Review – eightarc Arcade Sticks

So depending on whether you may know me in person or not, it may or may not come as a surprise that I’m a fan of fighting games. As such, I’m always on the lookout for news updates concerning the overall fighting gamer community, be it news on new releases or exciting new products that come out. This is one of the latter. Today, I have a review for you guys of the PS3 Pearl and PS3/360/PC Fusion arcade sticks by eightarc.

eightarc is a company that is based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, which makes them close to my heart really since that’s where I currently reside and naturally have a soft spot for the home team. The location is one thing though, as you can tell immediately from looking at the PS3 Pearl model that there are some definite differences between eightarc’s arcade sticks and the more prevalent Mad Catz TE’s and Hori sticks. This model clearly wears its “Pearl” moniker proudly with an all white coloring with the exceptions of the mirrored parts, logo and button labels. The case is made of a combination of plastic and Medium-density fibreboard (or MDF), which gives it a sturdy, durable feeling without feeling heavy at all. It also comes in the Ebony and Onyx models. One of the most easily noticeable differences between this and other sticks is the placement of the Start/Select/Home/Turbo buttons. Most other sticks have them on the face but the Pearl and its ilk have them placed on the side of the stick. It looks a bit odd at first but I assure you, they’re recessed enough that you won’t accidentally push anything in the heat of battle and, you know, disqualify the hell out of yourself in a tournament setting.

Another innovation that this stick bears that most others don’t is the detachable USB cable. As you can tell from the picture, a¬†player is able to conveniently remove the cord and put the whole lot if it in their pocket or bag or what not and doesn’t have to scramble to wind up how ever many feet of cable after finishing a round at a tournament and jam it back into the dedicated compartment. It’s also a good, solid connection so you don’t have to worry about accidentally or suddenly jerking the connection free from the stick. A lot of attention to detail was clearly put into the engineering of this and I personally like this feature a lot and applaud its inclusion in the controller’s design. My personal favorite feature this stick offers is the felt-lined bottom base. While most sticks only have rubber feet and smooth metal or plastic bottoms, the eightarc sticks all have a felt lining that keeps the stick in place when it’s being heavily used in the one place most players rest the controller while using it: their laps. This is a brilliant feature that contributes to the already quality performance of the stick by removing the whole “readjustment” factor while in game or even by helping prevent executional errors by someone just trying to keep the stick still. Also as a side note, I have a lot of friends who are on the shorter side that really appreciate this feature for obvious reasons, so once again, good on ya, eightarc!

Now of course, the most important factor of all: how does the stick handle? Well, its multitude of innovations combined with excellent construction and the inclusion of Sanwa parts make it look amazing on paper and I’m happy to report that it definitely lives up to the high quality standards that the stick has set for itself just by LOOKING the way it does. The stick is very responsive over a multitude of games (tested on Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Tekken 5) and displays and is comparable to the various Mad Catz TE sticks. Special moves, combos, supers, FADC’s, DHC’s, links, P-Links and every other nuance and subtle command can be executed seamlessly and smoothly (barring extreme user error or in my case, ineptitude, haha).

The multi-console-ready Fusion stick is equally as impressive looking with a few differences. Firstly, it has an all plastic case construction, making this one feel more akin to the TE Stick. It sports a slick, mirrored finish and as you can see, all the buttons are on the face and well out of the way of being mistakenly hit. The other thing of note is that the cord IS attached to the Fusion stick and is hidden away in a compartment not on the front of the base but one the left (joystick) side of the case. This placement seems kind of strange but there’s enough slack in the cable that it’s not a problem in the slightest. The system selector switch is just as responsive as all the other parts on the stick and seamlessly transitions between one platform to the next. Additionally, there’s a headphone jack on the bottom left part of the base that easily accommodates any of the popular headphone models that come with microphones, similar to the Qanba Q4-RAF, which is unsurprising since eightarc has partnered with Qanba. Despite the differences, this stick retains the quality internal parts, felt base and high performance that are bound to become eightarc trademarks.

eightarc has also introduced new arcade sticks to their inventory in the form of multiple new Qanba sticks and the Pearl and very limited Sapphire versions of the Fusion; the latter of which is constructed with Seimitsu parts over Sanwa parts, which offer customers a choice of parts. This Sapphire has long since sold out but the eightarc website still has several options for console specific and dual-modded arcade sticks.¬†Overall, I’m very impressed with the incredible amount of options in the various lines of eightarc arcade sticks. The company is definitely on the mark and is quite poised to become a serious contender in the industry. Make sure to stop by http://www.eightarc.com to see the other products they offer, from replacement buttons and joystick tops to t-shirts.

And for the curious, you can check out my video review of these sticks on my YouTube channel right here. I also put up other random odds and ends on there and I usually update the blog and the channel at the same time so stay tuned.

– Evo out

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