance for each. This combined with the in-game sensitivity slider can really fine tune the experience.

The Razer Onza comes equipped with an extra set of bumper buttons. These buttons can be programmed to function as a face button ( A,B,X,Y) in addition to the existing ones. If reloading with a  bumper button is your thing and your game doesn’t allow for that configuration in the game menu; well you can make it happen with the Onza. The default setting of the extra bumpers is a double up of the existing primary bumpers so you wont have to worry about accidentally clicking the wrong bumper in the heat of combat.

The final and in  his reviewers opinion the best reason to own this controller are the backlit ” Hyper response action buttons”. Put simply these are the face buttons you know ( A,B,X,Y) rebuilt in a far superior manner.These buttons now have a quicker response time and come close to being full touch buttons with next to no travel distance. You lightly touch each button and it registers with the same response as a standard controller. I have actually improved my ability in FPS games due to this and no longer worry about ” sticky” buttons The fact that they are backlit and glow in a dark room is just icing on the cake.

Some negatives that affect initial usability of the controller are the rubber thumbsticks and the L and R triggers. The Thumbsticks  do not have the traditional  ” nubbies” on them which helped with grip. Instead the Onza has softer more ” tacky” rubber thumbsticks and while this at first an improvement the downside is that eventually you will get a case of ” sweaty thumbs” and your grip will diminish.Occasionally wiping them off will help with  this though.

The Left and Right triggers are also designed differently than  the standard MS controller. In this case they are more curved and have a longer arc to them. It will take some getting used to at first but eventually you will adapt. I did find that my fingers slipped off them every once in a while but again that is most likely part of the “getting used” to phase

Overall  everything about the Onza comes together in a very nice package that is well worth the $49.95 you will pay for it.I wish I could say that it is an easy choice over the standard Microsoft controller but you pretty much need to get your hands on one before you can make that call.

Battlefield 3 Survival Guide

The holiday season is upon us and we have finally had a chance to get our hands on all the AAA shooters that inevitably descend upon us. If you made the right choice you are now fully engrossed in the world of Battlefield 3 and all the large-scale and destruction based carnage it brings to the table.

This guide is here to help you step onto the battlefield with confidence and start on your path to a three star general. Lets get started shall we.

” Pick a class” Battlefield is all about fulfilling a role on the field of battle and helping your team achieve victory. The first thing you need to do is select a role that fits your play style. There is ASSAULT. ENGINEER, SUPPORT and RECON. Each one of these classes play differently and more importantly have different starting weapons and equipment. Just like a new pair of shoes; try them all on and when you find a pair that fits get ready to hit the track running!

“Tactical Awareness” There are a lot of different elements to this tip but the overarching theme is that you need to know your map, know your enemy, and know your objective.
Success in BF3 doesn’t always take the form of an awesome K/D ratio. In fact there will be plenty of times you will finish high on the match leaderboard simply by playing a support role in the game. I can’t count the amount of times that I have heard people go on about their killing streak only to find themselves at the bottom of the list because I spent the game  capturing objectives and bringing team mates back to life. Having a clear vision on where you are going in a match also helps you from becoming a wandering bullet magnet ( you know the guy on every team who is just wandering around the map looking for someone to shoot only to get shot himself by a more tactical player)

Map knowledge is a hard thing to learn in a game of Battlefield mainly because of the huge scale of the maps. You no longer just have to memorize specific corridors and pathways like most FPS on the market these days but now you have to learn the actual geography of the map. Hills , buildings, creeks, rivers, cliffs and tunnels combined with numerous streets and alley ways are just some of the environments you will find yourself in. Try and think like a real soldier ( as if any of us can imagine what that would be like) and move with a purpose. The maps may be huge but don’t think for a second that someone isn’t drawing a bead on you from a nearby rooftop or GRASSY KNOLL. Use cover like they do in the movies ( ” Cover to cover men!!”) and travel as a squad. Keep solid objects between you and enemy fire and don’t EVER think that a building is safe from a A1 Abrams Battle Tank.

Battlefield has numerous ways to kill your opponent. In addition to conventional firearms you now have a bevy of armoured vehicles, watercraft  and air support platforms. Jets, Helicopters, Tanks, APC,s and even good old fashioned Jeeps are now at your disposal. Knowing a vehicle and really knowing a vehicle is a big difference! Take the time to learn the controls of any vehicle you may find yourself sitting in. experiment with how fas t it goes and how you can manuever it around the map. Crashing your vehicle is not something to be embarrassed of and trust me you’ll do it lots. Just make sure you brush it off and get back on that bronco at the next opportunity. Eventually you’ll earn some upgrades to the vehicle if you play it long enough and you’ll be a force to be reckoned with. The opponent may be sitting there saying you are cheap for blasting his entire squad with a tank but that’s why they are there ( One may ask him why he didn’t have an engineer with a RPG handy to smack you down in your steel beast)

Objective points in Battlefield is where you earn the big points on the scoreboard at the end of every match. neutralizing them and capturing them in a game of conquest carries more weight with your team when you’re sitting around bragging about winning last game than the EX COD player who is stroking his EGO over his beautiful KD ratio. The teams that usually win any objective game mode are the guys/gals who know exactly where there objective is in the game world ( and not just blindly following the glowing ,B, Or C on the HUD) and also know how to take it without getting shot to pieces during the attempt. 

You probably know the feeling; hearing an  MCom station squealing 20 seconds after the match starts when you’re defending it only to find out that the opposing team got their before you could even take a step out of your spawn. Play the maps a lot but more importantly LEARN your maps so you’ll be a better soldier the next time you take to the battlefield there.

“Think like a team and play like a team” You will here many games preach team work and tactics but few games reward or penalize this mantra like Battlefield 3. When you start playing make sure you are in a squad. Either make one with friends or join a random one; you wont regret it!
Not only does this allow you to spawn on fellow ALIVE squad members when you die but it also allows you to take advantage of the entire squads ” spotting” ability.  If you see an enemy in the game with an orange marker above his head it’s because someone on your team took the time < approx .5 of a second> to spot the mean nasty bad guy. Spotting is done by hitting the back button on your XBOX 360 controller ( select button on PS3) while you are aimed in on the target ( L trigger ). This will mark/spot the target and make life easier for the rest of your squad in case they missed that enemy sniper perched up on the rock  . In addition to the tactical benefits it gives you , it also rewards you with some bonus XP when the enemy gets killed . Do this and do this often ( I often mark a target before I start shooting at him just in case I cant get the kill he will be marked for my  team mates)
Using the strengths of your fellow team mates will take you one step closer to victory on the battlefield. If you aren’t in voice communication with your team take a second to see what each person in your squad is playing as. If you see everyone is playing as RECON make sure you play a different role because a team of Recon Players may not prevail ( Depending on the game mode I find that an assault class and Engineer is almost a must have) in a game of conquest. Having knowledge of maps and what you’ll be facing on each map will help you in picking what class you’re going to  use that game.

Battlefield 3 is a challenging but rewarding game. When you lose you really feel bad but when you win and its a result of some solid tactics and team work there is no describing the feeling of pure excitement and  bad-assery you will have!

Fight hard and learn from your mistakes; Dont give up and in the end your going to be a better soldier for it!

Now get out there and show everyone what your made of!

Dwayne ” EVO Knight” Morash