Here we have the latest version of Razer‘s arcade stick, the Razer Panthera Evo. For the fighting game enthusiasts and competitors, this certainly is something that should be on your radar…
The design has been changed, and new custom components have been added to this stick compared to the previous Razer Panthera. What’s important is: is it satisfying to play with?
Here’s what Razer has to say about the Razer Panthera Evo’s tech specs at a glance:
- Pushbuttons with Razer™ Mechanical Switches
- Artwork and color customization
- 3.5 mm analog headset compatible for PS4
- 8-button Vewlix style layout & Sanwa lever
- 9.8 ft / 3 m hard wired cable
Before diving in to the goods, take a look at that crisp box design. Nothing especially loud, bringing with it a sense of class of its own. Inside the box will be a manual as well as instructions for setting up. You can just hook it up and it should be all ready to go! If you’re playing a game not from Steam, you can simply install the drivers off Razer.
The basic design of the Razer Panthera Evo is the same as the original, but with a few exceptions. The outer plastic and metal remains on the bottom, with a few strips of anti-slip rubber. The top part is where all the pertinent things are, all the buttons neatly lined to the right side of the box. The Panthera Evo utilizes the same glossy finish as its predecessor and comes with the same caveats: it can be easy to leave scratch or fingerprint marks.
The most major difference would be on the buttons and the joystick, now with more space to rest your palm, increased slant and with an indent for your wrist. The shape makes the Razer Panthera Evo much more comfortable than the original. The overall surface area is much larger too, even though the Evo is the same size as the original Panthera. For those who have the original Panthera, the Evo’s lighter and takes up more room on the legs. As noted though, it’s got grips on the bottom side, so this shouldn’t be a problem.
The design has a large blue Razer logo, with an acrylic plastic base for its cover. If you fancy your custom design, or just want something different, you can print out a template and start customizing! Razer’s even provided template designs you can utilize that you can readily swap out.
The Razer Panthera Evo also now has a headphone port! This includes two for your games, and one for microphone audio, so you’re definitely not going to be missing out on your tells.
The main buttons have been shifted to the top right and adjusted accordingly, with more room and comfort. You have the touch pad, PS button, L3 and R3 buttons, a lock/unlock slider and the speaker/microphone off/on buttons. There are two dedicated buttons to the side especially handy for PS4 players, as they’re the easily accessible Options and Share buttons!
The Razer Panthera Evo no longer primarily uses Sanwa buttons, and are instead replaced by Razer’s own Vewlix mechanical buttons, similar to the ones used on their keyboards. Sanwa fans may want to test it out for themselves to feel the difference, but besides that, if you’re not picky about the precise brand used, it’s as responsive as you need them to be, so in that way, there would be zero issue. It’s faster than its predecessor, just to sway you further into getting this.
After all that, it’s time to dive into games to actually give the Razer Panthera Evo a fair shake. Breaking it out on Street Fighter V Champion Edition, using the stick itself isn’t any issue. The control schemes only show the movement of the stick and button presses, so it might be more difficult for non-regular FGC players to parse which button corresponds to what. Granted, if you got the stick, then you’re more than likely already more familiar with the controls, which the stick will readily register with, if at all, minimal delay.
Time for practice then! For Ryu as an example, using the Hadouken requires you to flick the stick to the right and hit either triangle or square to launch it. At full bar, rotate that stick twice for a more powerful Hadouken! Utilizing the stick is easy and smooth with no hitches, and the button presses are registered equally swiftly.
Next on the deck is Mortal Kombat 11, for a nice time with Spawn. Unfortunately, the stick doesn’t seem to flow as well for MK11, with the DualShock feeling much more natural instead due to the prompts using the directional pad on the native controller instead of a fight stick. If you are a player who’s already used to playing with the stick, then there would be no problem, as the movements themselves are highly responsive. It’s probably just something to gradually get comfortable with.
Customizing the design is easy, especially if you’re using the templates provided by Razer. If it’s regarding changing out the stick or buttons, that’s not an issue either. It’s easy to swap them out, and there’s compartments on the Panthera Evo itself to tuck away cables to keep your setup looking neat. There’s a rubber tie too, so you can be sure that wire won’t be going everywhere.
For ease of customization, the original Razer Panthera is better in that regard as you can just pop it open, while the Evo variant requires a screwdriver. Still though, for overall improvements and actual mileage and use, the Razer Panthera Evo is great, especially with the additions of microphone and headphone ports for even more convenience. Check it out for yourselves if you’re interested in getting it!