Arcade sticks are big joysticks with rows of buttons on a flat surface to emulate the arcade experience, and they’re beloved by fighting game enthusiasts. Fightpads put the same controls into a gamepad configuration, offering more portability and a lower price. There are plenty of arcade sticks on the market, but fightpads are a relatively rare breed. We’ve looked at the Hori Fighting Commander, the Razer Raion, and now the PowerA Fusion Wired FightPad. This $59.99 controller is pricier than the $39.99 Fighting Commander, but not nearly as expensive as the $99.99 Raion. It’s responsive, features a good direction pad (vital for fighting games), and provides all the controls you need to play both fighting and classic arcade games.
The Fusion looks and feels very similar to the Hori Fighting Commander, with a wide, flat, dog bone shape featuring a single circular direction pad with a prominent plus shape for the cardinal directions on the left, and six face buttons (A/B/X/Y/RB/RT) on the right. I tested the Xbox One model, but the controller is also available for the Nintendo Switch and the PlayStation 4.
The Guide button sits in the center of the gamepad, flanked by Menu and Back buttons. A three-way switch sits below the Guide button, letting you choose whether the direction pad sends inputs as the digital direction pad or the left or right analog sticks. Four shoulder buttons (LB/LT/RB/RT) sit on the top of the gamepad, with a sliding switch next to the right pair of buttons that lets you choose between the four functioning typically, or with the left pair serving as L3/R3 and the right pair serving as LB/LT, since RB/RT are already present as face buttons.
The controls feel comfortable under the thumbs, though the direction pad is a little mushy when compared with the fantastic, clicky direction pad on the Razer Raion. The face buttons also feel slightly soft, and aren’t quite as large and satisfying to press as the buttons on the Fighting Commander. The Fusion definitely feels closer to the Fighting Commander than the Raion in build quality, which makes sense considering the price.
Cable and Faceplate
The faceplate of the Fusion is removable, and you can swap the default black plate out with the included white or gray faceplates to suit your tastes. The faceplate attaches magnetically, and sits very securely on the controller; I had to wedge a dime under the faceplate to pry it off and switch it out.
This is a wired gamepad, like the Fighting Commander and Raion, and comes with a lengthy 10-foot cable. The cable is wrapped in fabric and features a quick-release connector a few inches down from the USB plug, so if you yank too hard or get tripped up, the cable will come apart harmlessly instead of damaging your console. The cable is also removable, with a micro USB connector that features a snap-in plug to keep it locked in place in the gamepad. Unlike the quick-release connector, the micro USB plug attaches very stiffly to the controller, and tugging it free from that end can take some force.
I played King of Fighters ‘98 and Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite on my Xbox One with the FightPad. For both games, the controller felt quite responsive. The circular direction pad, with the pronounced plus shape for the cardinal directions, helps make directional inputs for special moves consistent. I had no problem executing shoryukens and power dunks, even if the pad doesn’t feel nearly as crisp as the Raion’s. The glossy, concave face buttons also worked exactly as intended, though they aren’t as satisfying as the Raion’s or Fighting Commander’s flatter, slightly clickier buttons.
I experienced no issues using the gamepad with my PC. Plugging it in made Windows 10 automatically detect the controller as an XInput device compatible with most Windows games. While the lack of analog sticks limits what games work with the FightPad, I was able to use it with classic arcade shooters like Earth Defense Force through Antstream.
For Fighting and Arcade Games
The PowerA Fusion Wired FightPad is a capable little wired controller for your PC and console of choice. It offers virtually the same experience as the Hori Fighting Commander, with a slightly better-feeling direction pad. It doesn’t offer the same rock-solid experience the Razer Raion’s clicky mechanical controls provide, but it also costs about half as much. For the price, the Fusion is a solid gamepad for any fighting game enthusiast looking to train or compete without dropping a lot of money on a pro-grade controller or arcade stick. Just remember that it doesn’t have analog sticks, so you simply can’t use it to play most modern games.