With a number of great fighting game titles recently launching, the discussion regarding arcade sticks has come back into full force, especially in regards to newer consoles. For those looking for a competitive edge, arcade fight sticks can provide a level of precision and customization that regular controllers cannot, and although an arcade stick has a high learning curve, many find that the hand positions are more natural for fighting games when utilizing an arcade stick. There are a number of different options available for arcade sticks, but for those looking for high quality controllers, and who are looking to spend more to acquire top-end hardware, this article focuses on excellent arcade fight sticks that are quite expensive but exceptionally made. Whether you’re looking for a specific console or to ladder on PC, this article will help you make the selection that best fits your needs.
This arcade stick is officially licensed by Sony from the legendary controller manufacturer Hori, making it one of the best for the system. The Fighting Edge comes stock with Hori’s proprietary Hayabusa buttons and joystick, both of which are specifically designed to optimize inputs for fighting games. The joystick, for example, has been engineered to increase responsiveness vastly superior to that of a regular controller’s D-pad, while the buttons are beveled to reduce the physical distance needed to engage the switch itself. The increase in precision and speed with the joystick and buttons respectively makes this stick exceptional for PS4 titles, and is also adaptable for PC.
Similar to the Fighting Edge for the Playstation 4, there is a high-end arcade stick for the Nintendo Switch with Hori parts as well. This controller has the same impressive Hayabusa joystick and buttons, but with a slightly different design, foregoing the brushed aluminum top panel. Even so, the Real Arcade Pro V is arguably even more important for competitive fighting games on the Switch than the Fighting Edge is for the Playstation 4, not only because the RAP V is the first competitive arcade stick ever for the console, but also because the native Switch controller is so inappropriate for competitive fighting games that the increase in performance is much greater moving to this controller than moving from a standard PS4 controller to the Fighting Edge.
This Razer arcade stick offers another great high-end controller for tournament play. Compatible with PS4 and PC, the Razer Panthera utilizes 10 buttons and a joystick from Sanwa Denshi, another world-leading manufacturer of controllers generally and arcade stick components specifically. This arcade stick is perfectly competitive in stock condition, but is intentionally designed to allow modifications to be made to the joystick, buttons, or case. Boasting impressive reviews, the Panthera serves as another example of an expensive controller that delivers on great quality.
If you want a high-end arcade stick that’s compatible with multiple platforms, or even specifically compatible with generations of the Xbox, then the Kingtop fight stick is an excellent option. The joystick and 8 buttons of the Kingtop controller are all designed for competitive play, while the case itself has rubber feet for stabilization and a compartment for storing cords. This controller is significantly less expensive than the other products discussed, but with that reduction in price comes a lack of either the Hori or Sanwa name brand, and, although the Kingtop arcade stick is multi-functional and very competitive, it does not carry quite the same top of the line feel to it that the others do.
Without cost as a constraint, there are a number of exceedingly well crafted arcade fight sticks available for any of the consoles you may play on. Each console limits your options somewhat, but many of the internal components are either the same or of the same merit across licensed controllers. When you need an edge to push your play past that of the competition, these arcade sticks will not disappoint.