Considering that EVO ended a few days ago, I guess now’s a good time as ever to write and publish this review. For those who are not in the know, EVO is a fighting-game based eSport, with challengers from across the world fight in virtual arenas (TO THE DEATH!!!… well, not exactly), for both gold and glory. Each participant comes equipped with their own arcade stick, or in this case, “fightsticks”, and the Atrox is the first such product to come from the famed peripheral company. So, how does it fare?
The Atrox is an arcade stick that is compatible with the XBox 360 and by extension, a Windows PC. It goes with a standard 8-button layout, with your usual ball-top stick you find in arcade everywhere. If you look at the right side of the machine, you will find an additional two buttons for “Start” and “Select” respectively. So far, it matches its competition. But take a closer look, and you’ll find a few boons that will definitely appeal to folks looking to mod their setup.
The top left of the Atrox has a series of buttons and toggles that gives you some degree of customisation. The toggle with “LS”, “DP” and “RS” labels dictate what role the stick plays: either it emulates the left analog stick, right analog stick, or d-pad. the toggle below it locks or unlocks the “Start”, “Select”, “XBox Live” and Turbo functions. However, previously assigned Turbo functions will still work. This toggle is useful in preventing accidental presses of said buttons, and keeps you in the game without unnecessary interruptions. The eight small buttons correspond to each of the eight bigger buttons, each activating their Turbo function. Pressing once gives you 4x, and pressing it twice quickly doubles that speed. Sure, this will be banned in tournament play, but it could be useful for practice, or just plain fun when you’re on a lighthearted romp.
It should be noted that the buttons and stick are Sanwa Denshi parts, which are top-notch in the arcade stick world (if my “research” in the Shoryuken forums is anything to go by). They are both accurate and durable, capable of enduring even the most violent of button presses. If the standard XBox colour setup doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can replace them easily. How easy is “easily”? Read the next paragraph.
Pressing the Razer logo will get you access to the innards of the Atrox, with an arm on the left to keep the top from unexpectedly closing on you, similar to a car’s bonnet or trunk. Inside, you will find the USB cable, and considering the Atrox uses a proprietary connection, you would do well not to lose it. There is also a bat-top attachment, which appeals to the “Mortal Kombat” audience or the Western crowd in general (since their setups go with a bat-top – again, Shoryuken forums). A dual-headed screwdriver is found just above the bat-top, so you can dismantle the relevant parts if you feel like tinkering. Finally, each button is wired up tidily and a legend if provided, so if you want to change buttons, you just pluck the quick disconnects, eject the buttons, and just plug in the new ones. No hassle.
Like a lot of arcade sticks, you can unscrew the acrylic panel of the Atrox with the provided screwdriver and replace it with your own artwork. The same screwdriver can be used to unscrew the Sanwa stick should you want to replace it with a different one, or, if you use the flat head, attempt to replace the ball-top with the provided bat-top. Once you’ve done so, you can store the ball-top in the same compartment as the bat-top.
Since none of the MAX-IT employees have an XBox 360, I hooked it up to a PC running Windows 8. The computer recognised it as an XBox 360 controller, and everything went fine. Playing games like KoF XIII and Street Fighter was like playing in a real-life arcade, minus the awful second-hand cigarette smoke. Playing Raiden Legacy (available on gog.com) was also a top-notch, arcade-like experience. Configuring MAME was also relatively painless, only taking a few minutes to setup. Some emulators (*ahem*) do not play well with the Atrox, or XBox 360 controllers in general, so do your research.
The Razer Atrox is essentially an arcade stick on steroids. If you’re out for an arcade stick and don’t mind spending a bit more, the Atrox is your best bet.