I love playing fighting games like Tekken X Streetfighter, Skull Girls and Vitua Fighter and all the rest, only I often find playing online that I just get my bottom kicked by some dedicated 10 year old who’s been playing since birth!
“How do you shorten the odds?” I thought, then in a flash of inspiration it came to me, get a fightstick!
Now to the uninitiated, a fightstick is a box containing a row of buttons and a knob, remember the old arcade versions of Streetfighter etc. A fightstick is the control panel layout on one of those.
Tell you what folks this is a must have accessory if you want to be a serious contender online. I could not believe the difference it makes to the whole experience ,plus you stand a bit more of a chance against some of these cocky little 10 year olds that keep opening a tin of “kick bottom” on you. There is no greater feeling than mashing away on your buttons , kicking ten bells out of some opponents character. I must admit my chances improved dramatically, and I actually won a couple of rounds against some tough opponents.
So I went on a quest to find the best fightsticks both similar in spec and price and here is what I found.
First off we have the Soul Calibur V Fighstick from Japanese company HORI. Now this company always makes solid well-built accessories and this item is no exception, its 16.9 inches long by 10.6 inches wide so it isn’t small and weighing in at 6.4 lbs its pretty solid.
The cable is a respectable 9.8 ft long which is more than adequate and this stores away nicely in a little compartment in the front.
There are endless button configurations available so customising it to your own style is easy enough.
As the Hori fightstick is fairly heavy it gives you more confidence to mash away on those buttons, (great for kids) and it doesn’t move around, performance overall is excellent and being able to set the turbo button as well is very handy.
I used Street Fighter X Tekken in my testing and it worked beautifully with no lagging and was very responsive, the build quality is so solid in the usual HORI way and you can safely let your kids loose on this without fear of them breaking it.
There is of course a headset socket for those victory yells online, but be aware it doesn’t fit older versions of headset plugs, mind you there are adaptors available so it’s all good
A version without the Soul Calibur image plastered all over it would have been nice, or at least the option to change the face plate.
The Soul Calibur V Fightstick is of course an officially licensed Microsoft® product so compatibility isn’t a problem and with a Playstation 3® version available, all you PS3 users don’t have to feel left out
Prices range from £90 upwards so shop around which is good value
Hori soul calibur V Fightstick
Dimensions: L 16.9” W 10.6” H 4.7”
Weight: 6.4 lbs
Price: £90 upwards (depends on retailer)
Release date: February 2012
Next we have what is known in the business as the top notch fightstick the Streetfighter X Tekken-Arcade Fightstick-Pro from Madcatz.
This is used by 8 out of 10 pro gamers so it should be good! Madcatz really know their stuff when it comes to gaming accessories and it shows in this item. It is made from genuine arcade components supplied by legendary Japanese arcade manufacturer Sanwa Denshi so they aren`t messing about.
Approved by both Capcom and Namco the Streetfighter X Tekken Arcade Fightstick pro, you just know it’s going to work beautifully with their games, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint, I felt like a real pro as I bashed away on the solid buttons and yanked the stick, like a demented madman, as I kicked some unsuspecting opponent to oblivion online.
The Madcatz fightstick has a number of nice features including a controller lock to prevent accidental button presses, multi speed programmable turbo functions a nice 3 way switch to enable left or right analogue stick or even the D-Pad.
There is a very nice 13 ft cable with a usb connection which is more than adequate, the only pain is it is a bit of a challenge to store it in the small storage slot at the front.
As with the Hori, I used Streetfighter X Tekken to test it and of course this being the official fightstick for this game it performed brilliantly, very intuitive and because of the nice layout it soon became very comfortable to play.
With a headset connection this is a perfect complement to the game, the unit is fairly light but not flimsy, and is smaller than the HORI, but does feel comfortable on the lap and it does feel tough and indestructible so it is definitely kid safe.
Having used this particular item for a while now I can see why it is used by the pro gamers, there has been plenty of thought put into it, and Madcatz have obviously listened to the gaming community whilst developing this item
As for the price £125 upwards is out of the range of most casual gamers but you do get a great product for your money
The legacy of the Tournament Edition continues with the brand new design of the FightStick PRO!
Authentic Japanese-style Sanwa Denshi™ joystick & buttons
8-button layout with additional multi-speed Turbo functionality
Premium-quality components with genuine arcade layout
Controller lock/unlock switch prevents accidental button presses
13ft (4m) USB cable with internal cable storage
Connects to console via lag-free USB
Storage compartment for efficient cable management
3-way switch enables joystick to function as left or right analog stick or D-Pad
Integrated headset port for use with Xbox LIVE®
Officially licensed by Capcom & Namco Bandai
Price: £125 upwards
As this is not a comparison review I am not going to say which one is better out of the two, but the HORI is cheaper, the Madcatz is more responsive mind, either way they are both great products and work well with most fighting games, if you do want to take it to the next level then either one of these will do the job perfectly.