The Razer Panthera (Amazon) builds upon the success of the Razer Atrox which was first released for the Xbox One back in 2013. It was also Razer’s first entry into the arcade stick market.
The Panthera has been built specifically with the PS4 in mind, with added support for PS3 and PC.
The Razer Panthera is one of the more expensive mid-range fightsticks on the market, but does that mean it’s also one of the best? Read on to find out.
Unboxing and set up – what’s in the box and how to set it up
Unboxing the Razer Panthera feels like I’m unboxing a premium product. It’s luxurious, to say the least, and nicely packaged.
After getting through the packaging you get a nice shiny new fightstick and Manual.
Setting up is a breeze as you only need to just plug in and play on PS3 and PS4. You can also play on PC which requires downloading some drivers.
The design and feel of the fightstick
The design of the Panthera is very nice indeed. Despite its plastic exterior, it feels quite premium. The base is metal with some useful rubber grips.
The face of the fightstick has a gloss finish which is nice but can potentially get scratched very easily.
The artwork is essentially just the Razer logo in blue with a cool smoke like effect. I like it. The only caveat is that the artwork can’t really be changed unless you add some sort of plexi mod. It’s a shame, as the fightstick is marketed as a ‘mod-friendly’ stick so it would have made sense for Razer to allow swapping out the artwork.
In terms of size, I would say it’s comparable to the Madcatz TE2 Fightstick. It’s a reasonable size, measuring 10.3 x 15 x 4.9 inches meaning it will fit quite comfortable on the lap. The sides are also sleek giving it a nice compact feel.
Along the top, you have a number of different switches which control a number of functions including toggling between playing on PS3 or PS4, another to control whether the joystick is a left stick, right stick or D-pad and another switch to disable the options and share buttons.
Next to these switches is also a PS4 touchpad, L3/R3 buttons and LED lights to indicate what player you are. On the right-hand side of the stick are the option and share buttons. I like that these aren’t placed next to the main action buttons to prevent accidentally hitting them. You can also disable them to add further reassurance.
What does it feel like to play?
The layout of the main buttons and joystick is the standard Viewlix arcade layout you would normally get. Because it’s a fairly large stick there’s plenty of space to rest my palms on the bottom edge of the stick. This makes it quite comfortable to hold.
The Panthera has some nice weight to it which, coupled with the rubber pads at the bottom, means it stays firmly on my lap when playing.
Speaking of playing, the Panthera has high-quality Sanwa parts which you should expect for a stick at his price. And it doesn’t disappoint. The joystick is a square gate and feels very responsive. There’s definitely less travel (the distance the joystick goes before going back to neutral) than other high-end sticks I’ve tried.
The buttons feel very responsive as well, similar to the Madcatz TE2 stick, although that’s not too surprising considering they both use Sanwa buttons.
I tested the capabilities of the fightstick on Tekken 7 and Street Fighter V. At first, it took some getting used to. The buttons feel a bit grippy which is probably because they’re new. After a while, however, I found my self pulling off combos with ease. In fact, it was like I had been playing on the Panthera for years, it felt very natural, very quickly.
I simply can’t fault the performance of the Razer Panthera. It pretty much ticks every box. It’s a lot like the Madcatz TE2 fightstick. However, unlike, the Madcatz stick, which has been discontinued. Razer is still supporting the Panthera.
If I had one little nitpick, it’s that you can’t turn the console on or off using the fightstick. Instead, you have to use a controller or turn it off by the console. A minor annoyance, but nothing to shout about.
Modding the Razer Panthera
Now for Panthera’s party trick. Razer built this fightstick with the modding enthusiast in mind so the inside is easily accessible for further customization.
The top of the fightstick simply pops open without any screwdrivers or special tools. I should mention that this isn’t the first stick to have this feature but it’s still nice to have. I like that the stick has this hydraulic style pump hinge when you open it which reinforces its premium design.
Inside you get a number of spacious compartment slots for a screwdriver(which is included), ball-top, and buttons. To my pleasant surprise, you also get a Korean style bat-top included in the actual fightstick. Changing the ball top is easy enough to do and took little effort.
I don’t think I will be heavily modding this fightstick anytime soon, but it’s nice to know that I easily and painlessly can if I want to
- Premium design
- High-quality Sanwa parts
- Comfortable to hold
- Highly responsive buttons and joystick
- Can easily be modded
- Spacious Internal storage compartments
- It’s expensive
- Can’t change the artwork easily
An arcade stick that pretty much ticks all the boxes. It’s a little expensive, but well worth the investment if you’re a serious player.