Top 5 Fight Sticks for Beginners and Dabblers
There are a crazy amount of fighting games coming out this year. Injustice 2 Just dropped, Tekken 2 is right around the corner and Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite comes out in the fall. There’s a resurgence of people getting into OR getting back into fighting games. I figured I’d put together a short list of fight sticks that are good for a small spectrum of players. This list is mainly tailored toward the beginner, casual and/or dabbler of fighting games. These sticks are mostly chosen to not break the bank and are listed from least expensive to most expensive.
It’s important to choose a stick that suits your needs, this will require a bit of research on your part. I’ve tried to make your footwork a bit easier by creating a list of affordable, but quality sticks that a beginner can choose from. I encourage you to do further research and discover what works best for you!
Do I Need A Fight Stick?
I’d like to first clear the illusion that you NEED to play on a fight stick to be good, this is definitely not the case. There are plenty of high-level players who are using a normal controller. If someone tells you, “you need a fight stick” to be great, just nod, smile and continue to think for yourself. Fight sticks are not a neccessityThat said, fight sticks have some advantages over using a controller that you should consider.
By now you’ve probably weighed those options and just want to find a stick that suits you. I’ve compiled a list of PS4 fight sticks that should fit different needs. Some fight sticks are great starter fight sticks with a lower price tag for beginners, while other sticks have better aesthetics and higher customization for the dabbler.
This a great FightStick if you are just starting out learning to play fighting games, this is also good for finding out if a fight stick is for you. The build quality isn’t amazing, but it’s not supposed to be. Without an astronomical investment, you get to give this style of control a shot and see if it’s for you. The whole stick is a little small too, this makes it a great fight stick for younger people just starting to get into fighting games.
- Affordable Price
- Fairly lengthy wired USB cable
- Compatible with PS4, PS3, and PC
- Easy to store
- Light Weight, easy to travel with
- Good for beginners
- Build quality feels “cheap
- Small in every sense of the word
- Lightweight may be thrown around if you go too hard on the controls
- Options and Share buttons may feel too close to each other, expect many accidental screenshots
- Compatible with PS4, PS3, XBOX ONE, XBOX360 and PC, Android
- Compatible with sanwa denshi buttons and joystick that is perfect for customization
- Supports the X input and D input when being used on PC
- Easily Mod-able
- Easy to travel with
- Low Price
- A Sony PS4 controller is required when using on a PS4 game console
- Microsoft Xbox 360 or Xbox one controller is required when using on a Xbox 360 or Xbox one console
- Small size
This stick has a reasonable price, nice aesthetics and is also easy to mod. While the buttons and the stick aren’t great, with a small financial invest it it can be upgraded as you become more comfortable with using a fight stick.
- Case is large enough to perform stick and button modifications
- PlayStation 4 ,PlayStation 3, and PC Compatible
- Lightweight and great for travel
- Low Price
- regular sanwa restrictor plate will not fit it
- Compact size is good for travel but can be cramped if you have larger hands
- No closed Cord Compartment
- Requires PC Workaround
- Not a very solid frame
If you haven’t heard the news by now, Mad Cats (A third-party controller company) is now longer with us. That said, they had some decent “start sticks”. The Alpha’s price tag straddles the line of affordable and expensive, but it’s worth mentioning for those who were a fan of Mad Catz. I debated with adding this one to this list due to mixed reviews, but overall It’s an average starter stick.
- Works perfectly for PS3, PS4, & PC
- Small size makes it easy for traveling to tournaments or weeklies.
- Comfortable to use even given the small size of the stick.
- Great for people wanting to start getting into fighting games.
- High Travel time on button
- Feels “Squishy”
- Stick feels like it’s made of cheap parts
- The buttons are soldered instead of using connectors like in all the other sticks.
- May get uncomfortable for some if not playing with the stick on a flat surface like a table
- Not Compatible with PC Natively (needs workaround)
Full Sanwa JLF and buttons are used and are as you would expect. The PCB used does seem to be a slight bit faster than what is in the Obsidian and maybe even the TE+.
Touchpad works well
3.5mm headphone jack
- Glossy black plastic: You will be cleaning it often
- Heavy Weight makes it hard to transport (weighs about 12 pounds)
- Higher Price tag
Honorable Mention: Razer Panthera Arcade Stick
With the high price tag I really can’t justify putting this on my top 5 list, but with so many good reviews online I thought it was at least worth mentioning for the “all in-ers”. This stick is fully mod-capable and has some great default aesthetics. Comes stock with Sanwa components and has internal storage.
Using A FightStick
The transition from Pad to FightStick was a challenging one for me, but it was worth it. It’s not for everyone but I think it’s something every fighting game player should try out. If you’ve been curious about picking up a Fightstick, I hope this list helps you.