When Razer first announced their Atrox Arcade Stick for the Xbox One I gave it a hard time, mainly because the Xbox One only had one fighting game at the moment. Then I found something to do while I wait for more.
As far as the Xbox One is concerned, I consider the purchase of any arcade stick an investment in the future. Killer Instinct doesn't do it for me, but we've got Mortal Kombat X right around the corner, Dead or Alive 5: Last Round in the works and Street Fighter V is... oh, nevermind that last one.
What to do with a controller like the Atrox in the meantime? Remember back when arcade sticks were used for all arcade games and not just fighters? They still can be, to an extent. Games requiring dual analogs might be off the table, but otherwise... yeah, not much appeal there.
That leaves what I did with my Atrox Arcade Stick — I played PC fighters. More on that shortly.
What It Is
The Atrox Arcade Stick for the Xbox One is a medium-sized plastic box fitted with an arcade quality Sanwa joystick and arcade quality Sanwa buttons. It also features a removable USB cable, which can be used to connect to an Xbox One or PC (with the appropriate Windows driver) or stored inside the stick housing.
With the press of Razer's squidlike logo the top of the unit opens, revealing an area for cable storage, an extra bat-style control stick, a honeycombed bottom for easy mounting and — most importantly — access to button wires for quick and easy swapping, should the need arise.
What I Did With It
The first thing I did with the Atrox was halfheartedly paw at Killer Instinct on the Xbox One. I tried, really I did, but as much as I love shouting "C-C-C-Combo Breaker!", I just cannot enjoy that game. Maybe if had been released as a full experience rather than the snack-sized fighter I downloaded on the first day of Xbox One, but alas.
Since it's not the future yet, I switched to PC, where Steam's list of fighting games grows larger every year. I played Ultra Street Fighter IV, Skullgirls, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend and The King of Fighters XIII. And hey, remember that big game I mentioned earlier that isn't coming to Xbox One? It's coming to PC, so there's that.
I also put things inside of the Atrox housing that probably didn't belong there, and pondered changing out the top graphic with something more personal but couldn't make up my mind.
What I Liked
It's A Top-Quality Arcade Controller: Well it is. Solidly constructed and featuring those Sanwa Denshi parts all the arcade stick makers (other than Hori, for obvious reasons) seem to love. The Atrox is pretty solid for a product with a hollow to it, and it stands up well to the sort of beating a large man desperately trying to win a round of Ultra Street Fighter IV can give. I'm seriously surprised it didn't shatter into a million pieces.
It's Easy To Modify: Opening hydraulically with the press of the button, the insides of the Atrox give players easy access to the joystick controller, button wires and really that's all anyone need concern themselves with. The unit includes a little screwdriver that fits neatly in a little slot for storage. I tried removing wires and putting them back where they belonged, and nothing exploded. Easy enough for me.
You Can Hide LEGO Figures Inside Of It: Actually, one can hide a wide variety of things inside the Razer Atrox. Small action figures, pieces of candy, plants no longer requiring light, prescription medication and so on. Other arcade sticks simply take up space when I'm not using them. This one is space as well.
You Can Take Off The Cord And Hide That Too: A cord that breaks away to keep folks from tripping over it is fine. A cord that can be removed from the system entirely and stowed inside so the controller doesn't look like it's being constricted by an exceptionally slender snake while not in use is even better. I like keeping such things on display, just in case someone mistakes me for a world-class fighting game champ, which never happens.
What I Didn't Like
A Bit Of Give To The Lid: While solid enough for a hollow box, the Razer Atrox is still a hollow box with a plastic lid, and should you apply enough pressure it will give more than a more solid controller. This annoyed me at first, but I eventually learned to live with it. It's the price I pay for being able to hide things.
I Closed It On My Skin: You know the web of skin between your thumb and forefinger? Keep those clear of the box when closing the Atrox lid. I've caught myself a couple times now, and boy it smarts. This is less a Razer problem and more a "me trying to look like a secret agent while closing the box" problem.
My Final Word
The Xbox 360 is on its last legs, and while there are still plenty of fine fighting games to play on it, the newer, shinier ones will be coming to the Xbox One. That's what I kept telling myself when weighing the pros and cons of getting the $US199.99 Atrox for the Xbox One instead of the $US199.99 Atrox for the Xbox 360.
Since they're essentially the same hardware and both work on the PC (though the Xbox One version isn't officially supported), it all comes down to what games you are playing on which system and when.
Once those questions are answered, the Atrox comes highly recommended. It's an excellent arcade stick that's easily reconfigured and packed with little extra features. And LEGO people.