A very good place to start: Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite Razer Panthera arcade stick review

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • August 29, 2018 at 6:45 p.m. PDT

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite may not have made the waves that Capcom had hope for, but there was still buzz about the title at this year's E3 for something other than the game when Razer and Capcom first showed off their official Marvel Panthera arcade stick.

This new arcade stick from Razer is now available worldwide after launching in Europe earlier this Summer, and the peripheral company recently gave me the opportunity to test out and try the new controller for myself.

Players have been showing us for years now that pad players can perform just as well as stick players, but I had been looking for the chance to change over from pad for quite a while now. I finally got my chance and can say that I'm quite pleased with the Razer Panthera as a first time stick owner.

For the stick's specifications, it comes with 10 black "tournament-grade" Sanwa buttons, a Sanwa joystick with ball top, a 13-foot / four-meter detachable screw-lock USB cable, a touchpad for PlayStation 4 use, L3 and R3 buttons on top, PlayStation 3 support and a lock switch for the Start / Options and Select / Share buttons.

The MvCI Panthera weighs about seven pounds and comes with its own screwdriver to make modding simpler. It currently retails for $219.99 USD or €239.99.

You can check out the official images for the Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite Panthera in the gallery below and my full impressions of the stick after the jump.

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite Razer Panthera image #1 Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite Razer Panthera image #2 Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite Razer Panthera image #3 Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite Razer Panthera image #4
Click images for larger versions

The big draw of this stick over others — and specifically other Panthera sticks — is the Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite artwork showing all of the protagonists featured on the stick referencing a classic piece of MvC art, and it looks great for the most part. It does look a bit faded and not as vibrant as the stock images show which I'm not sure is caused by the clear plastic casing on top of the stick or if it's the art itself.

Having all of the characters revolving around the actual joystick was a great choice and creates a really cool effect on the left-hand side of the stick. The main artwork itself only covers about two-thirds or three-fourths of the space on the top of the stick which leaves it feeling a bit lopsided in terms of visual design. It would have been cool to see some villains like Jedah and Ultron Sigma included to fill that space perhaps.

The large Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite logo in the bottom right does stand out quite a bit and can be a bit distracting, but it's standard to the other licensed Razer sticks that are currently available.

Upon first taking the Panthera stick out of the box and placing it upon my lap, I thought it was a bit too light and prone to moving, but after playing with it for three nights, the weight has caused zero issues beyond slight adjustments. The rubber bottom on the case of the stick also keeps it firmly planted wherever you place it and feels like it won't ever slip unless you put all of your weight into your dashes.

The buttons are your standard Sanwa fare from what I've played on other sticks which is good, and it feels good to play. Switching over from pad though, I feel the buttons can be a little "soft" to press down. They are also a glossy black like the rest of the stick outside of the artwork which makes me feel like it's a missed opportunity to not have buttons and a stick that represent the Infinity Stones with colored buttons or the like similar to the Dragon Ball FighterZ Panthera stick.

" The buttons are a glossy black like the rest of the stick outside of the artwork which makes me feel like it's a missed opportunity to not have buttons and a stick that represent the Infinity Stones with colored buttons or the like similar to the Dragon Ball FighterZ Panthera stick."

The Sanwa stick also feels good though I often find myself screwing the ball top on tighter for a slightly better grip. It has the standard square-gate joystick which is very different to get used to coming off of mostly playing from a d-pad before. I wasn't sold on it after the first night, but after another night of play, it felt much more natural to play and hit combos. It's still a work in progress of course.

With a press of the Razer logo-covered button, the case will open up to reveal a lot of empty space with spots to store your cable, joystick and screwdriver plus still have room for like three ham sandwiches or something. The wires are neatly organized and color coded with a legend on the underside of the face plate which is a nice touch.

Obviously, I know next to nothing about stick modding at the moment, but just looking at the internals and how it's set up makes me think that even I could figure out how to swap out buttons almost instantly.

I've spent about three long sessions worth of time with the stick as of writing this, and I plan to do many more. As a player planning to switch over to stick from pad for titles like Street Fighter, I felt that linking together normals was much easier after switching to the stick though finishing those combos with specials became a new challenge.

Some muscle memory and timing will carry over with a change like this, but many things will need to be entirely re-learned which won't happen overnight. After my first play session, my wrists were hurting quite badly. I've since been trying to use my fingers more to move instead of my wrist which helps drastically.

Having the touchpad and L3 and R3 buttons on top of the controller also feels really helpful for hitting the training room and setting up presets. Players will need to remember to switch on the button lock once they're in real matches though because the placement of the Options and Share buttons on the side feel like they're just asking for an accidental press or bump.

The wire feels secure once screwed in, but feels like it should "click into place before screwing it on instead of just sitting on there. The connectors and cable feel nice, however.

Overall, the Razer Panthera feels like a solid stick all around for people looking to switch or players looking to update their hardware. Given the $20 markup compared to most other Panthera models, this Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite arcade stick is more likely geared only towards the big MvC fans out there.

For a more in-depth review of the Razer Panthera, check out Dreamking's review of the Dragon Ball FighterZ model of the arcade stick.

Pros:

+ The artwork design and concept is great for fans of the series
+ Sanwa buttons and stick feel good to play
+ Large amount of storage space
+ Easy to mod
+ Touchpad and extra buttons

Cons:

- Art looks slightly faded
- Cable connector feels a bit out of place
- More expensive than other models

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