Mad Catz Street Fighter IV Round 2 FightStick Tournament Edition review

Retro arcade-style controller for serious gamers
Photo of Mad Catz Street Fighter IV Round 2 FightStick Tournament Edition
£149.99

Remember all that time you spent as a kid playing arcade games in your local chip shop? Those days are back thanks to this quite stunningly well-made ‘FightStick’ from gaming accessories company Mad Catz.

It’s a company that’s now regarded as one of the best third party accessory and controller creators for consoles; the budget controllers of its past have been replaced by an ever-changing line-up for Xbox360, PS3 and Wii that include licensed Rock Band, Street Fighter and even Sonic devices.

This FightStick is part of its Street Fighter range that’s just been added to with a version for Street Fighter X Tekken – and it’s simply one of the best controllers around.

Beautifully packaged
Available in both Xbox 360 and PS3 flavours, the FightStick comes beautifully packaged, and the heavyweight product inside reeks of a rare craftsmanship. The front of this Japanese-style joystick hosts eight buttons – six white and two black, which include a typical controller’s coloured buttons as well as shoulder/trigger buttons. It’s worth knowing that the exact Sanwa Denshi joystick and 30mm buttons found in official Street Fighter IV arcade machines are used here.

There’s a headphones slot on the nearside (and a headset adaptor in the box), as well as a suite of buttons for an Xbox360 or PS3. All are located in a small panel in the FightStick’s top right-hand corner. Our Xbox360-flavoured sample featured the familiar green cross of the Guide button alongside a three-way switch to enable the joystick to work as either a left or right analogue stick, or as a D-Pad. Up here there’s also a lock switch to help prevent accidents and a multi-speed turbo option.

Most games will allow you to map the actions to specific buttons of your choosing, which is totally necessary to those who want to replicate the Arcade experience rather than stick with the console pad.

Competitive advantage
Crucially, the FightStick will give online gamers a competitive advantage – this is professional arcade quality with a digital makeover, and not some retro toy. That’s obvious from the buttons, which prove exceptionally responsive. The joystick itself is solid and certainly well made enough to withstand the (frequent) game/quit rage that playing Street Fighter online inevitably fuels.

At 2.9kg this is a substantial accessory whose weight will alarm some. It needs to be for stability, and in our test it was perfectly comfortable after a few hours on our lap. The surface of the 430x249x66mm product, which is decorated by fairly subtle Street Fighter artwork, is glossy and does have a tendency to collect fingerprint marks.

A thick USB-terminated cable that links to a console is probably the hardest aspect of the FightStick for anyone under 20 to stomach, but it’s there to reduce lag, something that can make all the difference for serious gamers. There’s a small compartment on the farside of the FightStick to store the cable when in transit.

Also available are a carrier and messenger bag for the FightStick.

Company: Mad Catz

Website: http://www.madcatz.com/

Contact: Mad Catz on 01908 336530

Positives
  • Build quality, responsive controls, retro looks.
Negative
  • Wired, easy to smear with fingerprints.

Verdict

Those with passion for gaming and a history of arcade dwelling will adore this FightStick. Capable of giving a competitive advantage as well as retro good looks, the responsiveness and build quality here are top class. The wired design may seem old hat in these WiFi-driven times, but that's a central part of its professional performance; it's so convincing you'll be looking for somewhere to insert 10p coins!