As sure as winter is followed by spring, the release of a new Capcom console fighting game is followed by a new Tournament Edition Arcade FightStick from Mad Catz. Let's put the Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 model through its paces.
The Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 Arcade FightStick: Tournament Edition takes the top-of-the-line controls found in premium fighting game arcade cabinets and presents them in a package that's perfect for tabletop or lap-top home console use. It's a product aimed at fighting game purists that believe a real arcade joystick and big round buttons are the only way to play, as well as those that just want to look like they know what they're doing.
Once you pry the Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 Arcade FightStick out of its packaging, setting it up in simply a matter of opening up the cable storage panel in the back of the unit, spooling out the lengthy USB cable, and plugging it into your console.
The eight buttons handle the work of your standard Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3's four buttons, shoulder buttons, and triggers, while the Start and Select (or Back, in the Xbox 360's case) buttons are set out of the way on the rear panel of the unit, keeping them from being pressed when you're slapping opponents about in your favorite fighting game.
The joystick can act as either the right analog stick, left analog, or standard directional pad thanks to a handy toggle in the top left corner, and there's also a switch that locks out the controller's turbo functions, keeping things tournament legal.
What We Liked
Well for one thing, the packaging is simply gorgeous. The Tournament Edition FightStick comes packed for display in a sturdy window box, lovingly festooned with stylish art that merely hints at the glorious product lurking within. As someone that only pulls out the specialized fighting game controller for particularly important guests, the display factor is incredibly important.
Opening the front panels of the box reveals one of the more attractive entries in Mad Catz's Capcom line of fighting game controllers. The best combatants Marvel and Capcom have to offer are crowded about the left side of the stick's face, and while my forearm may obscure my view of Darkstalkers' Felicia, I'm almost certain knowing she's there makes me play better. The Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 logo lurks in the lower right corner, just in case the player forgets what they spent $160 on.
For those of you thinking of picking one up to actually use and not simply display in a desperate attempt to appear proficient at fighting games, the Tournament Edition FightStick delivers the goods.
The Sanwa Denshi controls feel amazing and respond to your lightest touch, while taking a vicious pounding of a clumsy man-child (see video) in perfect stride. As I mentioned in my review of PDP Gaming's Marvel Edition Versus Fighting Pad, I'm a big fan of the audible and tactile sensation of controls that click. That love stems from exactly the sort of arcade-level parts Mad Catz packs into these babies here.