I hate using a keyboard while playing video games on PC. Outside of first-person shooters, having to use WASD for movement control is a resoundingly unpleasant experience for me. Whereas I do prefer a mouse to an analog stick when it comes to aiming, I just can’t get behind a keyboard.

So for someone like me, with most of the PC games I’m interested in providing no — or even just partial — controller support, I end up left in the lurch more often than not. PC gaming is something I gaze upon longingly but never completely partake in, like a Vikings fan watching the Packers win a Super Bowl. 

And having just recently bought a new gaming-capable PC, I was soon faced with this reality once I started firing up random games to see how the new rig handled. PC games that are designed specifically for PCs aren’t always suited to controller inputs. After all, a keyboard has far more “buttons” than a controller, so if a game has more actions than one controller can handle, it can lead to some contextualized button input overlaps, or just the wholesale omission of some inputs completely. 

And just when I felt all hope was lost, that I was destined to be shackled to the clickety clack of a keyboard while playing games on my PC, my partner surprised me with an early Christmas gift. Lord bless her heart for seeing me struggle from afar and finding a solution to my problem: the Azeron Controller.

“The Azer-what?” you might be asking. Allow me to explain.

Azeron Controller

At first glance, the Azeron resembles something akin to a severed Terminator hand, and once you insert your own meat sausages into it, it looks like you and Arnie are locked in a loving, hand-holding embrace. But all Terminator niceties aside, once you get used to using this quirky-looking controller, it soon begins to feel intuitive, comfortable, and surprisingly responsive. 

The basic design starts with a resting platform for your left palm — let’s call this the base. Attached to the left side of the base is an analog stick, complete with a clickable button, like the L3 button on a PlayStation or Xbox gamepad, which is designed for player movement. From there, you’ve got a paddle that extends past the analog stick, which can also be triggered using your thumb (I use it for the Esc key). Above the analog stick is a four-direction click stick that serves as four buttons or can be used basically like a D-pad. This stick also has an L3-styled button built into it.

And then it gets really interesting. There are paddles located at the tips of your fingers. Your index, middle, ring, and pinky all rest in a section of the controller that offers one paddle for each finger, on the pad or inner side of said finger. I use these for more actively used inputs like crouching and jumping, or menu options. And my index finger? That’s my interaction button. In addition to these interior pad paddles, there are also four paddles that rest under your fingertips, which are defaulted to the 1 through 4 hotkeys — I find this to be the perfect designation for those keys, so I haven’t experimented with adjusting this much as of yet.

Azeron Controller

If that’s not enough, there are four paddles lined up with your knuckles, an additional paddle to the left of your index finger, yet another row of four paddles above the ones by your knuckles, and two more paddles above these, which sort of jut out and hover above your index and middle finger.

So that’s what? 22 paddles, one analog stick with a 23rd button, and the click stick, which offers five more button options? That is, of course, saying nothing of however many buttons you already have on your mouse. Needless to say, this is more than enough for most PC games. While playing Cyberpunk 2077, I think I got close to maxing it out, but that game offers controller support and I feel that’s the better way to play it anyway — especially since open-world driving sucks with anything other than a controller, in my opinion. 

And the icing on this already tasty cake is that, if a particular game doesn’t offer in-game options to remap the keys, Azeron has complimentary software that lets you remap the controller to correspond with the baked-in control scheme. You can also assign two profiles and switch between them with a button on the Azeron controller itself, so you can swap on the fly.

The cost to buy in is a little steep — you’re looking at around $150 to $200, depending on where you buy it and whether or not there are any deals going on. But in my opinion — especially as someone who is starting to get more heavily invested in PC gaming on a whole — this is an invaluable tool that alleviates a lot of the issues I have had with the keyboard.

For my money — well, I guess it was my partner’s money, though I would’ve definitely bought one of these myself — the Azeron controller offers the best solution I’ve come across for the headache of the WASD control option. And now that I’ve seen the Promised Land, there is no turning back.

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