Third-party controllers have the tendency to be terrible, they break easily and so forth. So how does the Mad Catz Official Street Fighter IV FightPad for Xbox 360 fare? Amazingly well: especially considering Mad Catz’s track record as of late with putting out crappy accessories like console skins, controller skins and substandard controllers.
The FightPad has an interesting shape; it reminds me of the revised Sega Genesis controller. One of the first things anyone will notice about the FightPad is the lack of analog sticks. This is because the FightPad is for fighting games, where analog sticks are almost never needed. But that isn’t to say it doesn’t have analog stick functionality.
On the back of the controller there is a switch that allows you to set the D-Pad as the D-Pad, left analog stick or right analog stick. This feature is useful for playing games that may otherwise be incompatible with a digital controller.
People who play fighting games on the Xbox 360 know all too well just how horrendous the D-Pad is on a standard controller. However, the FightPad D-Pad feels solid and very sturdy. It’s not perfect (I still have trouble sometimes, pulling off Hadoukens – down, down forward, forward+Punch), but it’s a massive improvement over the standard D-Pad.
Another stand-out feature is that the right bumper and trigger are on the front as opposed to on the top of the controller. This gives the FightPad a more arcade feel and provides a 6-button layout popular with fighting game fans. It also gives physically disabled gamers more access, which is huge plus.
As far as applications/tests go, I’ve been able to test the FightPad with Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, Soul Calibur IV, and Bionic Commando: Rearmed (I can’t find my copy of Ninja Gaiden II). In all three titles it worked flawlessly, save for some Hadouken attempts in SSF2THDR.
The only real con I can see about the FightPad is the Turbo button. For some reason, I can’t get it to work by holding it down for a few seconds as stated in the manual.
The Mad Catz Official Street Figher IV FightPad is a surprisingly well-built third-party controller and quite helpful for physically disabled gamers because it provides easier access to two shoulder buttons.
Brian’s Note: Though we reviewed this wired controller on the Xbox 360, it is also available for the PlayStation 3. It is available in five editions featuring the characters Ken, Ryu, Chun-Li, Blanka and Akuma. Unfortunately, in Canada, the FightPad is available exclusively at EB Games at the jacked-up price of $59.99.