Review – MadCatz Tekken Tag Tournament 2 FightStick Tournament Edition S (Wii U)
OverviewType: Arcade Sticks, Controllers
+ Unwavering build quality and performance
+ Premium Sanwa buttons and stick are standard
+ No discernable lag
+ Genuine Namco Noir button layout
- No wired option for purists
- Basically only one fighting game on Wii U right now
- No alternate artwork
If you’re a Wii-U fighting game fan and want to be able to have your moves come out precisely and accurately for hundreds or thousands of hours of use, you absolutely cannot go wrong with this stick.
The MadCatz Tekken Tag Tournament 2 FightStick Tournament Edition S for Wii U comes packaged in a thick cardboard box featuring a reworked version of the game box art. Standard to many MadCatz arcade sticks, this one comes held between thick foam molded ends that slide over the sides of the stick and protect the end caps during transport. The box also sports a durable carrying handle so you can use the box to take the FightStick with you without having to pony up for a carrying case.
If you are familiar with the MadCatz FightStick line, you know they are built solidly and widely respected around the fighting game community as a fine and worthwhile investment for any fan. This version is unique in that it is the first for the Nintendo Wii U. The Wii U version has a 3 foot cable hidden behind a storage door on the stick that connects to a Wii Remote. This is the only connection needed to play wirelessly on the Wii U console. While not truly wireless, not having a cable running across the room gives you the freedom to play anywhere in the room without any discernable input-lag.
The original Tournament Edition S (TE-S) had no soft plastic bezel running around the artwork and it had a tendency to tear up your wrists over long periods of play. This version has a gray bezel that allows for comfortable play sessions while also protecting the edges of the artwork from the oils and dirt most players leave on arcade sticks.
Like all other MadCatz TE FightSticks, this features a Sanwa Denshi ball-top joystick and 30mm buttons which hold up to a tremendous amount of use and abuse. Also like other TE FightSticks, you can change these buttons, stick top, or the stick entirely with a minimal amount of work. MadCatz does not support this, but makes it convenient nonetheless. Custom artwork can be added if you purchase a replacement clear plexiglass panel for it to display through. One thing to note in regards to making modifications is that this model features stainless steel screws, which means there is no paint to chip, strip, or scratch if you do choose to open up the hood.
The body of the FightStick S is my personal favorite of all MadCatz FightStick variations. It’s a more compact design than the original Tournament Edition, and this one has a nice touch in frosted semi-translucent main section that lets a bit of light come through. The buttons you would expect are all there: Wii U Home, Plus and Minus buttons, a Turbo selector allowing programmable settings per button, and the remaining Wii U controller buttons laid out in an 8-button Namco Noir arcade cabinet layout. This layout matches the Tekken Tag Tournament 2 arcade layout, but is compatible with any other fighting game that makes its way to the Wii U in the future. There is also a multi-purpose switch that assigns the stick the role of Left Stick, Right Stick, or Directional Pad, as well as a lock switch that prevents accidental pausing of the game during vigorous matches.
The underside of the FightStick is a sturdy metal base with rubber feet so it sits comfortably in your lap or on a table without sliding during gameplay.
The MadCatz Tekken Tag Tournament 2 FightStick is going to give you performance as close to an actual arcade cabinet as you are going to get. There are no cut corners. There are no weak points. From the Sanwa OBSF-30 arcade action buttons to the Sanwa JLF stick to the wireless driver that sends your inputs precisely and with no discernable lag, this is the gold standard in tournament quality fighting game arcade sticks. Some may prefer Seimitsu style buttons or bat-top sticks, but those modifications can all be made with ease and are purely a matter of preference and a lateral change in performance.
As I mentioned before, this configuration is my favorite of all MadCatz Tournament Edition FightStick models. It’s light, comfortable in your lap, and seems to perform just as well at your thousandth match as it did at your first. There is only one flaw I can mention in design for this stick, and it is that this version does not seem to come with the alternate artwork top panel that was included with the Tekken Tag Tournament 2 FightStick versions for PS3 and Xbox 360 for the same price. The artwork that is included is definitely bold and unique in that it looks like the stick busted up and out of the glass and gives the stick a definite aesthetic like it just got pulled from a street brawl.
This being a full-blown tournament quality stick featuring licensed artwork and material might normally allow MadCatz to be able to draw a premium price. MadCatz has instead kept the pricing even across the Wii U, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. The one slightly puzzling aspect to this offering when considering value is the fact that for the same price, the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions are actually Tournament Edition S+ (note the plus) meaning they come with a bit more padding on the bottom and a second plexi-panel on top with alternate artwork. They aren’t wireless, but the Wii U version doesn’t offer a wired mode either. For this, we’ll take the value down a notch but overall if you’re a fighting game fan and want to be able to have your moves come out precisely and accurately for hundreds or thousands of hours of use, you absolutely cannot go wrong with this stick.