Unless your heavy into Japanese culture you probably have little to no idea who Sanrio is, luckily I'm on board for this review. So let's have a brief history lesson shall we. Sanrio is a Japanese company founded in 1960 that focuses on the totemo kawaii (lovable, adorable, cute) demographic of Japanese culture. This brief explanation probably doesn't say much, but I'm fairly confident that you've seen their mascot, Hello Kitty. This collector's item I'm about to review is extremely limited and it's a beauty. For its 25th year anniversary Capcom decided to team up with Mad Catz and Sanrio thus the Street Fighter x Sanrio Arcade Fightstick Pro for the Playstation 3 (also available for the Xbox 360) was born. This is probably the most unlikely and strangest pairing you'll ever see in gaming and it's being marketed towards one of the most hardcore of communities - the fighting game community.
At first glance you'll notice that the bright hot pink cabinet is eye popping and will attract stares. You'll then notice the beautiful artwork, which features iconic Sanrio characters dressed as Street Fighter characters. You have Badtz-Maru as Ryu, Kerokerokeroppi as Blanka, Tuxedo Sam as E.Honda, and my favorite Hello Kitty as Chun-Li, just to name a few. Each Sanrio character fits perfectly into their Street Fighter roles.
Don't let the cute characters on the stick or the bright colors fool you, this is still a well built fight stick akin to the Super Street Fighter IV stick. The slanted armrest makes extended use comfortable while also providing ample space to place your arms and hands; this also allows for an ample varying amount of hand positioning and play styles. Mad Catz employs its sturdy and build quality while keeping the stick light at less than five pounds.
The stick has the standard set of features:
- 8-button layout with multi-speed turbo functionality
- Authentic Sanwa Denshi joystick and buttons all authentic Japanese
- A 13ft USB connection cable with a storage component.
- Durable metal base with removable screws for easy access to components.
At first I was hesitant to actually use this collectors stick, but for the sake of our readers I went ahead and put this beaut through a gaming gauntlet. Over 40 hours of gameplay which included, countless rounds of Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition 2012, Persona 4: Arena, Mortal Kombat, Skull Girls, Contra, and Metal Slug. Mortal Kombat was the only game that caused any issues. Unlike the rest of the fighters we tested Mortal Kombat has an actual block button. Using the default controller settings posed an issue, but after some adjustments it was fully playable.
The stick holds up really well and took quite the beating; I can be a bit heavy handed, and not once I felt like the Sanwa Denshi buttons couldn't take it. I also did notice that the joystick is a bit longer than the Super Street Fighter TE sticks, which makes performing quarter circles and 360's much easier.
If you're a big Sanrio and/or Capcom fan, then the Street Fighter X Sanrio Arcade Fightstick Pro is made just for you; it has beautiful artwork, attracts attention, yet it's a well-built stick for hardcore fighting fans. My only complaint is the buttons are all black which offsets the sticks' brightness. Fortunately the Xbox 360 version does have the multi-color button scheme. The truth is I have fallen in love with the sticks whimsy, kudos to Mad Catz for putting together another winner.