I’ve been arguing for a while now in various Arcade Stick features and reviews that the time is now for fans of fighting games to pick up a FightStick. The resurgence of the Fighting genre kicked off by Street Fighter IV is showing no sign of stopping with a veritable barrage of new releases coming this year on top of all the excellent ones already out there.
But, I understand, FightSticks are expensive. They can stretch to be hundreds of dollars, and that’s just too expensive for the casual player. Hori have an answer, though – the EX 2 Fighting Stick.
The EX 2 is cheap, you see. It’s sitting on Amazon UK right now for just over £40, and I’ve seen them in store for even cheaper. Amazon US lists them around the $50 mark – only a smidge above what an extra standard controller would cost.
The EX 2 keeps it simple featuring six face buttons in the traditional Japanese arcade layout for your main action buttons with Start, Select and the other two unrepresented buttons given a place at the head of the stick alongside the guide button. It’s a simple, tiny design, but everything you need is there.
The six-button design is perfect for six-button games like Street Fighter IV, and while that is notably two buttons less than most sticks on the market its worth keeping in mind little is lost without them. Street Fighter IV is a six-button game in arcades, not an eight-button one, and the functions of the final two buttons are achieved on this stick by merely pressing an entire row (either punches or kicks) all at once.
The stick itself is also based off Japanese arcade designs with a loudly clicky Square Gate, and while the buttons and stick are lower quality than those you get in lower end sticks, they’re still very responsive.
The stick manages to be tiny and portable and easily stowed away in your gaming room while also being big enough to give your hands just enough room to breathe when in a match. The design isn’t the prettiest thing in the world, but it isn’t there to be pretty — it’s designed to take a beating when you’re furiously playing Street Fighter or Tekken.
There are reports online of this stick breaking easily, but I’ve taken my time with this review and I can comfortably say that I’ve given it a significant amount of punishment and am yet to see any major issues with it. It is a weaker stick and will undoubtedly take less punishment than those of entirely metal construction, but I can comfortably say I’m satisfied with how this has performed under the duress me and my friends have put it through.
The stick can be modded, but it hasn’t been built with modding in mind like some other sticks in the Hori and Mad Catz line-ups — most people would be best off leaving this stick ‘stock’ and upgrading when they are at the point where they want to customize.
I can’t be clear enough in saying that pretty much everything about this stick is inferior to another stick on the market – but it’s also literally a quarter of the price less than many of those higher quality sticks on the market.
To get a stick that does its job well for this price—even if it is lower quality—is still a great deal. The quality isn’t up there, but as an entry level stick it really doesn’t need to be. If you’re only going to get occasional use out of it or are using this to experiment for the first time, this is deal.
If you’re on a budget or just need a gateway drug to convince you that a stick will improve your game enough to justify one of the more expensive sticks, this is an excellent beginner stick; a perfect first step into the world of arcade sticks.
We don’t score hardware, but the review text will tell you what you need to know. A Hori Wireless Fighting Stick 3 was provided to The Gaming Vault for review purposes.