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The Hori Fighting Stick is an excellent piece of equipment, that I never realised I needed until I had it. It came as an unexpected present from my better half as I'd been picking up a few fighting games, and while I wasn't completely awful at them, I was hardly an ace. In fact, I'm still not an ace with it, it's not going to turn you into a pro overnight, but using it has certainly improved my game. Put simply, because your 'button' hand is spread over the buttons, with the potential to press five buttons at a time rather than one with a thumb, and because the stick itself is so responsive, it allows you to react to situations far quicker than you would be able to with a pad.
The stick is compatible with all games - so you don't need to check if it works or not. However it's really only advisable for fighting games and perhaps old 2D platformers, as it only has a digital D-Pad replacement stick, and no analog stick. All the buttons from the PS3 pad are included here, which is great news because I like to use the shoulder buttons, and some fighting sticks use only 6 buttons. The stick connects via USB, is very sturdily built and can really take a hammering. It also includes three levels of turbo if you're that way inclined, but for its intended use of fighters, I'm not sure how much use it is.
The only real problem I had, and it's no fault of the stick, is that I found it really hard to adjust to on my favourite fighter, Tekken. I've been playing it since the original Tekken and as such have apparently become so accustomed to the pad that the stick was difficult to get used to. For newer games that I wasn't such a pro at, like Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter or Soul Calibur, I found that the stick improved my game by orders of magnitude. I went to a friend's to play Street Fighter and used his pads, and I found that the game wasn't as responsive as I remembered and occasionally the characters just wouldn't do what I wanted. This, I think, is testament to how great this stick really is.
In sumarry, I'd say that if you've become something of a pro at a game with a pad, then this stick might throw you off somewhat. However, if you're a gamer who has a few fighters and could do with improving your game, then this is your answer. It's fantastically responsive and robust, and I really recommend it if you're a fighting fan.