The Panthera is only Razer’s first Playstation specific fightstick, but Razer did an excellent job with most everything that has to do with it. For the most part, the Panthera is a slam dunk that improves upon the Atrox XBox arcade stick that the Panthera is based on.
Aesthetics and Build Quality
The Razer Panthera’s design is aesthetically mostly the same as the Atrox. The only striking difference between the two models is that the Atrox is green and the Panthera is blue.
Overall, the Panthera has a pretty orthodox design for a fightstick. It’s a sturdy plastic box with eight 30mm buttons, a joystick, and a top panel with all the standard buttons and a touchpad. On the top there’s some Razer logo artwork that you can’t really do anything to replace. Interestingly, the ‘start’ and ‘select’ buttons are situated on the right side of the fightstick, probably a design choice that was meant to prevent buttons being accidentally pressed during gameplay.
The Panthera does look worse in real life than it does in Razer’s promo pics. It’s not a cheap piece of crap, but the entire thing is made out of the same glossy black plastic — which is a little disappointing for a fightstick that costs $200 MSRP. Qanba’s premium fightsticks definitely win over the Panthera in a design contest.
Despite the slightly disappointing build quality, the Panthera features a ton of design and quality improvements over the Atrox. The opening mechanism on the Panthera is a lot more reliable than the one on the Atrox and Panthera USB cable is much much better than the weird proprietary crap on the Atrox that had a terrible reliability reputation.
Though the only way you can change the artwork on the Panthera is to cover it with a skin, the Panthera redeems itself with being one of the most mod-friendly fightsticks out there.
All you need to do to open up the Panthera is to press on the Razer logo button on the front of the fight stick. The Panthera actually has two opening mechanisms for some reason — both a small gas strut and spring loaded hinges. It’s probably a little over-engineered in this regard, but it is so satisfying looking at the pneumatics system work every time you open the box.
The internals of the fightstick are very simple and easy to work with, with color coded wires and easily removable buttons.
The box even has a screwdriver for modding in case you are in the 1% of the population that doesn’t have a philips head screwdriver somewhere in your house.
The Panthera has ten Sanwa buttons and also a Sanwa JLF joystick. A lot of what you’re paying for in the arcade stick are the superior Sanwa components. There doesn’t need to be much explanation about how high quality and precise Sanwa components feel.
As with other Razer fight sticks, the Panthera is only guaranteed to work on the PS4 and PS3. It should also work with PC, but some PC games won’t recognize it and it’s an absolute pain to go through the process of getting it to work on PC perfectly.
Despite it’s flaws, the most glaring one being it’s compatibility woes with the PC, the Razer Panthera fixed almost all the errors that preventing the Atrox from being a great XBox fightstick.
The Razer Panthera is one of the best fightsticks on the market today, but it doesn’t come at a cheap price. $200 is a lot of money for what is basically just a big controller. But if you’re really dedicated to fighting games, it’s a good investment to make.
Overall Score: 89/100