The idea of a “pro” gaming controller might still be alien to some, but with the advent of big-name entries into the market like the Xbox Elite Series 2 and the PlayStation DualSense Edge controller, it’s certainly feeling like a growing sector. Razer’s no stranger to the concept, having released more than a few pro-level controllers in the past, but the Wolverine V2 Pro – an officially licenced, wireless premium controller for the PS5 – might just be its boldest yet. And at an RRP of $475.95, it’s most expensive.
I’ve been putting the Razer Wolverine V2 Pro through its paces recently, in an effort to try to decipher whether or not that’s an appropriate amount of money to pay for this thing.
I’m hesitant to start making direct comparisons to PS5’s DualSense Edge controller this soon, but right off the bat the unboxing experience of the Razer Wolverine V2 Pro felt a little flat in comparison to Sony’s $150-cheaper alternative. Where that pad came packed inside an attractive and sturdy carrying case, complete with a 2.8m braided cable, a cable lock, four thumbstick caps and removable back paddles, Razer’s new controller sits in some protective foam with a 1.4m cable, the required wireless receiver and just two thumbstick caps.
Luckily once you’ve got the controller in-hand it’s clear that this is a well-made bit of kit. It’s surprisingly light for its size, especially compared to the rather dense Edge, but it feels sturdy and nicely finished with a matte body and textured grips that seem like they’ll hold up well to long-term use. I did notice that a couple of the rear switches on my review unit were loose enough that there was a consistent, audible ‘shake’ to them that occasionally wormed its way into my ear holes but hopefully that’s an exception rather than the norm. Asymmetrical thumbsticks are definitely a personal preference that may make or break the decision for some, but it’s definitely nice to have an option like this on the market.
Crucially, the buttons on the Wolverine V2 Pro feel fantastic to play with. The mechanical “Mecha-Tactile” face, shoulder and d-pad buttons have a wonderful, clicky press that not only actuates at lightning speeds but is genuinely addictive to use, basically emulating the responsive, tactile mouse clicks that PC players enjoy. The 8-way microswitch d-pad’s delightful clickiness makes it feel far more accurate and responsive than what just about any other controller offers. The triggers and analogue sticks are maybe a little less exciting to use, but both at least offer some degree of customisation with short-distance trigger stops that you can change individually on each and the aforementioned interchangeable thumbstick caps.
It’s hard to really gauge whether or not Razer’s Wolverine V2 Pro made me a better player while I was using it (the bar is so low that the science is just too unclear), I definitely felt like it could help me get better by pushing up the ceiling of performance. I’m not entirely convinced of the positioning of its two added shoulder buttons and four, neatly arranged back buttons for someone with small hands like myself but it’s more extra buttons than most. I do think that Hall Effect sensors in the thumbsticks would have been a superior inclusion and helped to justify the asking price, but they’re sadly not here.
And while most veteran players would argue that wired play is still the way to go, Razer’s argument in its HyperSpeed wireless connection is definitely a feasible alternative and it’s as easy as plugging the included USB receiver into the front or back ports on your PS5 and turning the controller on. Something the Wolverine V2 Pro can boast as a massive advantage over the DualSense family of controllers, including the Edge, is a battery that’ll last you more than one Destiny 2 raid. Battery life is rated at 10 hours with Chroma lighting on or a huge 28 hours with it off, and in my use I can corroborate that as being fairly spot-on. If your controller’s stamina is of any concern, this is a marked improvement and a major selling point in my eyes.
One big, on-the-box feature that can comfortably account for a portion of the asking price of the Wolverine V2 Pro is the official PlayStation licensing. Though, in practice this means far less than I was hoping. For a controller built in collaboration with PlayStation it’s disappointing that there’s no haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, built-in speaker or gyroscope – nothing that the competitive market it caters to would or should care about but all features the DualSense Edge still possesses. More annoyingly, the controller can’t be used to turn the PS5 console on – you’ll have to do that manually or through a HDMI-CEC compatible TV.
Since I’ve amassed a glut of PS5 controllers, I inevitably decided that I’d enjoy using the Wolverine V2 Pro with my PC – something that can easily be done by popping the HyperSpeed USB receiver into a free port and toggling the controller to “PC” mode on the back. After Windows recognised it, I jumped into the same Razer Synapse software I use to customise all of the other Razer peripherals plugged into my PC to start setting it up and customising it… only to find out I couldn’t do that.
Instead, any tweaks you want to make to the controller’s mappable buttons, performance or Chroma RGB lighting need to be done by syncing it up to the Razer Controller app on iOS or Android. Having to download an entirely separate app just to tweak a few settings felt like a step too far when Razer has an integrated ecosystem already, but I can definitely appreciate being able to do it from my phone if I’m, say, gaming in my lounge room or bringing the controller to a local tournament. So more choices would be nice, but the one available method is a good one.
In the Razer Controller app, you’re able to set up to four customisable profiles that can then be saved to the Wolverine V2 Pro itself and switched on the fly using a multifunction key underneath the PlayStation/power button. These profiles can contain settings for basic thumbstick sensitivity, the mapping of the two extra shoulder buttons and four back buttons and a single zone of Chroma RGB lighting. It’s a pretty barebones setup and definitely falls far short of competing controllers, plus it’s kind of a kick in the teeth that the example image of a Wolverine V2 Pro with Chroma RGB used right within the app suggests multi-zone lighting is a thing when it definitely is not.
And that’s the overall experience with Razer’s new PS5-licenced pro controller in a nutshell, really. What’s here is good, even great, with a premium build and comfort, good connectivity and some incredibly satisfying and responsive button switches making it a controller aimed squarely at pro players and absolutely nailing those fundamentals. At just shy of $500 though, it’s missing far too many features to recommend it over something like the DualSense Edge for those just wanting a flashier pad with all the bells and whistles.
The Razer Wolverine V2 Pro is a great-feeling and incredibly performant pro controller for both PlayStation and PC that seasoned players will definitely appreciate, but for everyone else there are too many cut corners and compromises to justify its massive price tag, especially when Sony's own alternative is cheaper and better in many ways.
A "pro" PlayStation controller with asymmetrical sticks
Mechanical buttons and d-pad are fast and feel amazing
Battery life is a massive step above PlayStation's alternative