Monday 4 March 2013

Review: Street Fighter X Tekken Fightstick Pro

In this review I'll be looking at the Street Fight X Tekken Fightstick Pro (Xbox 360 version) arcade controller from Matcatz. I should say upfront that I'm not much of a fighting game fan nor am I particularly good at them. However, I am told that Madcatz arcade controllers are the gold standard for fighting games. Most of my playtesting was done playing SHMUPs.

This controller has several nice features that really add value. If you look at the top right of the controller, next to the Xbox button, you'll see 2 toggle switches. One of them locks or unlocks the turbo feature while the other lets you choose whether you want the joystick to act as the left or right analog or the dpad of the standard 360 controller. Which is handy if you're playing a game that only supports the analog stick for movement. Looking again at the top of the controller you will see the turbo button and 8 LEDs which correspond to the 8 face buttons, letting you know which buttons currently have turbo enabled. There is a fast and a slow turbo mode that you can individually apply to any of the face buttons.

Madcatz has used arcade quality Sanwa buttons on this controller so there's no need to worry about wearing things out within a year. These parts were originally designed for arcade cabinets after all. I'm not a fan of these buttons though. They feel spongy, like you're pushing them down until they stop. There's no breakaway like there is on say a standard 360 controller face button. That's personal preference I'm sure but even after using it for many, many hours it still feels strange.

The joystick on this controller is also a Sanwa so again, there is no need to worry about wearing it out too quickly. It is amazing and an absolute joy to use. The tension on it is perfect for my liking and I simply love the way it clicks from the switches inside. That is not to say it is perfect for shooting games right out of the box. Since this controller is marketed as a fightstick, Madcatz has put a square gate on the joystick. A square gate restricts the joystick movement as if it was inside of a square (instead of a circle like a standard analog stick) with the 4 corners at the diagonal positions. This is great for fighting games because it makes diagonal movement a lot easier but is quite annoying in shooting games. If you are so inclined it is possible to replace the square gate with an octagonal gate which I will probably end up doing sooner or later.

If you're wondering where the start and back buttons are they are placed on the backside of the controller. A nice way to make sure you never accidentally press them. Also hiding in the back is a small compartment that holds the cable. Being able to completely put away the cable is great because it's pretty long and would be a pain to deal with otherwise. The art on the top of the controller looks pretty cool as well, displaying several Street Fighter and Tekken characters.

So if you're a fighting game fan the Fightstick Pro is a great choice and has everything you would want in an arcade controller. But if you're a shooting game fan like me, or want something to play arcade games with you might want to find a controller without a square gate to save you the hassle of replacing it yourself.

Thanks for reading.


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