Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma hands-on: Extravagant gamepad with mechanical buttons
Razer has a new game controller on offer with the Wolverine V2. According to the manufacturer, the gamepad costs 159.99 Euros MSRP and this pricing is largely the same across most online retailers. Razer wants to stand out from the 60 Euro-Xbox Series X Wireless Controller primarily with a high configurability, various additional buttons, and Razer Chroma illumination.
Settings can be adjusted, buttons can be assigned and macros can be created via the Razer Controller App for Xbox. However, this also means that the controller setup is not done via the Synapse app like with other Razer Chroma products and thus, no pairing of the controller light with other Razer devices is possible.
Packing and contents
In addition to a few stickers and a quick start guide, the box contains the controller itself, a 3 m USB-C to USB-A cable, and two interchangeable sticker caps. One of the caps is short and curved upwards while the other is longer and curved downwards.
Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma: A bit heavier, many buttons
When you first pick up the Wolverine V2 Chroma, you notice the slightly heavier weight of the Wolverine compared to the original Xbox controller. It also looks a bit more bulky in terms of shape, even though it does not seem to be significantly bigger or thicker. However, the sides seem to be slightly less beveled, so the pad appears wider at the top. The controller pad is also available in white.
Despite the increased weight, the body is primarily made of rough plastic, and the handles are roughened as well with added texture.
Visually, the slightly protruding additional triggers on the back are immediately noticeable. There are four such triggers (M3 - M6), which can be freely assigned via the app and operated with either the middle or ring finger. In addition, there are two "Trigger Stop Switches" at the upper end and two slide switches that limit the stroke of the analog thrust triggers for quicker triggering of rapid fire, for example.
The shoulder buttons are large as well. The M1 and M2 click mechanically and are located right next to the other shoulder buttons facing the center. The Start/Menu button has moved up a bit, so it did take some time for the fingers to get used to the new placement.
The standard buttons also feel a bit unfamiliar at first. While many third-party Xbox controllers try to emulate quite good feedback of the standard controller, Razer has its own way with its "Mecha-Tactile Action Buttons". Accordingly, the feedback when triggering the buttons on the Wolverine differs both audibly and noticeably from the original Xbox controller. For example, the ABXY buttons don't give the usual muffled, quiet feedback but rather remind us of mouse buttons and their clicking sounds, both acoustically and sensorially. The same applies to the bumpers.
Together with the rather noisy stick limitations, it is apparent that the usage sound profile of the Razer gamepad is potentially higher than that of the standard controller.
Practical experience: High quality, but not always better
We tested the Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma by pairing it with an Alienware 13 R3. The Razer Wolverine V2 is connected to the laptop via the included USB cable. Just like the Recon controller, this 160 Euro pad does not support a wireless connection.
The controller vibrates briefly when first connected to the PC but the drivers are not installed, at least obviously. There is also no app automatically downloaded or prompted for installation, as is usually the case with similar other Razer products.
At the same time, the curved stripes on the left and right of the controller's border start glowing in alternating colors — Razer Chroma in action. In the Razer Controller App for Xbox, an update is first automatically applied. Afterwards, the buttons can be assigned as desired. The sensitivity of the sticks can be set soon after pressing M5 (for the left stick) or M6 (for the right stick). The stick sensitivity itself can be minimally adjusted via the dead zone setting.
On to gaming
The Razer Wolverine V2 feels very pleasant while playing FIFA 21. Though the ABXY buttons trigger well and trigger quickly, they require a bit more pressure than the standard Xbox controller. In return, the trigger moment is now even clearer than in the already good original due to the audible and noticeable click.
The loud stick sound does not really have a negative impact while gaming. The standard assignment of the controller, which also maps the A and B buttons on the back, get a bit annoying in FIFA 21. This can occasionally lead to unintentional triggering of a passing or shooting action due to accidental press of the rear triggers.
For a better comparison, we alternated between two controllers in each half time — using the Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma in the first half followed by the Recon controller from Turtle Beach in the second half, and vice versa for the next game. When we switched to the Razer gamepad, we immediately noticed the heavier weight, and it also felt a bit clunkier in the hand. In return, the shoulder buttons feel smoother, the clicks on the ABXY buttons have clearer feedback, but need to be pressed a bit harder.
When switching from the Razer to the Turtle Beach, the Recon controller feels pleasantly light, but it also seems cheaper than the Razer. However, we did not notice any real differences during gaming. The controls work well with both controllers after a few minutes of getting used to. A real speed advantage cannot be found, at least in the delayed FIFA 21 control.
In Grid (2019), the stick controls take a bit of getting used to. The seem sluggish, but that is probably more of the game's fault. Nevertheless, the sticks feel a bit too soft and thus less direct than, for example, the Recon controller, which also gave a better lap time. The thrust control via R2, on the other hand, feels quite sensitive, which is not uncommon in racing games. However, it also worked well with the Wolverine V2 after taking some time to get used to it.
In the shooter Rainbow Six Siege, the thrust limit for the fire trigger feels particularly useful; you already have the feeling of triggering something faster with this button. The sticks also feel a bit softer here than the competition, which is a positive for this game unlike in Grid. We also like the M6 button — the crosshairs only move very slowly with the right stick when holding it down, which makes it easier for beginners to keep targets in focus while moving.
Verdict: High quality controller
The Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma is a high quality, but also somewhat heavier gamepad than the original Xbox controller or even the Recon controller. This is especially noticeable in the mechanical buttons, which provide a clearer feedback than the Xbox controller but require a bit more activation pressure. The USB-C cable's connectors have also been reinforced better. Then of course, there are the Chroma lighting effects.
The presence of several additional buttons is a nice extra, but they can initially hinder or overwhelm beginners with unintentional triggering. They may probably be an enrichment later on in games that can make use of them. The sticks seem to be softly designed and sometimes feel a bit less direct than those of the competition, which can have both advantages and disadvantages depending on the title.
The Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma is a high quality game controller with mechanical buttons, many additional keys, and a good build. Only professional gamers will notice a real speed advantage.