Madcatz Arcade Fightstick: Tournament Edition review

It's no secret that I love having higher quality controllers. It's also no secret that Mad Catz was known for anything BUT high quality controllers for gaming. With this in mind, when I first heard that Mad Catz would be making controllers for Street Fighter 4, I thought they would be the usual cheap knockoffs. Then, they decided to state that there would be an entry level, and a pure arcade based version of the fight stick which again had me skeptical. Well, I was skeptical until after seeing the controller in action.

Mad Catz decided to do something different for the Tournament Edition and make it the exact same controls as the arcade version of Street Fighter 4. This means that the Joystick is a legitimate Sanwa joystick and legitimate microswitches for both the joystick and buttons. To summarize what this means to those who don't know technical aspects of controllers, this means that this controller is the real thing. The buttons are responsive, the joystick feels excellent, and on the Round 2 edition, it has great artwork for fans of Street Fighter 4. (Also, Capcom has released the Faceplate Templates so custom art can be utilized, even though that will void the warranty.) In short, this is quite possibly the best console Arcade Fightstick to be mass produced in America!

It is not perfect however and there are some obvious downfalls. The controller uses a Square restrictor for the switches, which is how Japanese arcades work, but American arcades use octagonal switches. Fortunately this can be changed for extremely cheap. Also, the microswitches on the Joystick are all hooked together so if one goes out, all of the switches have to be replaced. Finally, this fightstick is listed for $150, and while it can be purchased with various deals that standard price is extremely expensive. These keep the controller from being perfect.

Overall though, this is a great controller for the current generation of consoles. Arcade perfect parts give the response needed for fighting games, or in my case Bullet Hell Shmups. The art is very well done for the controller, and Customization is not too difficult fortunately. Overall, if any console gamer has the necessary budget for it, I recommend this controller to them.