Fighting games are more popular than ever before, bringing in new players and fueling the passion within existing fans further. Many upcoming fighters will undoubtedly take to the mainstream spotlight, including those offered by Tekken 8 and Street Fighter 6. That being said, gamers looking to get into the competitive scene of these games may consider purchasing an arcade stick to enhance their gaming experience.
Large, blocky controllers allow for comfortable execution of tricky move combos, which is an essential element in fighting games. These devices are a common sight at tournaments across most platforms, be it PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo, or PC. So, which ones are worth checking out?
Note: The list is subjective and reflects the views of the writer.
Here are the 5 best arcade sticks to buy for popular fighting games
Note that all prices shown below are in U.S. Dollars (USD).
5) Qanba Drone - Price: $79.99
The cheapest entry on this list, the Qanba Drone is generally a newbie's first foray into competitive gaming arcade sticks. With a relatively smaller size, it is lightweight yet durable. You shouldn't let its cheap price tag fool you, since this is a product that has been officially licensed by Sony. Furthermore, it even works on the PlayStation 3 home console.
4) MAYFLASH F500 Elite - Price: $144.99
After a sudden leap ahead from the cheaper option above, fighting game fans who are willing to pay more can try out the MAYFLASH F500 Elite. Thanks to its robust build, it is quite similar to the Victrix Pro FS (a far more expensive stick further down this list), minus the glamor, of course.
Sanwa parts feature in this arcade stick, as well as their customization features. While it may not be as attractive as other options, it is hard to go wrong with the Elite.
3) Hori Fight Stick Alpha - Price: $199.99
Hori is a popular name in the controller scene, so it is no surprise to see their Alpha feature on this list. This one comes with Hori's Hayabusa parts i.e. stick, lever, and buttons. It even features assignable buttons like Share Button, Profile Button, Key Lock Mode, and more. The iconic X logo at the top suggests that it caters specifically to current-gen Xbox platforms, but this is a great option for PC players as well. Similar to the MAYFLASH F500 Elite, this is more of a mid-range choice as far as the price tag is concerned.
2) Hit Box - Price: $249.99
Perhaps the most unique-looking entry on this list, the Hit Box is a solid pick for those gamers who find analog sticks uncomfortable. This pad offers four directional buttons for character movement instead of the standard joystick.
Furthermore, these four buttons are not traditionally placed either, with three buttons above and a single button below. This way, three fingers can rest on the top buttons while the bottom one can be pressed by the thumb. It's certainly not suited for everyone, but fighting games are all about being comfortable with your own setup and playstyle, which the Hit Box definitely seems to care about.
1) Victrix Pro FS - Price: $399.99
With a sturdy, semi-hollow aluminum body, the Victrix Pro FS is all about style as well as substance. It is relatively lightweight and can be opened up from the bottom to customize its parts. Featuring RGB lighting on the sides, the buttons and stick are Sanwa peripherals, indicating that this is a premium product all round. Understandably, it is the best and most expensive entry on this list.