You're not logged in | Login / Register | News Filter | Submit News

Dragon Ball FighterZ Razer Panthera fightstick review: a controller worth using a wish on

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • July 7, 2018 at 1:13 p.m. PDT • Comments: 14

Dragon Ball FighterZ has been making large waves since its release back in January of this year. Bandai Namco / Arc System Works' 3v3 fighting title is a big hit among casual and hardcore gaming fans alike.

The popularity of this fighting game and the Dragon Ball series in general resulted in Razer giving Dragon Ball FighterZ the fightstick treatment. The Razer Panthera (on PlayStation 4) and Atrox (on Xbox One) brings fans a high-end arcade stick fully equipped with an appearance that is going to have you calling upon Shenron just to wish one into your life.

Razer recently gave me the opportunity to check out the new Dragon Ball FighterZ Panthera fightstick. Having never owned a Razer fightstick myself, I was pleasantly surprised with what I experienced.

The Dragon Ball FighterZ Razer Panthera and Atrox will run you $219.99 USD each (though they're out of stock on Razer's website at the time of writing this). But is it worth the price tag?

First, let's talk components. The Dragon Ball FighterZ Panthera comes equipped with 10 "tournament-grade," authentic Sanwa buttons and a Sanwa joystick. It also comes packed with a detachable braided chord that comes in at just under 10 feet long (9.84 ft.).

Also included is a rubber base along the bottom of the fightstick that feels good and prevents slipping, as well as the PlayStation 4 touch pad on the front of the controller -- which as we've discussed in previous reviews is helpful in fighting games for its ability to reset positions in training mode. Oh, and the Panthera not only works on PlayStation 4, but it is also compatible with PlayStation 3 and PC.

Razer Dragon Ball FighterZ Panthera fightstick image #1 Razer Dragon Ball FighterZ Panthera fightstick image #2 Razer Dragon Ball FighterZ Panthera fightstick image #3 Razer Dragon Ball FighterZ Panthera fightstick image #4
Click images for larger versions

Right out of the box, the Panthera's buttons and stick feel great. As a player who prides himself on big, stylish combos and complicated inputs, I can say Razer's Dragon Ball FighterZ stick handles everything I can throw at it with flying colors.

Inputs are tight and precise on the Sanwa joystick, and the buttons on this controller feel a little bit heavier than the Sanwa OBSF-30s currently in my Qanba Dragon, but that doesn't noticeably compromise play and actually gives a sense of durability to the hardware.

One of the biggest draws for this peripheral, though, is its looks. Boy, does this stick look fantastic.

The Dragon Ball FighterZ artwork laid across the face plate is accentuated by easily my favorite part of the fightstick (and probably yours as well) -- the Dragon Ball-style buttons. The eight Sanwa pushbuttons here are orange with a gradual fade to yellow at the center and are designed to look like one of the seven Dragon Balls seen in the series. From the one-star to the seven-star, each ball is included here and the eight button comes in at a solid orange to keep with the theme.

The stick's bezel around the artwork is black, while the casing itself is orange. All together, the Dragon Ball FighterZ Panthera is sleek, unique, and will undoubtedly make any longtime Dragon Ball Z fan happy.

"One of the biggest draws for this peripheral, though, is its looks. Boy, does this stick look fantastic."

For someone who plays fighters for long periods of time, the size and weight of a fightstick is very important. Luckily, the Dragon Ball FighterZ Panthera is great in both departments. weighing it at around 7.5 lbs and measuring roughly 15" x 9.5," making it a comfortable ride for extended play time and easy to transport.

The Dragon Ball FighterZ Panthera also makes it a point to be easily customizable for those who want to switch out their arcade-style parts. The fightstick's case opens up with the push of a button, and the inside gives you quick access to the joystick and buttons, as well as a double-sided screwdriver tool to make changing your parts a snap.

It doesn't appear that this easy customization applies to the fightstick's artwork, however, as it seems like getting your own look on the face plate might be a challenge. That having been said, I don't see myself wanting to change out the artwork (or the buttons for that matter) any time soon.

As far as my gripes with this arcade controller go, they're minimal and fall more on the side of nitpicky for me.

The detachable cable plugs into the Panthera by way of a connector that locks into the five small pins within the stick itself (similar to what you'd see on the Mad Catz T.E. 2). Once connected properly, you can lock the cable into place by screwing down the outer piece (with your fingers), which makes for a strong connection, but it feels like this part sticks out a bit too much (even when screwed in) and raises the risk of accidental breaking or damage.

Dragon Ball FighterZ Panthera cable image #1
Click images for larger versions

As I mentioned previously, this is more of a personal gripe and doesn't cause any major issues when using this stick, but it's something that I'd like to see improved with future products.

Outside of that, the side-loaded Start and Share buttons led to several accidental presses -- especially when adjusting the stick's position while playing. Seeing them on the top panel of the casing would have been more ideal, but you are able to lock these buttons by flipping a switch on the front of the Panthera though that can become a hindrance when you're trying to mash Start in between rounds.

Pros:

+ Sanwa buttons and stick feel great, perfect for high-level play
+ Visually unique and beautiful, orange casing and Dragon Ball buttons are an excellent touch
+ Nice size and weight provides comfortable play for long periods of time
+ Easy to access insides making customization easy
+ Ample storage space within the fightstick

Cons:

- Cable connector sticks out fairly far raising risk of a potential break
- Side-loaded Start and Share buttons can make for accidental presses (though locking helps)

Verdict: It was really tough for me to find faults with Razer's Dragon Ball FighterZ Panthera fightstick. It looks great, feels great -- both in parts and in overall comfortability -- and has easily become my weapon of choice when running sets.

The $220 price tag may deter some folks, but being only $20 more than the standard Razer Panthera fightstick and not that much more expensive than competitor arcade sticks on the market right now, it's hard not to recommend this one for those in search of a premium fightstick.

If you're a Dragon Ball FighterZ fan or a fan of Dragon Ball Z in general, this might be the stick for you.

Load comments (14)