You can play any fighting games with a given console’s default controller, but if you’re passionate about the genre then chances are you’ve thought about buying a fight stick – you know, just like many of the pros use. They’re not necessary for you to be proficient at a game, but they’re a lot easier on the hands.
They also make a very satisfying clacking noise too, and they can be customised so that you have a wholly unique fight stick to be associated with. Most fighting games appear on PS4 and so most fight sticks are made with the system in mind, but if you’re an avid fighting games fan then chances are you’ve realised this already!
Mad Catz TE S+ EU for PS4
Just under £100, has 8 buttons rather than 6 so it’s usable on a wider range of fighting games, and a solid build quality that shouldn’t give up on you anytime soon, the TE S+ EU is one of Mad Catz’s finest fight sticks that you can get if you’re on a tight budget. It’s not worth getting if you’re looking to mod the buttons, stick or artwork, but if you’re simply looking to pick up a stick to get to grips with then you can’t go wrong with this as your first one.
A 3m USB cable leaves you with plenty of room to get comfortable whilst gaming, and all of the PS4 mechanics that you’d expect to be there such as start, options and share are all easily located at the top of the stick. As both of Mad Catz’s TE are similar, both also come with a touchpad built-in.
Mad Catz TE2+ EU for PS4
Following on from the TE S+ EU fight stick, this is the next one up but you can mod it to your heart’s content. Don’t fancy seeing Ryu on your pad every time you look down? Change it out for Cammy! This stick is slightly larger and you can freely change the buttons, the stick and the artwork with ease thanks to a button opening up the chassis, and this fight stick even comes with a screwdriver with hex and flatheads!
A 3m cable once again wraps the bundle up nicely and this is the fight stick I’d recommend for both first-timers and those not looking to spend too much, as you can get the full experience this one. You don’t want to practice changing things for the first time on a very expensive stick now, do you? Especially not one that you can lug around on a shoulder strap, thanks to the sticks metal hoops.
Venom 8-button Arcade Stick for PS4
If £100+ is a bit too much for you right now, then the £69.99 Venom arcade stick officially licensed by Sony will do the trick. It has 8 buttons, a 3m USB cable and it’s made to be small enough so that it’s easy to store away and carry around. It’s easy to mod, but it features no touchpad. You may prefer this stick if you don’t plan to play competitively in any form, but instead, prefer playing against AI.
Qanba Obsidian for PS4 and PC
Are you looking to spend the big bucks? The Qanba Obsidian is, at the time of writing, £191.90 and can be imported from Amazon US. A UK release is in the works but there’s no date yet, but this is one of the most expensive and revered fight sticks on the market right now. Incorporating well-praised Sanwa buttons on its firm frame and moving all generally unused buttons shoved onto the side of the stick so that they don’t get in the way of the buttons you’ll often be using, the Qanba Obsidian is built with the pro player in mind.
LED lighting is used and reacts to vibrations, inputs or can be turned on and off, and you’re able to custom mod this as you see fit. The Qanba Obsidian is longer than many other fight sticks, so those worried that a smaller fight stick may not fit on their lap comfortably can rest easy with this one. The main downside to this one is that if you open it to mod it, you’ll be voiding the warranty – but it does have a headphone jack!
If you’re looking for the very definition of premium, then the Qanba Dragon will not disappoint. It’ll cost you a pretty penny at £271.60, but its aluminium chassis and plexiglass panel means that it’ll handle a rougher player’s hands. As with the Obsidian, this also features slick LED lights and it’s easy to mod. This one also features a headphone jack! Many fight sticks don’t, sadly, and it’s a big selling point for many. Praised for its sturdy build and highly responsive buttons, the Qanba Dragon sells itself at a high price simply because it’s worth it.
As with the Qanba Obsidian, you can buy this on the UK Amazon store but it will be an import from the US website.
Regardless of what sort of stick you’re in the market for, there’s something for everyone. It can be difficult to walk into the world of fight sticks for the first time, especially as there are so many manufacturers, prices and features to get to grips with, but rest assured that the above are some of the best around at a variety of prices. The next challenge is getting used to using a fight stick, but I can’t help you with that one. Good luck!