Sony is just days away from releasing its very own pro controller for the PS5, the DualSense Edge, and while that particular product has become controversial due to Sony's announcement of a slightly lower battery life, it's also the first time that the tech and gaming giant isn't just leaning on trusty third parties to produce accessories for their platform - now they're getting in on the action themselves.
So what does this mean for a manufacturer like Razer, who have just released an updated version of their Wolverine Pro for the PlayStation 5 in particular? Well, it means that its features need to be seen in relation to the DualSense Edge.
And it just starts out really, really bad. Not only is the Wolverine V2 Pro more expensive than the DualSense Edge measured by the recommended market price ($199 versus $249), you get a lot less with it over at Razer. There's no travel case, no place to store the cable, no charging mechanism like Microsoft's Xbox Elite Series 2 - you even only get two extra surfaces for your analog sticks. Not two sets. Just two.
So that's just bold enough when we're talking about a product that's very much about customisation and individual tweaking of something to make you better at games, and ensure a more satisfying experience overall.
That's not to say the Wolverine V2 Pro doesn't have some good cards up its sleeve. For those who think analog sticks should be offset, like over at Xbox, they can find that here, and both Chroma lighting and a better D-pad with eight separate mecha clicks are immensely satisfying to use. On the whole, the controller's face buttons are mechanical too, and are then more responsive than those of competing controllers.
But there are problems here too. The shorter grips mean that the controller is placed much further forward in the hands, especially if you have large ones like the underside. It may be that in shorter sessions this is more accurate, and ensures a more forward pose, but it also makes the controller downright uncomfortable to use for long periods at a time. On the other hand, it makes it easy to reach the total of six programmable buttons, which are fairly easy to remap via Razer's dedicated app. Those buttons can't be removed, though, like on an Xbox Elite Series 2, and are also plastic,
Razer is also proud of their HyperTriggers, which is marketing slang for the fact that the two triggers can either be opened or closed, a fairly simple concept that is preferable if you don't want a gradual press, but the immediacy of that one R2 button in a shooter is... well, eye-opening. But again; unlike the Xbox Elite Series 2 there are only two settings; fully open and fully closed, and there's not nearly as much travel, that is distance between the top and bottom of a given press as on a regular DualSense, or presumably DualSense Edge.
We're not quite done yet, because like YourSixStudios, I also experienced a slightly hefty deadzone in games like Call of Duty: Warzone and Apex Legends, where I had to press the analog stick longer than usual before the controller detected a movement. The problem wasn't as such a dealbreaker, but just that it exists, even with the latest firmware, is perhaps enough.
The controller is beautifully put together, no doubt about that, and there are a lot of clever little touches here and there that ooze Razer ingenuity. But when the big mute button only manages to mute a local jack-based headset, and not a wireless one like you can with the regular DualSense? Ouch. Combine that with the lack of vibration and haptic feedback on the triggers, and this is just a bizarre set of compromises that's more expensive than the key competitors.
Otherwise, thanks Razer.