Product Review: Soul Calibur V FightStick

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Product Review: Soul Calibur V FightStick

My extracurricular activities in junior college were ruled by the art of Street Fighting. Through careful conditioning I was able to master the FightStick – I daresay I received a Master’s Degree in the science of FightStick Defense. But sadly, the arcades quickly began to dwindle in numbers, and so did my skills. I’ve always kept a close eye on the FightStick market, promising myself that one day I would return.

Madcatz has stepped into the ring and brings it with a wide variety of FightSticks, most recently a new version for the release of Soul Calibur V. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one and jumped straight into the ring. How does this FightStick compare to others? Does the controller make the fighter?

Design

I think it’s important to touch base on these items’ design. The Soul Calibur V FightStick is just plain pretty. It arrived in a box covered with tasteful artwork from the series, so it feels like an investment. What impressed me the most was just the ease of installation: just open the box and start fighting.

The actual design to the FightStick seems to have been refined over the years. I myself have had plenty of time with other FightSticks, including Hori and the original Street Fighter 4 non-tourney-edition FightStick. The weight of the device is nice, neither too heavy nor light. Set on your lap, it’s easy enough to control without making you feel like you have a Grizzly Bear or original Xbox controller in your lap. With the larger layout, hand cramping becomes a thing of the past.

Button Layout

The Buttons are laid out in a standard Fightstick way. With 5 Buttons on each row, doing those very special moves is that much easier. The only downside to the button layout was the lack of color. On the Playstation 3 version, the buttons were to color match the controller buttons, which essentially means they’re all black. While helpful icons near the button dictate what each one represents, I felt a little color coding would help.

Other Features

While when I first broke out the FightStick, I didn’t read the instructions, which was perfect as the device is really plug-n-play. But little did I know, there were other features I didn’t know about. One of my favorites is locking the Stick to a D-Pad format. This allows you to only have the Up, Down, Left, and Right controls – perfect for Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. Also, there’s a Turbo feature for when you just need to spam a button.

While the device uses a USB to interface with the PS3, there is a slot on the back of the controller for you to hide and protect the wires.

Overall

Personally, I really enjoy the controls of a FightStick. I feel it adds a little more dimension to games than standard controllers. While the FightStick might not be for everyone, I highly recommend testing it out to see if it fits your gaming style.