Written by Justin Hawthorne
Console gaming, like PC gaming, has its own unique set of controls, different from those found in the arcade. This isn’t a problem with games developed with the console in mind, but for arcade fighting games, something is lost in the translation. Fortunately, MadCatz has provided the solution: Fightsticks. The BlazBlue Continuum Shift Tournament Edition Fightstick is about as good as you can get without going completely custom or buying and arcade cabinet.
Fightsticks come in a variety of qualities and the uninitiated will be bewildered at the range of prices to be had for what look like more or less the same device. But that’s like saying a Mercedes is the same as an old beater K-car because they are both cars. There are different levels of component quality and cheaper fightsticks use cheaper components that not only lack an authentic feel, but won’t stand up to the ridiculous punishment fighting games will put them through.
The Tournament Edition Fightstick uses the same high quality button switches, same high quality joysticks and joystick switches as found in the Japanese arcade versions of popular fighting games. When I say the same, I mean they are the same parts from the same manufacturer. If you are a competition player, this is critical because even a casual player has run afoul of being good at home, but when faced with the arcade equipment, everything seemed different.
I’m not a competition player, but I am something of a purist, and always found gamepads felt ‘wrong’ somehow. But the Tournament Edition Fightstick erases that, and while it is sometimes more difficult to pull off a series of maneuvers (the controls are more sensitive) it also leads to more consistent results and a better overall feel.
The unit itself is gorgeous and comes in a sturdy and attractive cardboard box you won’t mind keeping around. The fightstick has a good heft and stays put even under heavy fire. The controls are responsive, and the switches are noisy–something you don’t notice in the arcades. It has a convenient compartment for storing the cord. If you are interested in a device like this, the possibility of wireless latency will be as unacceptable as a low battery warning. The cord is about 15 feet long so should reach most couches.
This is the same Fightstick as other Madcatz Tournement edition Fightsticks other than cover art and colour.
Pros: Sturdy, Genuine Arcade Parts, Attractive, Very Sensitive
Cons: Expensive, Won’t work for most console games (lacks a second joystick), Lose the ability to blame the controls for failure.