27th Jul2017

‘Venom Arcade Fight Stick’ Review

by Phil Wheat

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Arcade sticks. A peripheral that is usually reserved for the more hardcore gamer – the kind that knows their Sanwa from their Sanyo… Made primarily for those of use, myself included, who love the control the combination of stick and buttons that only an arcade stick can provide. But with the proliferation of gamepad’s with dual analog stick controls, the need for arcade-style joystick control has waned for the gaming public at large – making arcade sticks somewhat [even more] niche today.

However the arcade stick has always had something of a problem: cross-compatibility. How many of us had one arcade stick for the Wii (Tatsunokuo vs Capcom anyone?), one for the PS3 and another for the Xbox 360? Fair enough, a lot of the big fighting franchises had their own arcade sticks bundled with their games: Streetfighter, Tekken, etc., and that’s why we got so many. But other than the recent Tekken 7, how many current gen fighters have come with an arcade stick? And how many arcade sticks are compatible with ALL the features of ALL the games consoles?

Say hello the the Venom Arcade Fighting Stick.

Adverised as compatible with Sony’s PS3 and PS4, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Xbox One AND PC’s, the Venom Arcade Fight Stick is, seemingly, the most versatile arcade stick on the market – easily replacing any and all sticks you might already have. But there is a catch… More on that later.

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Getting the Venom Arcade Fighting Stick out of the box and there’s one thing that strikes you. This stick is small. Well, at least smaller than a number of fight sticks I’ve used before and much smaller than the recent Tekken 7 stick that was released alongside the game. But the size does not affect the performance or feel of Venom’s stick in the slightest. The buttons are well spaced, there’s plenty of area to rest you hands and there’s plenty of room to get your wiggle on with the stick itself without fear of smacking your hands together! Yet for all it’s compactness, the Venom Arcade Fighting Stick still has a decent amount of heft to it – which means, be it on your knees or on a hard surface, this stick is not going anywhere – well unless you throw it across the room in sheer frustration at getting beaten by whichever over-powered, badly-weighted character you happen to be struggling with that day!

The stick comes with a standard 30mm 8-button layout and there is the option, should you be a truly hardcore gamer or arcade stick aficionado, to replace the buttons with Sanwa branded 30mm buttons. Yes, this IS Sanwa compatible and yes, is is easy to swap out both buttons AND stick, should you desire. Me? I was actually rather happy with the feel and response of the supplied hardware.

Now back to that aforementioned “catch.”

Whilst the Venom Arcade Fighting Stick puportedly works plug-and-play fashion with the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, a la a myriad of other arcade sticks; getting it to work with the PS4 and Xbox One requires a little workaround. Yes, the massive cross-platform compatibility comes at a cost… When opening the box for this stick you may have noticed a rogue micro USB cable. What’s that for? Well to get this arcade stick to work with the two big current-gen consoles you have to connect the arcade stick to the consoles control pad via the USB cable and the port on the back of the base!

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[Side note: Connecting the Venom Arcade Fight Stick to the PS4 this way was a breeze, but getting it to work with our Xbox 360 E? That was another story… Despite spending over half an hour trying various ports, various times of connection, various settings on the stick, it would NOT be recognised at all… So, as the saying goes, YMMV!]

Now anyone whose experienced gaming with a gamepad on Nintendo’s Wii will be well-versed in the idea of connecting one controller to another; and whilst is not that big of a deal here, it does mean that you have to be a little wary of being too rough with the arcade stick and the USB cable untethering. The big question is, what does that mean for multiplayer games? What if you only have one Xbox One or PS4 controller (those things are EXPENSIVE)? You can’t use the Venom Arcade Fighting Stick without one, so that may mean also forking out another £40 on a second controller on top of the RRP of this unit to be able to play with your friends.

The Venom Arcade Fighting Stick is available now from Amazon.

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