PS4 controller VS Fight Stick

Hey guys, i know this question must have been asked a million times already but i think the correct answer depends on the player’s circumstances so please bear with me while i try to explain myself.

I recently have started playing fighting games again after over ten years, havent played since the PS2 era, the last game i played was Mortal Kombat: Deception. I was 14 at the time, always used a PS2 controller and never had an issue with inputs. Now im 26, using a PS4 controller and i tend to miss about 40% of the inputs that require me to move the left analog stick, more if they require a zig-zag motion. At first i didnt understood why, then i realised what the difference between 14 years old me and 26 years old me was, my hands are bigger now so my thumbs just sit awkwardly in the left stick and attack buttons.

So, taking this into consideration would a fight stick help me improve or should i just keep trying with the PS4 controller? If i were to buy a fight stick my budget is around $150 so after doing some research i was thinking on getting the Hori RAP4 Kai.

I have been reacquainting myself with fighting games by playing UMVC3 and Skullgirls (the tutorial in Skullgirls is probably the best one i have ever seen), have been at it for about 2 months now and have gotten a lot better at chaining combos, but as soon as the left stick comes into play i tend to drop them. I feel like im improving at everything except left stick inputs.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Use the DPad.

Tried that at first, it actually went a lot worse than with the analog stick. It was like vid related.

Every arcade stick above the $100 mark is mostly the same. Most of them use sanwa (real arcade) parts or something similar. The main difference between sticks at that price point is color and the shape of the shell. The HRAP 4 Kai is fine.

If the dpad is impossible for you, you only have two options. Practice more with the analog stick or use an alternate controller, like a joystick.

If you switch to joystick there is likely to be a learning curve for you. Some people pick it up quick, some people take a long time. For a while you may actually do worse than you did on pad.

I first started using joystick when I was 10, and didn’t have any problems using it. I know others who never get the hang of it. I personally find joysticks more precise and easier to use, but there are plenty of people (pro players included) who swear by pad and do well. It’s safe to say you won’t have to worry about fat fingers because you don’t move a joystick with your thumb.

If you have the money to spend, why not get a stick and try? If you don’t like it you can always sell it to someone else.

1 Like

Thanks, i think i’ll try the Hori RAP4 Kai, i dont have a problem with spending time trying to learn how to use a fight stick if it helps improve my inputs.

You might consider buying a used stick. These things are pretty much unbreakable anyways.

I’ve been using the ps4 controller for almost a year. I was an xbox gamer and then I switched to PS4 for Street Fighter. When I was playing sf4(not ultra or super) on xbox. I had an arcade stick and I remember how much it upped my game. I made to the higher levels. I was killing it. Not the experience I had starting out in sf5 season 2. I felt I couldn’t do the moves and combos I wanted to do. I felt like I hit a ceiling with what I can do. So I just purchased a Mayflash f300 about a few weeks ago and I’m still adjusting. Be prepared to be upset/frustrated for a minute. It takes awhile to adjust but I don’t remember it taking this long last time. Maybe I’m getting old or just out of practice. I was Silver when I got the stick and got knocked down to bronze and I just made back up to ultra bronze.( And yes I spent a lot of time in casual before I made the grave mistake of diving into ranked match. I thought I was ready and I wasn’t)

I have recently just got back into fighting games especially Street Fighter V, I was also having difficulty with a PS4 control pad, I bought myself a second hand arcade stick (Mad Catz Street Fighter Arcade Stick) which cost me $50, initially there was a learning curve, but playing Street Fighter V (for me), feels so much better with an arcade stick!

Yeah sure, you already don’t have the willpower to improve your inputs on a d-pad, but when you got that magical arcade device for 200 bucks that Daigo wins EVOs with, you’re totally gonna go all out and on the commitment and learn how to play on that.

Sounds like it’s totally going to happen.

Probably works for a few people, but unless you learned playing games in an arcade, it’s probably not the best idea to switch away from the controller you learned playing games on.
Especially in terms of movement an arcade stick has no advantage over a controller. The only advantage you get is that you have bigger buttons and gain easier access to techniques like double tapping, p-linking and pianoing.

Shit like doing uppercuts and 2xqcf motions in SF, backdash cancelling in Tekken or simple back and forward dashing in any game, is tons easier and faster on pad than on stick.

I know it seems that way but i have been at it almost everyday for over 2 months and the only thing i cant improve is my d-pad and analog stick motions. I actually do worse with the d-pad, i end up fat fingering half of the inputs. For example i have been doing the Wolverine UMVC3 missions and the combos tend to end with berserker barrage/berserker slash canceling into berserker barrage x and thats the point when i consistently drop the combo when i have to input the super and hyper moves.

Like I said, just don’t expect the stick making your execution magically better.
It won’t!
It’s just important that you keep on practicing. Slowing down when you get sloppy and keep doing it until you can speed it up.

My thoughts: if it is like you describe, that you are uncomfortable with the small joystick on the ps4 pad because your hands/fingers are too big, a fighting stick would seem like the obvious choice.
If i were you, i would try to check in training mode first tho, is it that your grip/hands feel uncomfortable, what motions you are having problems with, maybe you have picked up a bad habit or possibly your pad has some problems?

I agree with what artvandelay wrote and want to add from my experience: you should know and be prepared, that if you want to get a good execution on a stick, you need to pratice for a long time. If you use a d-pad or even stick on a pad, you only use your thumb to make most movements.
But on a fighting stick, it kind of goes without saying,because they are bigger and have a wider throw range, depending on the direction you are facing in the game, you need to use and train different muscles. If you make the switch and are completly new to a stick, just be prepared to spend time to train your muscle memory (for both sides). Even though i use a stick for about 2 years, i still have problems with some complex inputs that require precise and fast timing and drop them when i face the left side.

In general, I think a arcade stick can be a wonderful thing for fighting games, if you are prepared to commit to playing them for a long time and spend some time every now and then in training mode, practicing at least a bit to improve your execution step by step, you wont be disappointed in the long run.


Just slow down. Practice the movements in a slow precise manner and then slowly speed it up until the game registers. And practice chunking. If there is a specific part in the combo screwing you up, focus on just those inputs and get them down before trying the whole combo.

I am an advocate of stick. I find it more fun to play with. But if the issue you are having is not practicing properly you will just take those practice techniques to the stick.

A quick example of pad being easier though:

A super in SF is 2xQCF. On a pad that is literally pressing down and sliding your thumb onto the forward button, and repeating, that’s it. Its a motion you do all day long on a cellphone. You don’t need to press down, release, down + forward, release, and the forward. And its the same on player 1 or player 2 side.

On a stick from player 2 side, it is a slightly weird gripping motion. If you hold the stick the way I do. It’s simple and you will get it in seconds. From player 1 side it is an awkward flicking motion, sort of like throwing your fingers away from your palm. Simple when you can do it. But it is one of the trickiest motions for a noob stick player to get down.

So if you think learning to slide your thumb on a D-Pad in the exact same manner as you do on a cell phone, is hard. Then don’t even bother looking into getting a stick. Because you wont practice it right and you will get pissed with it and ultimate probably give up all together. After wasting the money.

Lastly, don’t bother with those combos if they are tripping you up. Just ignore them. Play what you can and you will naturally get better, simply playing. Then when you want to give it a shot again, you can try the harder combos. At some point you will be able to do them. No need to force yourself to do everything now. And at the end of it you will be a better player because you followed the natural progression of things.

Lastly lastly, stop using the analog on your controller. Its horrible. If you feel like you are doing better with it and keep using it, you are screwing yourself in the long run. Use the D-Pad, and learn to do it properly. Just brake the analogue off the remote and forget it was ever there. Its imprecise even in the hands of super skilled players.

If OP wants to try arcade stick I think he should.

While it’s true using stick isn’t going to improve his execution, it is definitely DIFFERENT.

With stick you use your wrist and forearm to do motions. With pad you use your thumb. If he has trouble with d-pads and analog sticks because his thumbs are large or in the way, then an arcade stick may help.

Yes, you have to work hard to get good execution – but maybe he would PREFER or be more COMFORTABLE putting in that work while using stick.

Dude you seem to have a huge problem with people who want to pick up stick when they’ve never used it before. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen you comment like this. What’s wrong with someone wanting to learn stick? I never used a stick (besides the rare trip to the arcade as a kid) until around the time SF5 came out. I got really good with it and now I’m playing on Hitbox. It doesn’t matter if you’d played on pad all your life. It would take me longer on pad to learn how to do instant air gales and teleports with Sim than it took me on Hitbox, I know because I’ve tried. Some control mechanisms are just easier to master. If someone wants to give another one a shot… I say why not?

1 Like

Mixbox ?

the keyed directional input seems potentially more natural than that of a Joystick.