Razer sticking its hands in every gaming-adjacent cookie jar has produced interesting products like this energy gum or these finger sleeves. This diversification, if you will, fortunately hasn’t stopped the gaming company from making performance gear like the new Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma.
The new $149.99 wired controller is an upgraded version of last year’s Wolverine V2. Though the naming of both of these devices is maddeningly similar, the new Wolverine V2 Chroma is pricier, with a more robust feature set for serious gamers, and Razer Chroma RGB, of course.
Designed to give gamers a competitive advantage, the Wolverine V2 is faster and more responsive than a regular Xbox Series X controller in almost every way thanks to hardware and software customizations. It sounds a lot like Microsoft’s Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, but Razer has added unique touches that may edge out the expensive Elite controller for high-end tournament play. For the regular consumer, both controllers are overkill, but if you find yourself wondering if it’s the latency, and not your lack of skill, that ended with your death during a match, then Razer’s wired controller makes that question irrelevant. No more Johns, bro.
Wired up — Yes, it seems wild that a wired controller costs $150 in the year 2021, but wired controllers don’t have input lag. When you’re clicking heads for a living, as professional players do, milliseconds matter, and it’s why you see pros resorting to wired controllers time and time again. Wired connections are inconvenient when you’re looking to get in few quick matches, but at least you don’t have to worry about batteries, charging, or dropped connections. On the Wolverine V2 Chroma, the USB-C cable can be detached for easier storage. As someone whose cats have ruined devices by chewing through cables, this is an extremely underrated feature since you can simply replace it with another.
Similar to the previous Wolverine V2 model, the new Chroma upgrade comes with Razer’s Mecha-Tactile buttons for the four face buttons (A,B,X,Y) and the D-pad. The tactile switches are similar to what Razer uses in its line of gaming mice, a product that Razer built its name on. Contrary to modern controllers that rely on conductive rubber membrane pads to activate inputs, the tactile switches are a clicky, physical component under the button. The switches have a 0.65mm travel distance, and Razer claims they provide a 10-millisecond actuation time that is faster than two leading competitors. (Unsurprisingly, the competitors are not named, which would make the bold claim more believable.) Unlike membranes that tend to wear out over time, the switches have a 3 million tap life cycle, according to Razer.
Just like you like it — The Wolverine V2 Chroma has an additional six buttons that can be programmed via the app. The two extra buttons beside the triggers are carried over from the previous model, but Razer brought back the four paddles under the controller, a feature last seen on the Wolverine Ultimate controller.
The circular D-pad is similar to the one found on the Xbox Elite controller, and the more fluid movement should prove useful for fighting games. Unlike the Wolverine TE, you can’t change out the D-pad, but the thumbsticks are fair game and are included with the controller. The Wolverine V2 Chroma controller also uses Razer’s “Hair Trigger” mode, which changes the travel distance of the triggers by sliding over the switches under the controller.
As is always the case with Razer products, RGB is an inevitability that has reached the Wolverine V2 Chroma — the previous model did not have RGB. The Chroma RGB consists of a curved line on either side of the controller, of which the color, brightness, and pattern can be configured via the Razer Controller Setup app. The app is available on Windows and Xbox and it’s not just for changing the lighting to match your other peripherals.
The app is where you can really get into the weeds with your setup. Want to change the jump button to one of the paddles? Why not. And you can have different button and lighting setups per game. You can also tweak the sensitivity of the and adjust the vibration to suit your play style.
Better build quality? — If you’re looking for a high-end controller for playing competitive shooters, the Xbox Elite Wireless Series is a first-party solution. However, it’s not as reliable as it should be, especially when it costs $179. The controller has been plagued with faulty build quality since its first iteration, and users are still complaining about serious issues like stick drift. It’s not a very reliable gamepad, but the Wolverine V2 Chrome emulates it almost exactly for about $30 less and maybe doesn’t suffer from the same issues.
It’s too early to make a verdict on build quality, but with Xbox’s pro controller still giving people headaches, it may be a gamble worth taking. You still get the extra inputs, adjustable thumbsticks, and configurable app, but, on top of that, you get faster tactile switches that won’t crap out on you and a wired connection that won’t add latency to your inputs. Of course, if you care about looks, the RGB should appeal to you, and if you don’t, everything else probably will.