Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Comparing sticks

There are two distinct schools of thought when it comes to fighting games: arcade stick and d-pad. I used to be a pad warrior. Many years ago when I spent hours at work practicing Tekken 5 when I should have been working a PS2 controller was all that was available so that is what I used. I developed a strange claw like grip: my right thump was hooked under the controller and my index and middle finger worked the buttons. This is half way to an arcade stick style so when I made the jump with Street Fighter IV it was not difficult but trying to play Guilty Gear Xrd on a pad proved that it will be impossible to go back.

People usually don't move back and forth and the initial transition from one to the other is honestly painful. Even moving from one stick to the next is fraught with difficulty. My primary (and favorite) stick is my Qanba Q4. This guy:

This is an exceptional stick. All Sanwa parts, Sanwa being the default option for quality buttons and joy sticks, a compartment for the cord, a solid heavy build and a handle. I have loved it from day one, going so far as to purchase an adapter to use in on my XBox One. I had thought that said adapter would allow me to use it on the PS4 as well but it has turned out to not be the case. Guilty Gear Xrd and the Street Fighter V announcement have forced my hand and a Christmas present for me was in order. Meet the new stick:

This is the Madcatz TE PS4 (and PS3) stick. I am not wild about the background but the stick is designed with modifications in mind so I can replace it. The entire body opens up providing easy access to the internals. Should a button go replacing it will be a simple task. Replacing the graphic is not much worse. That catch is that I don't like it as much as my Qanba. That stick feels like home. This one feels like a hotel bed.

The throw on the stick itself feels longer. This will be an issue when you spend as much time in the down back position as I do. There are most likely modifications I can make, specifically a more restrictive gate, but out of the box it just doesn't feel quite right. The buttons are the same exact brand as the Qanba but they have a strange, hollow feeling when struck. Plus, and this is real nit picky, take a look at the black border around the graphic. That border is slightly raised and is in exactly same place that my wrist lays when playing. It's irritating.

It's a good stick, it just isn't my stick. I will get used to it. Strike that, I have to get used to it. There is no choice in the matter. Now that I have thrown (my money) in with Madcatz purchasing an updated Qanba, should one come out, will be difficult to justify.

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