Madcatz Street Fighter FightPad Review

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Released as an alternative to standard controllers and a cheaper alternative to joysticks, the Madcatz Street Fighter IV FightPad in conjunction with the release of the most anticipated fighting games this year was available to buy on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 formats.
The main feature of the pad is its Directional-Pad (d-pad).
It's a floating d-pad, which feels closer to a joystick than a traditional Nintendo d-pad.
The d-pad is modeled on the very usable floating d-pad of the Sega Saturn controllers.
The input, overall, is accurate.
Inaccurate input is rare, but, at times, can input 'up' instead of 'diagonal-right' or 'diagonal-left'.
The d-pad was very stiff when I first received the controller and it did require breaking in the controller with a lot of sessions to make the d-pad as fluid and loose as possible for input.
There are six face buttons (inspired again by the Sega Saturn controller): the standard four face buttons as on the official controllers and the addition of two buttons (the right-bumper and right-trigger on the Xbox 360, and right-1 and right-2 on the PlayStation 3).
There are two shoulder buttons and the triggers are removed.
The face buttons are smooth and are the perfect size; they don't feel too big or too small.
As you'd expect, the spacing of the six face buttons is tight, but not enough to keep pressing the wrong input after you've got used to the controller.
The shoulder buttons are wider than the equivalents on the two formats.
The shape of the controller is inspired again by the Sega Saturn pad.
The top part of the controller is plastic and is painted in a Street Fighter character of your preference from the three available in European retailers, Ryu, Ken and Chun-Li (Blanka and Akuma are also available, but only in American retailers - US Xbox 360 controllers work on PAL consoles but I can't verify if US PS3 controllers work on PAL consoles).
At the side and the back of the controller there is a soft and smooth surface for grip and comfort.
The controller is very comfortable to hold, and fatigue or discomfort is not an issue during longer sessions.
Extras on the controllers consists of a turbo function and a switch which changes input on the d-pad from either right analogue-stick, d-pad, or left analogue-stick.
The only difference between the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the FightPad is that the PS3 version is wireless and the Xbox 360 version is wired.
The reason is that Microsoft won't release the frequency, of which wireless controllers communicate with the console, to third-party manufacturers.
Therefore, the PS3 version has a little extra weight accounting for the batteries than the Xbox 360 version.
The usability of the controller is limited.
Because of its solitary and single directional-input, it can't be played with all games as efficiently as the standard official controllers can.
The two games it's efficient for require accurate directional input and this controller is useful for any game of that type - including most 2D or retro/arcade games.
The first game is, of course, Street Fighter IV, and the controller improves the accuracy of input over the standard controllers; though, if you're willing to shell out money for a controller to play SFIV, you may just buy the superior joysticks as a better alternative.
The second game is surprisingly Pro Evolution Soccer: there are two problems in that you lose the ability to manually pass the ball and one of the shoulder buttons is taken by the fact that the strategy action isn't mappable such as other actions like shoot, et cetera, but the d-pad is incredibly superior over both the PS3 and Xbox 360 version.
The Madcatz Street Fighter IV FightPad controller is of high quality.
The d-pad is excellent and accurate, and buttons easy and smooth to use.
It's comfortable to hold.
The only negative aspect of the controller is its limited usability for games, but if you want a superior controller to the standard official controllers to play SFIV (and don't want to shell out any more to buy a joystick), PES or any of your old arcade games, the FightPad is the perfect choice.
4/5
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