Razer Wolverine V2 Xbox Controller Review

Games

Xbox controller for next-gen. The Wolverine V2, an update of the 2017 Wolverine TE, goes well beyond adding the new Xbox Series X controller’s signature share button. It has a new look, a new shape, and an updated version of the tactile switches that give its buttons a unique, clicky feel. It’s still wired, aiming to minimize lag or missed inputs you might encounter via a wireless connection. It also drops one of its key features, a pair of rear paddles, and costs slightly less as a result. (The Wolverine V2 is $99.99, vs $119.99 for the Wolverine TE). Though it isn’t quite as feature-rich as it once was, the Wolverine V2 feels like a step forward for the design.

Razer Wolverine V2 Review

Razer Wolverine V2 – Design & Features

The Wolverine V2 is a stylish controller. The sides of the face are highlighted with Razer green piping. (Maybe it’s Xbox green? Take your pick, I guess). The handles are coated with thick, noticeably-textured rubberized grips. Like other Xbox gamepads, it looks somewhat squat, thanks to its long face and shorter handles, but the positions of the view and menu buttons, flared up on either side of the Xbox button, create more negative space on the face, which make the controller look bigger and bulkier.

Then again, at 6.31 x 4.5 x 2.25 inches (WDH), it is both wider and longer than the standard Xbox Series X gamepad. Despite being bigger, the Wolverine V2 is actually just a bit lighter than the Series X controller: Just 275 grams versus the Xbox gamepad’s 287 grams. For ergonomics’ sake, a wider controller is generally a good thing, assuming the buttons are all well-placed – you pull your arms together less, which reduces long-term strain on your shoulders and back.

In general, the Wolverine V2 feels comfortable to use for long stretches. It features what Razer calls an “L-shaped” grip, where the handles slant backward to fit comfortably in your hands. The grip, which was updated for the V2, guides the controller into a hand position where your thumbs can reach the analog sticks and your pointer fingers can reach all six of the top buttons without overextending.

Speaking of which, let’s talk about the extra buttons on the Wolverine V2. There are 21 buttons on the controller. (That includes the D-Pad, but not the directional functions of the analog sticks). That’s three more than the standard Series X/S gamepad. On the front, just below the share button, is an identically shaped button with a circle on it, which allows you to shift the game/chat audio mix. On top, there are two programmable “multi-function” buttons – M1 and M2 for short – which sit next to the left and right trigger, respectively. As the name suggests, you can set these to replace most of the buttons on the controller, in case you’d rather tap them with your pointer instead of your thumb.

This is technically a step back from the Wolverine TE, which had four “M” buttons; the same ones on the V2, plus two rear paddles on the back of the controller. Given how well the controller fits in-hand, I don’t really miss the paddles. Then again, I generally use them to supplement my controls, so I tend to think of them as extra buttons, rather than an ergonomic replacement for the face buttons: To those players, it may feel like a bigger loss.

Many of the standard buttons come with upgrades as well. The face buttons and D-Pad feature Razer’s “mecha-tactile” buttons, which function similarly to the mechanical switches they put in their keyboards. The mechanical switches give the buttons a pleasant click, which you can both hear and feel when you tap them. According to Razer, the mechanical buttons also actuate earlier than standard controller buttons. I can’t say that a quicker action has improved my game, but I really appreciate how each press feels.

On the back, there are a pair of trigger stop switches, which dramatically reduce the travel of the trigger, making it easier to tap and release them very quickly. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the locks: I prefer the longer, more comfortable trigger press. The shorter one feels, ironically, like pulling a locked door. Even though the input goes through, it feels like my finger’s stopped short. That said, competitive players will appreciate the ability to tap quickly with less uptime.

Lastly, we should talk about the Wolverine V2’s most polarizing feature, the cord. It’s a three-meter rubber cable with a break-away connector near the USB end. The cable was long enough for me to reach from a TV to my couch across the room without any hassle. That said, it’s worth noting that the Series X/S’ proprietary wireless connection added “Dynamic Latency Input,” which reduces lag and missed inputs. Though I haven’t noticed a significant change in my first few weeks with the Series X, it may make the wired connection here less of a necessity for competitive play.

Razer Wolverine V2 – Software

The Wolverine V2 has a limited capacity for customization on console and gaming PC, which you can access through the Razer Controller Setup for Xbox app. Through the app, you can customize four buttons – M1 and M2, the two added “multi-function” buttons, as well as the “view” and “menu” buttons. You can swap these to replicate most of the other inputs on the controller, but not every one.

You can also set a “sensitivity clutch,” which you can hold to temporarily shift the sensitivity of one or both analog sticks to enable quicker or more sensitive controls. Think of it as a controller-friendly version of the DPI-shifting “sniper” button on many gaming mice, including Razer’s own Basilisk line.

Even though the clutch is a nice extra touch for competitive players, the customization feels limited. Without the ability to change the full range of inputs, there’s only so much you can really do. The customization isn’t really “remapping,” but letting you choose between using the clutch and offloading a couple of inputs from the controller’s face to the top. For a console controller, any amount of customization is a boon but, given that Razer took the time to make an app, there’s certainly room for a wider range of options.

Razer Wolverine V2 – Gaming

The Wolverine V2’s comfortable and clicky buttons make for a really comfortable gaming experience. I didn’t develop any cramping or hand fatigue through several multi-hour sessions. I played through the entire Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War campaign in two sessions, about three hours apiece. The Wolverine V2 allowed for the snappy, precise shooting I aim for when playing Call of Duty from start to finish.

As with previous Wolverine gamepads, the mechanical buttons and d-pad are the signature feature. In Mortal Kombat 11, having a tactile click in the d-pad lets you know when you hit a direction, which is crucial for quickly knocking out specials, combos, and finishers. Across the board, it improves any game that relies on the face buttons, especially ones like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, which sometimes require quick, rapid tapping.

Xbox Wireless Controller (2020)

Razer Wolverine V2 – Purchasing Guide

The Razer Wolverine V2 controller for Xbox is available now for $99.99 through Razer’s digital store, as well as retailers like Amazon.

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