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Mad Catz Official Street Fighter IV FightStick impressions

7:00 PM on 02.17.2009 // James Pikover

On the off chance you don’t have barrels of money and a swimming pool filled with gold, you might not want to pick up the Tournament Edition FightStick from Mad Catz. Because it’s expensive. Very expensive. How about something for half, or less than half the price?

Then you’ll want to look at the standard FightStick, also from Mad Catz, for the consumer who thinks that having running water and air conditioning (or heating) is more important than the best gaming experience possible. Some of us have to put food on the table too! Don’t worry, you’re covered.

The FightStick is nearly identical to the Tournament Edition in terms of functionality. It has the same easy-to-use turbo, the same Japanese + American button layout, the same lock switch and the same stick/D-pad switch. They all work identically and perfectly.

What’s different about the FightStick first and foremost is the size. It’s a few inches thinner on the sides, and about half a pound lighter. The FightStick also has no customization, so if you’ve got a joystick or buttons you want to switch in, too bad. Yes, you can open it up, but it’s not nearly as easy or pretty as with the Tournament Edition.

However, these are minor differences; the FightStick still feels very solid and fits fine on a lap or tabletop. The real difference comes from the joystick and buttons. They aren’t from Sanwa like the arcade, but regular parts that Mad Catz put together. What does that mean?

The buttons are not as tactile or responsive, though in gameplay we found them to work almost as well as the TE’s. Most people won’t be able to tell the difference in performance. The joystick, however, is another story entirely.

While not unresponsive, the joystick is sticky. As we reported, some people are having problems with it. Our tests show that while it does have a tendency to stay in place, it’s nothing that can’t be fixed by moving it again. The problem is that making combinations or special moves is much more difficult because it requires more precision to get the move just right. We were still able to kick ass with the FightStick, but not nearly as much.

However, for those of us who, in the past, have been stuck using the Hori arcade sticks, this is a step up. The quality and build is superior, as is the joystick. Slightly. For $75 on the Xbox 360 and $70 on the PlayStation 3 (gotta love those licensing fees), the FightStick is good for more casual gamers who aren’t looking for tens of hours of gameplay weekly. It’s not bad, but the joystick could use some work.


Jamez Pikover is a freelance writer whose work has appeared both online and in print, including Strategy Informer, Gameworld Network, and Total PC Gaming. He's contributing these Mad Catz Street Fighter IV controller articles on a one-off basis, because he loves you, and wants to make sure you don't spend your money on something you shouldn't. Be nice.

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