For some time, if you wanted a quality fight stick, you HAD to make your own. Here in the U.S., some companies made fight sticks, but rarely are they up to snuff in comparison to arcade sticks. With the release of Street Fighter IV in 2009, one of the bigger accessory manufacturers in the USA, Mad Catz, finally realized they had to look at how the Japanese make quality fight sticks rather than using subpar parts. This resulted in the creation of the Mad Catz Tournament Edition arcade stick (AKA the “TE stick”) which quickly became THE tournament fight stick.
Other companies have tried to compete with Mad Catz, but still haven't taken away market share from them. Why not? I believe it's because they're not offering anything more than the Mad Catz TE stick nor are they significantly cheaper with the same quality. That was until Eightarc jumped in. Eightarc is going directly after Mad Catz by offering a feature that Mad Catz is unable to offer: dual-modding. Eightarc partnered up with Chinese arcade stick maker Qanba to create a line of fight sticks. For review, we look at the the dual-modded Eightarc Fusion stick.
All the Quality - With its Sanwa stick and buttons, the Eightarc Fusion feels no different than the Mad Catz TE stick. Give this stick to any fighting game player, and they won't notice the difference. The stick has the right amount of resistance and the buttons are very responsive, as one would expect with the use of quality parts. Also, the Eightarc stick has an inch smaller width and length than the Mad Catz TE stick, while still providing a large enough space to keep the stick stable while playing.
The Power of Dual-Modding - The dual-modded feature is the big selling point of the Eightarc Fusion and for good reason. For those unfamiliar with the term, dual-modding a stick refers to modifying the wiring of the stick so that it can be recognized by both a Xbox 360 and a PS3. PS3 devices are also recognized by Windows, allowing the stick to be used on a Windows PC as well. For tournament players, this is a big deal due to different tournaments using different consoles. For example, when I ran game tournaments, I used the Xbox 360 because that system was more easily accessible in large quantities. On the other hand, if you've gone to Evo - the largest fighting game tournament in the world - these past few years you would have to play on a PS3 thus requiring you to go on the search for a PS3 stick if yours was Xbox 360 only. The options available to avoid this predicament were to buy 1 stick for each system or dual-mod a stick from a local modder for $30-50. With the Eightarc Fusion, that is situation is no longer a problem because both consoles will recognize the stick without any worries nor any difference in performance. Also, since the stick is built for the purpose of dual-modding, you don't have to remap the buttons to switch the stick from 360 to PS3. Plug it in and prepare to fight, regardless of what console you’ll be playing on.
ALL STICKS ARE NOT THE SAME
Not Everything is Perfect - There's a few small problems with the Eightarc Fusion in comparison to the TE stick. These problems are SMALL, but still deserve a quick mention. When I have my Eightarc plugged into my 360, I can't turn on my 360 via the stick, which was something I could do with my Mad Catz stick. Not just that, when I turn my 360 on and the stick is plugged in, it won't come on right away. I have to unplug and plug the stick back in to get it to turn on, again something I didn't see with my TE stick. Also, the Eightarc Fusion does have a mic input, but for some reason, it seems to be amped put to 11 because it blows up the ears of my online buddies. These little issues are hardly dealbreakers, but these are some small inconveniences.
We come down to the big question: Should you buy the Eightarc Fusion over the Mad Catz TE stick? If you are a player that goes to tournaments on a regular basis, then yes. It has quality parts, and the built-in dual-modding is worth the extra money. Casual players that only play on one console may not feel the need to get a dual-modded stick, but the Eightarc Fusion is still well worth the price.
*This review was based on a review sample provided by the manufacturer.*