After what many though would never be, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars has finally made the tripe stateside, giving non-Japanese fans a taste of Capcom’s latest crazed crossover fighter. But the game holds deeper meaning for Wii users, as its also the first AAA competitive fighting game for their console, and the inclusion of online multiplayer guarantees that global domination could come down to who’s packing the quickest fingers – and the best hardware. Leave it to Mad Catz to once again help bring Capcom’s arcade-style action home with the officially-branded Tatsunoko vs. Capcom FightStick, a more-than-capable companion piece to the game and the first real fighting peripheral for the Wii.
Fans of the last Capcom/Mad Catz collaboration for the release of Street Fighter IV will remember the care and loving finesse of that stick, and here Mad Catz essentially carries over that classic design and performance to the Wii’s version. There are a few noticeable differences, such as sporting a matte finish top panel emblazoned with a Tatsunoko vs. Capcom theme, unlike the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3’s glossy finish. The stick also feels heavier, although no uncomfortably so, and will probably surprise players who may not expect such heft from so innocuous a controller. Even the control interface suitably matches the distinct light blue/white scheme of the console itself and looks great.
On the surface lay the basic essentials, with the smaller, Japanese-style joystick and eight surface buttons laid out in familiar fashion. Also included is turbo-activation selector and a switch that turns the joystick into a left or right analog stick (in case you need that sort of thing). There’s also a new locking feature, which could help you from accidently changing your setting during play, and the the +/- buttons have been moved to the rear.
Set-up couldn’t be easier, as the FightStick itself plugs directly into the Wiimote’s bottom port, essentially mimicking the functions of Nintendo’s own Classic Controller, and gives it the distinction of being the only true wireless arcade stick from Mad Catz. Those worried about latency needn’t fret, as I wasn’t able to detect any lag or communication delays whatsoever, and the extra-long cord of the stick itself should help keep players from tripping over the tethered Wiimote. There stick also doesn’t affect the Wiimote’s battery life, at least not in any discernable ways, so there should be plenty of long and intense sessions between fresh battery swaps.
Despite feeling a bit stiffer than previous editions, the performance didn’t lag behind its bigger FightStick cousins in the least, with the same responsiveness and durability of its console cousins. Playing Tatsunko vs. Capcom felt instantly better and more natural, as you’d expect from having a real joystick and larger buttons to access. I was able to perform some of the game’s more intricate (and bizarre) combos with ease, and while the stick does give off the same clicking noises of other home arcade units, its a small price to pay for gaining a true competitive edge that a standard Wiimote (or even Classic Controller) simply can’t provide.
As there aren’t many arcade-style fighters to choose from on the Wii, my testing was limited to playing its namesake game, Guilty Gear, The King of Fighters Collection, as well as several Virtual Console games I’d downloaded. The stick performed flawlessly on all, and I’ve read reports online that its even capable with the dubious world of homebrew emulators and the like.
If you’re even thinking about being competitive in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, or any future fighting game franchises that might appear on the Wii, you’ll have to get yourself the right equipment, and that’s just what you’ll be getting with Mad Catz’s Tatsunoko vs. Capcom FightStick. Stylish and easy to use, the use of Japanese-style controls guarantees that you’ll be pulling off hadokens and those massive combos easier than ever, and direct compatibility with all current and future fighting games on the platform (however slim) means you’re also investing in the future. The sticker-price is on par with similar arcade solutions, but the true enthusiast knows that comes with the competitive territory.
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