Mad Catz has outdone itself with this first-rate arcade fight stick.
Leet gives you the full lowdown on the top-of-the-range stick controller for fighting game fans.
Product: Street Fighter X Tekken FightStick Pro Tournament Edition
Platforms: Xbox 360/PS3
Version Tested: Xbox 360
Producer: Mad Catz
Release Date: Out now
Reviewer: Dom Sacco
The sticker on the underside of this arcade joystick reads: “For home or office use.”
Now, we’re not sure if Mad Catz means the offices of games media publications or not, but the thought of a group of suited office workers huddled around a desk shouting excitedly over a game of Street Fighter is one that humours us.
If for some reason you wanted to play this game in an office, hell even a warehouse or restaurant or wherever – it’s more than up to the task. We’d rather use it at home, but hey, we’re traditionalists here at Leet.
We’ve used the fight stick for tens of hours over the past few weeks and can guarantee you – whether you like to keep the stick on your lap for a casual game, or place it on a desk for a more intense affair – it’s very comfortable. The slant at the front of the unit makes it ideal for the latter.
Speaking of the device itself as a whole, it’s remarkably well built. It’s heavy and sturdy, the stick is precise and feels professional. It’s definitely one for the seasoned fighting game fanatic and tournament player.
The buttons themselves aren’t as clicky or flimsy as those on other fight sticks – they feel more squishy and you get the feeling they can handle hundreds of hours of gameplay with ease. You’ve got the traditional punch buttons on the top row – X, Y, RB and LB – and the kick buttons and shoulder buttons on the bottom (A, B, RT and LT). Don’t forget the turbo options for these either. The curved positioning of the buttons also makes your right hand rest comfortably on the board.
As for the stick itself, there’s no need to push it sharply or violently to move your on-screen character or pull off moves. We found applying lighter pressure on the stick to be more efficient, making combos feel more flowing and a joy to deliver.
Whether you’re playing Super Street Fighter IV, Tekken, BlazBlue or Soul Calibur V, the stick adapts remarkably well to different game styles, speeds and stances. It’s like a cat that can fit into any kind of gap with ease. Super Cancels are easy to pull off, as are Supers and Specials. It look a while for us to master the latter, but we found slowing the pace down and concentrating on slow, flowing movements helped.
The headset port at the front of the FightStick Pro is ideal for online gamers, and the USB connection is welcome as it means you don’t have to keep topping the unit up with batteries. The ‘storage compartment’ at the back of the box that promises ‘efficient cable management’ really isn’t that efficient, however. It’s a lot easier to keep the lead loose rather than trying to force it into the storage area.
The lock switch is a nice touch, though to be honest we didn’t need to use it. Again, it’s something that only serious online or tournament players will love. Flicking the switch over to the lock position simply means the small buttons at the top right – such as the Xbox guide button – won’t register if you press them by accident. Thus, the flow of the game won’t be interrupted nor will you be put at a temporary disadvantage.
You can also flick a three-way switch to make the joystick function as either the directional pad, left analogue stick or right analogue stick.
Despite the name, the Street Fighter X Tekken FightStick Pro Tournament Edition is also ideal for beginners. It’s well built and comfortable, and does a brilliant job of alleviating the intimidating experience of picking up a fight stick for the first time and getting to grips with it.
However, and this is a big however, there’s one thing that will probably put off the majority of gamers.
Fight sticks are already an expensive type of product, and this limited Tournament Edition is no different. You’re looking at a substantial price tag here of between £100 and £150, and for the average gamer, that doesn’t present good value for money.
If you live and breathe fighting games, or own more than a handful of different brawlers, or if you regularly play in tournaments or against friends for hours on end, Leet cannot recommend this FightStick Pro enough. For everyone else, knock three points off the score, do yourself a favour and opt for a cheaper Mad Catz stick or fighting game controller instead.
Pros: Incredible build quality, button layout and design with all the features you could want from a fight stick.
Cons: The cable storage area isn’t great and the price is very high.
Do you agree with us? What do you think of the Street Fighter X Tekken FightStick Pro Tournament Edition?
Watch us unbox the Street Fighter X Tekken FightStick Pro Tournament Edition here.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
A keen League of Legends and World of Warcraft player, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He works as full-time content director for the British Esports Association and runs ENUK in his spare time.