Opening the Asus ROG Raikiri Pro treats us to one of the cooler looking stock controllers on the market. It rocks the ROG brand stylings, layering emblazoned plastic on the front panel with an angular RGB LED strip that bounces around the thumb stick. Towards the top of the faceplate sits a black and white OLED full of promise, but like most of the controller, it’s best to lower those expectations as the Raikiri Pro doesn’t live up to its own unboxing hype.
Turning on this Xbox form factor controller will let you see these LEDs in action, with a pulsing rainbow that darts across the front. The light pattern is meant to track around the right thumb stick but is obscured by the heavier plastic and the effect isn’t quite as cool as I expected. During startup, the Asus ROG logo also bounces proudly on the OLED screen for an annoyingly long time before calming down. It can then be used to navigate a limited menu using dedicated buttons on the top of the controller, which is awful and I avoid doing so wherever possible. Unfortunately it’s the only way to swap between connectivity modes, so if you want to swap between dongle and Bluetooth you’ll be forced into using it at some point.
I took a trip into Asus’s Armoury Crate software to see what my options were to customise the lights and screen to a more useful effect but there really aren’t a lot of options. You can choose solid colours or default rainbow with a few animation options but that’s about it for the LEDs. The screen has a little bit more flavour allowing you to upload your own animations, or chose from the few available. Mine is now set to be a shark eating a fish, which is much cooler.
With the LEDs falling a bit short, and the screen not really being very useful, the lighting situation on this controller just gets in the way. If anything the lights wound up being a distraction while gaming, only really serving any use when they turn red to let me know the battery needs charging.
Connectivity: 2.4G, Bluetooth, USB Type-C wired
Battery life: Up to 48 hours (without lighting, vibration)
Cable: 3M USB Type-C to Type-A
Layout: Xbox-style offset thumbsticks with rear programmable paddles
Price: $170 / $270 AUD / £150
Despite all this powered bling the battery in the ROG Raikiri Pro lasts well, and the blazing reminder of red LED is actually a super helpful reminder to plug the device in. You can comfortably game away all day on a wireless connection and have plenty of awareness when it needs to charge. The 2.4G dongle works reliably well as does with Bluetooth on my Android phone, though I can’t get it to connect properly to my iPad. It’s seamless to plug it in and keep going on a wired connection when you’re not ready to finish up yet, too.
While the connectivity seems great, using the controller can be a bit hit and miss, with the whole experience mostly inline with a standard Xbox controller with odd outliers. The thumb sticks, for example, feel similar to your standard Xbox only with even scratchier paddings but the D-pad is a raised circular unit that feels like it rolls wild and imprecisely under my thumb.
The face buttons and bumpers have a bit of stick to them making them feel slightly sluggish when pushed down. It’s not much worse than a standard Xbox but I could feel the difference, and they were far less responsive than those on my Thrustmaster controller. It didn’t bother me when playing something like Halo Infinite where you’re more focussed on shooting, but in a game like Hades where I want fast face button action I noticed the slower response.
The controller has four programmable back buttons so I decided to try using these as face button replacements only to find them really awkwardly placed. Between them is a compartment for the dongle, which I love for portability and safe keeping, but it’s resulted in some over crowding with the buttons. They might do better for smaller hands, mine are average sized at best and they felt cramped trying to work these backplate buttons.
The triggers feel much better, and you can dial in the precision by changing the deadspots using Armoury Crate. I like a bit more of a hair trigger, so I tuned in the responsiveness to activate sooner and immediately stopped dying to unending swarms of demons in Doom Eternal—for that level, at least. When I swapped back to more Hades, I toggled the manual switches on the back to make the triggers have less push for faster actuation and was able to call Meg in to destroy my enemies with ease.
This all leads to the ROG Raikiri Pro being a fairly competent controller when it comes to casual FPS gaming, especially if you like to take it to friend’s houses and use different profiles depending on your title. With such a hefty price tag there’s nothing here to cement it as a good recommendation over something like the Xbox Elite, especially for a broader range of games.
Possibly the biggest let down is that despite how cool it initially looks, at no point have I felt like I’m using a $270 AUD controller with this in my hand, and that’s without the added bonus that my unit’s side plastic doesn’t align properly and sometimes feels like I’m pushing in a mysterious extra button when holding it. There are upsides and downsides to the ROG Raikiri Pro, but there should be far more of the first and fewer of the latter for that much money.