SOULCALIBUR V Arcade FightStick Soul Edition|
I love a good fighting game, but even more I love to watch other people who are really good play them. Iím talking about these professional tournament players who can pull off 15-move death-strike combo in their sleep. Part of my voyeuristic fascination undoubtedly comes from spending hours watching people play Mortal Kombat in the arcades back in the 80ís. Personally, I sucked at the game so I was always amazed as I watched their fingers dance over those buttons and they moved the stick from side to side and heads got ripped off and spinal cords got torn out.
Jump ahead 30 years and I still suck at fighting games, but things may be looking up now that Iím using the new Mad Catz Arcade FightStick: SOUL Edition for the Xbox 360. At least when I suck now I can no longer blame my controller since playing with the FightStick is as close to playing a coin-op fighting game as you can get without going to the arcade Ė and unless you have a DeLorean and a Mr. Fusion thatís unlikely.
First and foremost, despite the name, this tournament-style, tournament-quality stick will work with just about any major fighting game you want to take on. I was able to put the FightStick through several hours of intense testing with Mortal Kombat as well as SOULCALIBUR V. Having recently finished the latter, it was an interesting experience to relearn the controls and buttons and do it all again with some old-school arcade style.
Approved by Namco and embellished with exclusive SOULCALIBUR V artwork, this officially licensed FightStick looks as good as it performs. Only the best arcade-quality components from legendary Japanese arcade manufacturer, Sanwa Denshi were used to create this controller. The Japanese-style ball-handled joystick and 30mm action buttons are the same high-quality that you find in Japanese arcade cabinets and configured to match those same cabinet layouts.
There is optional multi-speed turbo that can be mapped to any of the buttons or disabled for regulation tournament play by using the Lock switch, which also disables the Start, Back, and Xbox Guide buttons to prevent accidental pauses in the game. Another nifty feature is the 3-way mode toggle that allows your main stick to serve as either the left or right analog stick or even the D-pad, making this device compatible for many games other than fighters such as Pac-Man Championship Edition DX.
The last FightStick I owned was constructed from half-inch particle board with a sheet of 1/8Ē plastic on the top where you could slip in your own cabinet art. It had the same style stick and a similar six-button layout, but it looked like something assembled in a garage. The Arcade FightStick: SOUL Edition is a piece of functional art; something youíll proudly display even when you arenít using it. The artwork on the main surface area is gorgeous and the surrounding bezel and blue and red side panels are this transparent plastic that gives you a peek inside the cabinet. The durable metal base adds considerable weight and stability to the whole thing for use on a table or even your lap, and if you need more stability the FightStick can even be mounted to a table.
At first you might think the FightStick is wireless, but any tournament player worth their ranking knows you need a USB connection for the best quality gameplay, and sure enough, hidden in a small compartment on the back of the controller is a 13-foot USB cable ready to deliver lag-free gameplay. Now, you only have your own reflexes to blame. Whatís nice is when the cable is tucked away in its compartment the whole controller is self-contained and quite portable; easy to take to your next tournament gathering.
I wonít lie. I still suck at fighting games, but Iíve gotten a whole lot better since I started using the Mad Catz Arcade FightStick: SOUL Edition. Before, I would always get cramped up trying to push the various button combinations to perform even the simplest of moves. Now, Iím able to do some pretty advanced stuff, and Iím even starting to win some online matches. Iím guessing my FightStick has a lot to do with that, but thatís our little secret. Until the games start recognizing Iím using a tournament FightStick and matchmaking me accordingly, Iíll be enjoying my...ahemÖSoul Edge over the competition, because honestly, this is one of the few controllers that will actually make you a better player just by the design alone.
Yes, itís a $160 and itís intended for only a handful of games, so this is a tough item to recommend to all but the fighting faithful or the filthy rich. Still, chances are if you are reading this review then you fit into one or both of those categories, so to you I say, BUY THIS STICK. Just like a steering wheel can make you a better driver; a FightStick can make you a better fighter, and it doesnít get much better than the Mad Catz Arcade FightStick: SOUL Edition.