Whether you’re trying to score in Hoops mode or playing defense in vanilla, Rocket League is as demanding as FIFA, Madden, or any other marquee sports game. The action happens quickly, and you need a controller that keeps up with every change of direction and speed boost.
As we talked about in our article on the best mini gaming keyboards, we like to focus on the features we’re looking for before we start creating a list like this. For Rocket League, we chose to look at latency and customizability. Let’s take a closer look at each of those criteria.
If you’re having general latency problems, Tech Advisor has a helpful guide to sorting out the more common issues. However, your controller can also be part of the issue.
For casual players, controller latency is a non-issue. But if you’re trying to score the most savage goals in ranked matches, every millisecond is a nail in the coffin – or in the tire, as the case may be.
For this reason, we’ve chosen wired controllers as our best option. They may not be as convenient as their wired friends, but they have less latency in general, and aren’t prone to interference from silly things like microwaves.
Hey, if you like your stock DualShock 4, you’re not alone. There’s a reason it’s the world’s most popular game controller. But if you’re looking to drop some serious cash on a controller just to get better at one game, you’ll be selling yourself short if you don’t choose something that’s customizable.
Think about it. Would you buy a one-size-fits-all shoe to run in the Olympics?
That may be a bit of a stretch, but the fact remains that not everybody’s hands are the same size, or have the same dimensions. Being able to swap out different sized triggers, grips, and thumb sticks gives you the chance to continue improving your controller over time.
There are a couple other things you should look for. The first is cross-system compatibility. This is a rare win for Microsoft, since most Xbox and PC controllers – including the ones on our list – can be used interchangeably between both systems.
Other features, such as button mapping, lights, and rumble settings are all worth taking into account, although they’re less important. One thing we haven’t considered is battery life, since we’re looking strictly at wired controllers. If you absolutely must use a wireless controller, we apologize in advance.
The Razer Raiju is as tough as anything you’d get from Sony. The triggers and body are made from aluminum, not plastic, for maximum durability.
In addition to all your standard PlayStation buttons, this controller features two extra removable triggers on the bottom of the unit. These buttons can be customized as alternates for other buttons, or as combinations of other buttons. Unfortunately, they’re a pain to reprogram. You have to use Razer’s smartphone app, and plug the controller into your phone to reconfigure it.
That said, this controller is very reliable, and has almost zero latency. There are also plenty of aftermarket parts available, so you can lengthen or shorten the thumb sticks, fatten the grips, or make any other changes that improve your comfort and performance.
· Adjustable triggers
· Plenty of aftermarket parts available
· Aluminum construction
· Two removable, programmable triggers
· Difficult to customize
The Xbox Elite was an easy choice. Microsoft has made some missteps in this console generation, but the Elite isn’t one of them. It has four customizable paddles on the bottom, which can also be removed if you prefer. The paddles are easy to map, since this is an official Xbox One controller. Just download the app, and make any changes you want to make right from your Xbox dashboard.
Of course, this is a Microsoft product, so it’s not exactly built like a brick house. Despite the premium price, it’s still made of plastic. On the other hand, the Xbox Elite ships with alternate thumb sticks and two different D-pads so you can make comfort adjustments right out of the gate. Microsoft also offers more parts online, so you can continue to upgrade into the future.
· Comes with alternative thumb sticks and D-pad
· Four removable, customizable paddles
· Wide availability of aftermarket parts
· Official Xbox app for button mapping
· Plastic shell
The Razer Wolverine Ultimate is as tough as its namesake, with an aluminum body that won’t crack from getting dropped the wrong way. It has fat, rubberized grips that make it easy to hold onto, and the mechanical buttons have a slight amount of resistance, just enough to let you know you’re pressing them.
The six mapping triggers on the bottom are a nice feature. They’re easy to reprogram with Razer’s PC app. However, four of them are awkwardly located, and require a weird half-press to get them to register.
There’s a large aftermarket for Razer thumb sticks and grips, with a virtually infinite combination of components.
· Six removable mapping triggers
· Mechanical buttons
· Easy to reprogram
· Rubberized grips
· Widely available aftermarket parts
· Durable aluminum body
· Four of the mapping triggers are awkward to use
The switch is great for parties, Amtrak rides, and killing time while you’re waiting for a doctor’s appointment. What it’s not known for is an ergonomic controller, which can be an absolute player when you’re playing a cross-platform game like Rocket League.
The PowerA Nintendo Switch Wired Controller gives you all the Switch buttons you know and love, in a shape that looks suspiciously similar to the Xbox One controller. It features a rugged aluminum body, with ergonomic, rubberized grips. The only thing we didn’t like about the PowerA was the aftermarket, which is nonexistent.
· Shaped like a modern game controller
· Aluminum body
· Rubberized grips
· No aftermarket parts
Well, that about wraps things up here.
Oh, you wanted us to choose the best overall? That’s a tough call, since not all of these controllers work on all systems.
The Wolverine Ultimate is the best bang for your buck, though. It works with PC or Xbox One, and there’s also a PlayStation 4 version available. All of our controllers have lots of custom parts available, but the Wolverine has the added benefit of button remapping, which makes it perfect if you don’t like Rocket League’s default control schemes.
Have you tried one of these controllers? Is there a controller you think should have been on our list, but wasn’t? Let us know in the comments!
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