Mortal Kombat Fight Stick Review
PDP creates the definitive arcade experience
for fans of the series, competitive players, and collectors.
April 19, 2011
by Scott Lowe
This year, Mortal Kombat
returns to its violent, 2D fighting game roots with the ninth
installment in its nearly 20-year history, aptly dubbed Mortal
Kombat. To celebrate the game's rich lineage and its new
beginnings, developer NetherRealm Studios
enlisted the help of PDP to craft the first official Mortal Kombat
fighting stick, which recalls the franchise's original arcade cabinets
with its wood framework, competition-grade components, and officially
Priced at $129.99 individually and $149.99 when bundled with the game,
the Mortal Kombat Fight
is competitively priced and geared toward collectors, fans of
the franchise, and fighting game purists, but casual players may have a
hard time wrapping their heads around the cost and the added living room
For those with the appropriate level of interest and expendable income,
however, the Mortal Kombat Fight Stick is just about as good as it gets.
In terms of build materials, the Mortal Kombat Fight Stick strays away
from the plastic casing used by most competing arcade sticks, and
instead uses wooden framework. Though this certainly adds more weight to
design, PDP did a great job of offsetting the impact on the user
through balanced distribution and soft padding on the bottom panel. It
is also considerably taller than other fighting sticks, which makes
storage a little more difficult, but gives players the benefit of having
large, angled gaming surface and some extra storage capacity via the
Though the storage compartment is good for storing two or three games or
a USB memory stick with your profile on it, it isn't large enough to
accommodate a full-sized controller, due primarily to the clear plastic
casing that shows off and protects the wiring and components of the
joystick and buttons. Of course, adding more storage capacity would have
also added more weight and bulk.
The only other issue I found with the flip-up compartment was the
latching mechanism, which can be unnecessarily difficult to open. Though
you slide it to the open position, it's sometimes tricky to know when
it's finally released the lid. It's hardly enough to call a critical
issue, but definitely worth noting.
Instead of using a hardwired USB cable, PDP was wise to use a USB to
mini USB cable, which allows you to easily remove and store the cable.
After I published my initial
, many IGN users complained about the device's lack of
wireless support, but since fighting sticks are inherently geared toward
the competitive community, wired solutions are preferred to avoid
To that end, the Mortal Kombat Fight Stick's control configuration,
performance, and components should please the passionate fighting game
community. The design utilizes genuine Suzo-Happ arcade cabinet
components, including the traditional Mortal Kombat control layout with
Both the buttons and the joystick have a distinct springiness to them,
which feels just like the old school Mortal Kombat arcade cabinets. The
buttons are all labeled, but the functions of each can be manually
reconfigured within the game. While the ability to personalize the
controls is handy, by default the game is already pre-loaded with the
NetherRealm-sanctioned configuration for use with the Fight Stick.
Since this is the first official arcade stick for Mortal Kombat and a
significant deviation from traditional fighting game button
configurations, there is definitely a lengthy learning period before
most players will become proficient with it. Moreover, there are new
aspects of the gameplay, such as the X-Ray Mode combos, which require
users to tap two buttons simultaneously.
Still, if you give yourself time to settle in with the Fight Stick, it
starts to feel natural.
Once you get comfortable, the Fight Stick really starts to shine. The
joystick and the action buttons are extremely responsive, detecting
depressions and directional commands with 1:1 accuracy. Throughout my
testing, I never noticed a single missed button press or character
movement, though admittedly the joystick's fluid motion as compared to
more rigid fight sticks requires a greater degree of control.
In the end, the Mortal Kombat Fight Stick is up there with Mad Catz's
Tournament Edition FightSticks in terms of quality and performance, and
is certainly a worthy investment for fans of the series and passionate
fighting game players.
joystick and buttons are springy and responsive, detecting depressions
and directional commands with 1:1 accuracy. The joystick is a little
loose, but easy to adapt to.
arcade-style wood casing is top-notch, but adds extra bulk and weight.
$129.99 or $149.99 bundled with the game, it is a competively priced
fighting stick, but it may still be too pricey for casual players.