Razer’s Wolverine V2 is like a lower-cost Xbox Elite controller
Razer has announced a new version of its Wolverine wired controller that’s made specifically for the Xbox Series X / S, with support for Xbox One and PC. It’s called the Wolverine V2, and it has more enthusiast features than the pack-in controller that ships with Xbox consoles, like “mecha-tactile” switches under its face buttons, trigger stops for a customizable trigger feel, and a couple of macro buttons. It’s a far cry from the versatility offered by Microsoft’s Elite Series 2 controller, but it’s considerably cheaper at $100. It’s available starting today from Razer’s site.
Most of the changes from the previous version are cosmetic, but they make for a more comfortable controller that’s a joy to use. Razer made the grips rounder than before and coated them in a grippy, non-slip texture to keep it from sliding around if you get sweaty while playing. It feels very pleasant — bordering on ergonomic — to hold in my medium-sized hands.
From a usability standpoint, I like that Razer moved the Xbox system-level buttons (menu, view) closer to the left analog stick and face buttons. The share button, which is new to the Xbox Series X / S controller, is here as well, and you’ll find that in between the D-pad and right analog stick. Beneath it is a handy audio configuration button that’s used to adjust volume on the fly while connected to your Xbox. Holding it in while pressing up or down on the D-pad will tweak the game audio in your headset, which can connect to this controller via its bottom-mounted 3.5mm headphone jack. By holding this button and tapping left or right on the D-pad, you can adjust the chat volume.
Really, nothing else is new with the Wolverine V2, but there are still some surprises here if you haven’t yet used the Raion fightpad made for PS4. This one features “mecha-tactile” switches under the D-pad and face buttons. The result is a set of buttons that are quiet, yet more tactile than I’m used to feeling in a controller. Each press feels more precise and requires less effort to push, actuating at 1.2mm. If you need to game quietly to avoid waking people up, this is far quieter than the clacking sounds the standard Xbox One controller produces when you repeatedly mash the face buttons.
The analog sticks are large, concave, and have a crosshair-shaped etching in their middle serving as an aid to keep your thumb centered. It’s nothing special, but they feel just as responsive and well-made as Microsoft’s. Triggers are probably where this controller differs the most from the pack-in controller, and as someone who’s used to the feeling of Microsoft’s LT and RT triggers, I was initially thrown off by the ones on the Wolverine V2, which seem to offer a little less travel distance. Though, I quickly acclimated to them and even found myself taking advantage of the trigger stop switches, which further reduce the distance you need to press them in.
The Wolverine V2 has two extra buttons next to the triggers called M1 and M2, as the previous version did as well. They’re like the macros you’d find on a keyboard in that you can customize what they do in the Razer Controller Setup for the Xbox app on Xbox consoles or PC. For instance, one can be assigned to replace standard buttons like X, A, up on the D-pad, a trigger, or clicking in the left analog stick, to name a few examples. You can also assign them to quickly adjust the sensitivity of the analog sticks.
Despite a price cut from its previous generation, $100 is still a lot of money for the Wolverine V2 given that most people’s needs are well met by the standard Xbox One or Series X / S controller. But if you’re someone who wants more functionality and you don’t want to pay $180 for Microsoft’s more feature-complete Elite Series 2, this new controller is a solid choice that splits the difference.