Mad Catz Unveiled: Street Fighter IV Fightstick
When I sat down next to Ryan Hart to play a game of Street Fighter X Tekken I was feeling a little nervous. I’m no slouch at Fighting games, but the person I’d be playing was THE Ryan Hart. More commonly known as “Prodigal Son” the man holds 3 world records, including ‘Most international Street Fighter wins.”
There was no way I was going to win.
That was ok though, because playing him was not only an experience to remember (a short one) but also gave me the chance to get hands on with the Mad Catz Fightstick. Thankfully it was not the only time I had with it, or else this would be a very brief write-up, but that minute or so was the most memorable.
After getting a lesson in skill from Ryan I went to a much less competitive environment to give the stick a real seeing to, and I walked away impressed. Mad Catz are known for the quality of their Fightsticks – this year they were the sponsor for the EVO tournament – and it really shows. For a long time fight sticks struck me as an extravagance, something that was used to look good rather than something that really changed the quality of your game. Yet after today I’ve had a change of heart.
In the few matches that I played, and it was just a few matches, I found that the fightstick immeasurably improved a Street Fighter experience that I had so seldom enjoyed before.
On a purely practical level, the fightstick was top class. Among all the chunky and impressive pieces of equipment being shown off by the Mad Catz, the Fighsticks stood out. They were sleek pieces of kit, despite their size, and they felt very sturdy. On top of that, even my hands (which are bigger than most) fit comfortably and pretty easily on the controls. On screen my character was quick and responsive, pulling off guards and stuff that I doubt I could have managed with my trusty but bog standard controller at home.
The thing is though, playing on that slick, sturdy piece of hardware was a pleasure. It made me feel empowered when I played a game I was not good at. Most impressively of all though; it made me want one. I’ve played literally hundreds of hours of fighters with my normal controller and felt completely happy with it.
Now I can’t wait to get my hands on one of Mad Catz Fightsticks again.