For anyone that has played fighting games at some point, whether it be the classics such as Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, or newer series such as Soul Calibur and Marvel vs Capcom, you will have used, owned or thought of owning an Arcade Fightstick of some sort. For readers unfamiliar with Fightsticks, it is supposed to give you the same feeling as playing at a real Arcade, these Arcades areÂ few and far between now but where super popular during the 80′s and 90′s.
Many fightsticks have been developed by Madcatz, this is the first stick where they have partnered up with Namco Bandai, and is retailed at $160/£150 which happens to be an extra $10 from their previous arcade stick, begging the question, is it worth the purchase?
The packaging the stick comes in looks great, this is not the sort of packaging you would want to throw out after you have un-boxed the product.The packaging is bright, vibrant and even features some characters from the game. Its something you would want to be on show, and would catch your eye if you were looking into buying the product from a brick and mortar store.
The stick itself is just as beautiful as the packaging, the artwork is an image of SoulEdge and SoulCalibur, Soul Edge has a red aura around the sword, while SoulCalibur has a blue aura around it, the colours then meet at the middle are merge together. The casing of the stick is also colour coordinated with the artwork of the stick, with the blue also matching SoulCalibur and red matching SoulEdge also. The sides of the sticks are also partially transparent so you can actually look inside the stick and see the components to a small degree. This is definitely the best looking Arcade Stick from Madcatz without a doubt and even if you dont like the look of the stick you can customize the top plate to something that fits your taste better. There is a slight difference is button colour as the PS3 buttons are all black whereas the Xbox 360 stick has 4 black buttons and four buttons corresponding to the colour of the Xbox controller.
This product really is a thing of beauty, you will love the look of it from the moment you open it and everyday you use it.
In true Madcatz fashion, the parts are manufactured by Sanwa, one of the best component retailers to date. The buttons are identical to those you would find in the arcade, they feel great, are super responsive and can also take a good button mashing for hours on end. In addition to the buttons you also, have the joystick itself, which is a Japanese-style ball identical to the Namco arcade Cabinet. The joystick is also very responsive and makes a very satisfying clicking noise when in use. I found myself clicking through the menus multiple times solely to hear the noise.
Situated at the top left of the stick is the turbo button configuration, a switch so you can choose between using the left or right analogue stick and directional pad, this is great for when you need to navigate through menus and certain PSN/XBLA titles only support specific control inputs. There is also a quick lock switch, which locks up certain buttons such as the start and select button so you do not accidental press them during any heated fights, this is great as accidentally trying to pause during an online game could cost you the round and could also count as a DQ during professionally play.
On the back of the stick is the aforementioned start and select buttons and a flip out compartment to store your 13FT USB cable, this way you can feed through the amount you need and not have excess wires trailing along the floor for people to trip up over, this is great but I did have a lot of trouble putting the cable back into the compartment once it had all been untravelled.
Overall the stick is great, but pricey. So much so that a lot of people can simple not afford it, but if you can I would certainly pay the extra $10/Â£10 just because of the great art work and how great it looks. It may not be worth upgrading if you have one of the previous Madcatz Arcade Sticks, but its a great purchase for a first time Fightstick user.