Razer Wolverine V2 review
Quick verdict: Smaller, lighter and cheaper, the Razer Wolverine V2 is both a marked improvement on its predecessor and simply one of the best Xbox controllers on the market.
- Mechanical switches are fast, responsive and precise
- Feels great to hold, even over long gaming sessions
- Curved triggers allow for more control over analogue pressure
- Reasonably priced
- No wireless connectivity
- Only two multi-function buttons
Third-party video game controllers have come a long way since the days of the PS2 and the original Xbox. No longer are they simply the cheap backups that you keep around for local multiplayer nights. Instead, many third-party controllers now deliver a prestige experience aimed at folks who want to get the most out of their video game console.
Razer has a strong foothold in this space, with controllers like the Razer Raiju Ultimate for the PS4 and the Razer Wolverine Tournament/Ultimate for the Xbox One offering premium features and enhanced performance over the standard Dualshock 4 and Xbox One controllers.
Hot on the heels of the launch of the Xbox Series X|S, Razer has released a new version of its Wolverine Xbox controller, appropriately dubbed the Razer Wolverine V2. While it's not a radical redesign of its predecessor, the Wolverine V2 is a superb device that ranks among the best Xbox controllers on the market.
- Textured grip feels great and provides extra stability
- Surprisingly light and easy to hold over extended periods
- Only two multi-function buttons this time around
The first thing you'll notice when looking at the Wolverine V2 is how much more compact it is than not only the original Wolverine but regular Xbox controllers as well. The prongs on either side have been shortened significantly and smoothed over so they trace nice, even curves all the way around. This makes the controller feel more akin to PlayStation's DualShock 4 than a typical Xbox controller.
For me, the redesign didn't change how I held the controller, but I can see it benefitting folks with smaller hands. The shorter prongs should allow for a firmer grip, with fingers and thumbs higher up on the controller, reducing the amount of stretching required to hit the shoulder buttons and top face buttons.
Speaking of grip, the Wolverine V2 improves markedly on its predecessor in this regard. Its prongs are wrapped in a textured rubber coating that both feels fantastic and keeps your hands from slipping as heat builds up over the course of a long gaming session. The grip also helps the controller feel like a premium product, one built for comfort and performance rather than designed for a specific price point.
Along with its stubbier shape, the Wolverine V2 is noticeably lighter than a lot of other high-end controllers. I found it easier to hold for extended periods than even the standard Xbox controller. At the same time, it doesn't feel flimsy or insubstantial. It's a solidly built device, with a heft to it that conveys durability without sitting like a brick in your hands after a few hours of play.
The one other visual feature I want to call out is the green trim separating the textured grip from the face of the controller. It's a nice touch that immediately distinguishes the controller from the competition without devolving into the ostentatious or gaudy look of some third-party controllers.
Alongside all the standard Xbox controls, the Wolverine V2 features two extra multi-function buttons on its top, nestled between the shoulder buttons and the triggers. Unfortunately, Razer has nixed the rear paddles and bumpers that featured on the Wolverine Tournament Edition and Wolverine Ultimate controllers. Losing those extra buttons limits how deeply you can customise the controller, preventing some of the more complex button-mapping configurations popular among high-end controllers.
Two other buttons make their debut on the Wolverine V2: the Share button that Microsoft added to the regular controller with the launch of the Xbox Series X|S, and an audio configuration button used for controlling the volume and chat/game audio mix when you have a headset plugged into the controller's 3.5mm headphone jack. Both buttons sit on the front of the controller between the D-pad and the right analogue stick.
Moving up the face of the controller, Razer has shifted the placement of the Menu and View buttons (aka Start and Select if you're old like me) so they straddle the sides of the Xbox Guide button. This again harkens more to the DualShock 4 and DualSense controllers than a regular Xbox controller. It took me a good few mispresses to get used to the new positioning, and the shift higher up the controller means you have to stretch your thumbs over the left analogue stick and right face buttons to hit them. It's not ideal, but it is manageable once you get used to it.
The one caveat that may turn some folks away from the Wolverine V2 is the fact that it's strictly a wired controller. Unlike the standard Xbox controller or the Xbox Elite controller, you can't sync the Wolverine V2 to your console for wireless play. Additionally, Razer has opted for a plastic cable instead of a braided cable or one of its excellent SpeedFlex cables. That's a bummer, as the plastic cable is a lot more prone to tangling and slightly diminishes the premium feel of the rest of the controller.
Like most Xbox accessories, the Wolverine V2 is fully compatible with both the Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles. You can plug it into your PC and play there as well.
- Mechanical switches make button presses faster and more precise
- Firmer feedback removes input ambiguity
- Curved triggers feel great
One of the biggest differentiators between the Razer Wolverine V2 and other Xbox controllers is its switches. Where most controllers use rubber dome switches to detect when you press a button, the Wolverine V2 features mechanical switches that operate similarly to mechanical keyboards. These deliver firmer, faster feedback on each button press, pushing back with a mechanical click that eliminates any ambiguity over whether you've actually hit the button or not. That pushback also makes it easier to hammer buttons repeatedly, useful for games that lean heavily into quick-time events.
The benefit of these mechanical switches is most noticeable with the D-pad. Smashing out combos in fighting games or nailing complex trick sequences in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is noticeably easier and more reliable than on a regular controller. In a 2D action game like Scourgebringer, jumping, dashing and slashing enemies felt faster and more precise.
Responsive buttons aren't all the Wolverine V2 has to offer. Its analogue sticks feel great, too, featuring a grippy texture that prevents your thumbs from slipping as you fling them around. The sticks follow the same concave design as those on a regular Xbox controller, helping to keep your thumbs stable on the centre of the sticks for optimal control when aiming.
Unlike the redesigned Xbox Series X|S controller, the Wolverine V2 has its triggers curve smoothly from the sides of the controller to the top. The tips of the triggers are flared upwards to keep your fingers from slipping off the back. I found this design more comfortable to rest my fingers on, with the added support affording more control over trigger pressure. This is especially handy for managing the throttle and brake in racing games like Forza Horizon 4.
Pulling the triggers feels great thanks to their low tension. Though soft, they spring back firmly enough to allow for fast repeated pulls in shooters like Call of Duty and Destiny 2.
- Quick and simple button mapping via Razer's Xbox app
- Trigger stops can help improve performance in shooters
- No RGB lighting
While not quite as flexible as its predecessors, the Wolverine V2 supports a good range of customisation options. Most of these are housed within the Razer Controller Setup for Xbox app, which you can install from the Microsoft Store on your Xbox console or PC.
Once you've booted up the app, you can start creating and editing controller profiles, of which you can have as many as you'd like. Each profile lets you customise button mappings, analogue stick sensitivity and the intensity of controller vibration. Four buttons are available for remapping: the two multi-function buttons as well as the View and Menu buttons.
There are 19 mapping options to choose from. These span all the standard controller buttons and triggers along with a "Clutch" function that reduces the sensitivity of one or both of the analogue sticks when the assigned button is held down. If you map the Clutch function to one of the four buttons, a separate menu becomes available for defining how low you want the sensitivity to be when holding down the Clutch button.
The last menu option in the app is vibration intensity. This is pretty self-explanatory: it lets you reduce the strength of the rumble motors inside the controller so that vibration in games is less intense.
Outside of the app, further customisation comes by way of the Wolverine V2's trigger stops. These are toggles on the back of the controller, one for each trigger. When toggled, they drastically cut the travel distance of a trigger, reducing the amount of pressure required to activate it. This makes firing guns faster and less strenuous in shooters. I noticed the difference in DOOM Eternal, where I was able to fire off rockets and rifle rounds at a more rapid clip than normal. Just be sure to remove the stops for racing games and other titles that rely on analogue trigger pressure, otherwise you'll find yourself chugging along in last place.
If you like to use a wired headset with your Xbox, the Wolverine V2 includes a nifty feature for controlling volume on the fly. By holding down the audio configuration button and pressing directions on the D-pad, you can adjust the balance of chat and game audio as well as increase or decrease the volume.
Unlike the previous Wolverine controllers, the Wolverine V2 does not feature any form of RGB lighting. Folks with a penchant for chromatic illumination may have to find their fix elsewhere.
Should you buy the Razer Wolverine V2?
- Buy it if you're looking for a high-end, customisable Xbox controller at a very good price.
- Don't buy it if you want the added versatility of rear paddles or bumpers.
The Razer Wolverine V2 is not only a marked improvement of its predecessors, but it's also quite simply one of the best Xbox controllers currently available. It's light and comfortable to hold, its mechanical switches are fast and responsive and it boasts a very attractive price tag compared to the competition.
There are only two knocks I can level against the controller. One: it lacks wireless functionality, and two: it features fewer multi-function buttons than its predecessors. Given the Wolverine V2's reasonable price tag, however, both issues are easy enough to overlook.
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