Today we are starting with our very first hardware review on the site. Today’s controller of choice is the Mad Catz Marvel vs Capcom Tournament Edition Arcade Stick (A mouthful and a half..). Never in my wildest dreams since the PSX/N64 days did I ever think that would I ever praise a periferal from Mad Catz. Parts and design entirely based off the wildly successful Street Fighter IV special edition arcade sticks, this is in essence a reskin of Mad Catz’s original outing. Read on to find out why this stick is deserving of your hard earned cash.
Design: Mad Catz has certainly listened to the fighting game community with their suggestions for what they expect from an out-of-the-box arcade stick. Complete Japanese authentic arcade parts are installed with a true Sanwa joystick with lollipop top, 6 yellow and 2 white Sanwa buttons. To the uneducated, Sanwa is a well respected company in Japan manufacturing some of the best Arcade parts in the world. Other differences from a American style arcade stick is the smaller stick with lollipop top, as well as a square gate on the inside. If you don’t know what any of that means, your just not hard core enough. In all fairness, if your new to the fighting genre, and if you’ve never owned a Arcade joystick, this is definitely a great way to start. A few other notable features include a 13 foot USB cable (No its not wireless) with a built in storage area to store the cord neatly. The start and select buttons are smartly placed in the front of the stick to avoid accidental pauses, which in most tournaments would be an automatic disqualification even if accidental. The unit is large with a good weight, under the body are thick well placed rubber feet ensuring the stick will not move in heavy frantic moments. There is the option to set specific buttons with turbo. Some may complain that the stick is not wireless, but I for one am glad, as wireless could cause lag in button responses on screen which can make and break a match. Another great part about being USB, is it works perfectly on a PC, which Ive tested on the PC version of Street Fighter IV.
Feel/Use: If you have ever used a Japanese style arcade stick, you should feel right at home. Ive owned a few Hori arcade sticks since the early days of the Playstation 2 including the exceptional Hori Arcade Stick Pro 1-A that I would still use if it was compatible with the PS3. This feels right at home, and in some ways better based on the units streamlined design. the buttons are ultra responsive sometimes to a fault. The stick is buttery smooth making every fireball and dragon punch a breeze to pull off. The placement of the start and select button eliminates those frustrating mid match pauses, and the length of the USB cable lets me sit just about as far as I want. New comers to in home Arcade Sticks should find it a much easier experience to learn and adjust in those hours and hours of practice.
Presentation: The skin of choice for Mad Catz’s sticks really is a matter of preference, or in my case what you could find. Personally im not a big Marvel fan, I play Street Fighter III: Third Strike and Street Fighter IV much more often than Marvel vs Capcom. I, however, prefer the graphic on the tabletop on this stick than the original SF4 stick just based on its flashier character design. The original SF4 stick was black and read with the number “IV” etched into the background but not much more than that. The characters are in their expected battle stances Marvel on the left and Capcom on the right. The characters have an awesome holofoil shine to them under the glossy finish. The choice of a Yellow ball stick and majority of yellow buttons was a smart choice as it doesn’t clash with the background as a darker color set might. Although I haven’t attempted it myself, the stick can be opened up and replacement buttons and ball top can be installed, however I don’t recommend this if you don’t know what your doing. All in all its serious eye candy for observers, but obviously when your in the heat of battle, you wont know or care what it looks like.
Conclusion: Mad Catz’s premium tournament edition arcade sticks come with a hefty price tag of $150 or more. The rarity of these in Gamestops and other local markets can cause some dealers to hike up the price. If you can pick up one of these for the asking of $150 to $160 before tax it is well worth the investment. Beginners may find the price to steep especially considering the learning curve for some to learn fighting game controls from a stick perspective rather than a digital pad perspective. To these people I would suggest one of the Cheaper Hori models, even though Mad Catz has a cheaper arcade fighting stick on the market. However, if your in need of a seriously well built true japanese style arcade stick, you’ll be hard pressed to find better.
Marvel vs Capcom Mad Catz Tournament Arcade Stick (PS3,PC) is a ***** out of 5
By: Bobby Major