When we were children, my sister and I used to go to the local arcade and play Tekken for hours. We were amazed by its visuals and how easy it was for even beginners to pick up and play, at least initially. As the years went by, we stopped going there but our love for video games continued. The joystick was replaced by sophisticated controllers and that became the norm. While it’s unclear why we stopping going, there’s still something magical about grasping a joystick and mashing oversized buttons. It’s a trip down memory lane and triggers immense nostalgia. All of those positive memories keep rushing back when you hold an arcade fight stick. While Venom’s peripheral may have slight issues, the feeling you experience when pressing its buttons and rotating the joystick is what makes it.
Recently, many amazing fighting games have hit the market, especially on Xbox One. Killer Instinct is absolutely phenomenal and has been going strong for years. Despite its frame rate fluctuations on Xbox One, Mortal Kombat X is also a lot of fun. However, Injustice 2 and Tekken 7 seem to be the main attractions at the moment. While Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite might dethrone both of these titles, no one is complaining about the options available to those who love fighting games. This is the year to purchase an arcade fight stick because not only is it easier to pull off specific moves, but you’ll have more fun doing it!
Venom’s Arcade Fight Stick is a bulky beast but it’s not heavy by any stretch of the imagination. Its design is clearly inspired by traditional arcade cabinets. Even the feel of the buttons is exactly how gamers will remember them. Some fight sticks don’t take that into account but I’m glad Venom got the feel right. The peripheral can comfortably be placed in a gamer’s lap but I found myself using it on a small coffee table which sits in front of my television. In both scenarios, the Arcade Fight Stick didn’t move and offered a stable experience. The rather long cable also helps in placing it anywhere.
When I play traditional fighting games with a controller, I always find it difficult to pull off precise maneuvers. Call me sloppy but I need a greater travel distance on the thumbstick. It’s also hard for me to press certain combinations of buttons with my thumb. Even though I have an Xbox Elite Controller, it’s still hard because I keep accidentally pushing the paddles in the back in the heat of the moment. It’s safe to say that finesse isn’t really my forte. Venom’s Arcade Fight Stick offers exactly what I want. I can grab the joystick with my left hand and move it in a forceful manner. I can place multiple fingers on the large buttons on the right side to pull off all the moves I couldn’t accomplish with even the Xbox Elite Controller. Instead of having to focus on how to gently move my left thumb during a match, I can just focus on the gameplay. That’s the way I played fighting games growing up and that’s the way I can play them again using the Arcade Fight Stick.
However, not everything about the product is that great. At £60 it’s not exactly inexpensive. There are other devices available on the market for less than half the price. We’ve tested arcade fight sticks made by Lioncast and they offer a similar experience but feel flimsy. The ones manufactured by Hori are more expensive but definitely have a slightly more premium feel due to the plastic they use. Venom’s effort is sort of the middle ground but it feels slightly “cheap” due to the feel of the plastic. It just doesn’t evoke that premium sense when you touch it even though it’s robust. Maybe changing the texture would’ve helped.
Additionally, the washer-like piece between the body of the Arcade Fight Stick and the joystick can be readily moved and sometimes rattles when you’re playing vigorously. This is an unnecessary annoyance which could’ve easily been fixed. The bottom is made of metal so there are no complaints there. I just wish the overall feel of the device was a little better given its price.
The main reason for consumers to pick up a Venom Arcade Fight Stick has to be the fact that it works with various platforms. Yes, you can plug it into an Xbox One, PlayStation 4 or even a PC and it’ll work. We were able to try this with an Xbox One S, PlayStation 4 Pro and a Razer Blade Stealth and experienced no problems whatsoever. It’s somewhat remarkable because beforehand I used to buy individual fight sticks for all of my consoles and had to sell them for pennies when a new generation of devices hit. Here, I just have to purchase one and it works no matter where I want to play. The freedom it offers plays a large part in its appeal. Before I forget, it also works with Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3!
I don’t have a set console where I want to play certain games. I play Injustice 2 on a PlayStation 4 Pro and Tekken 7 on an Xbox One. I also play some smaller fighting games on my Razer Blade Stealth. This peripheral doesn’t limit me in any way. That’s what I truly love about it.
If you’re in the market for a new arcade fight stick because of the influx of these types of games, I would recommend that you choose Venom’s product. While it might not be as sophisticated as Hori’s endeavors, the fact that it’s compatible with every main console out demonstrates the company’s consumer-friendly approach. The Arcade Fight Stick will last you a very long time and it’s definitely worth it over less expensive alternatives. As sacrilegious as it sounds, I would go as far as to say that I prefer it over more expensive models due to the convenience it offers.