I like my 360. I'm a big retro gamer, and a while ago I bought a special controller to facilitate the playing of classic games as well as the then-newly released Street Fighter IV. I got the MadCatz SFIV fighter pad and for the most part had few complaints. The buttons were a nice size and felt very responsive. The d-pad was not great, but still far better than using a standard 360 controller. It didn't bother me for a while that the dead zone in the middle of the d-pad was kinda huge and the diagonals were a little too hard to hit.
However, times have changed and I now demand a much greater deal of accuracy. My interests have veered towards much more hardcore playing of shmups (DEAR GOD Ikaruga has taken over my psyche), fighters, and other classic games so I'm ready to invest in a quality arcade stick and could use a little input from you guys.
My first option is the Hori Fighting Stick EX2. I like the simple look of this, and the prices I find fall between $50 and $60. This is my most appealing option, though the smallish size and lack of a fourth column of buttons are a minor stumbling block. Most of the simple games that I'd use a stick like this for wouldn't require more than 6 buttons, but in SFIV I really like to have two buttons mapped to PPP and KKK. This isn't too huge a point now as I don't actually own SFIV (I rented it when it came out), but I may very well get Super SFIV in the future.
Sadly, other sticks with extra buttons seem to come with a significantly increased price tag.
This MadCatz stick is $80 and has some pretty bad reviews, mostly complaining of a defective stick. The only silver lining on this would be that all reports say it's quite easy to modify. I can't say I know anything about modding a stick or where to get replacement parts, and modding may turn out to be a fun project, I'd really rather just get a controller that works out of the box.
Hori's Real Arcade Pro EX is around $130 also has the extra buttons I crave, but reviews are iffy in regards to their quality. Once again modding is recommended and once again I'm not sure if I want to go that far.
The next step up is the Tournament Edition Fightstick, costing around $150. I'd feel pretty comfortable writing this off as too expensive unless it's honestly the best choice out there. Reviews are quite good, but is $150 really necessary for a quality stick?
I'd really like to hear what the rest of the Dtoiders have to say on the subject. What is your experience with these? What are your recommendations?