Victrix is a newcomer to the gaming peripherals space, but it hasn’t burst onto the scene with lowly, budget offerings aimed at gamers who just want a flashy product. Instead, the company has focused solely on the premium tier of products. First there was the Victrix Pro AF gaming headset. Now, it’s targeting the fighting game esports scene with a seriously fancy and seriously expensive fightstick: the Victrix Pro FS.
At a starting price of $350 for the Pro FS, Victrix is asking for a lot more than the competition. Razer’s Panthera and Atrox cost $199, while Hori has the Fighting EDGE also at $199, as well as several other fightsticks priced even lower. While Hori’s Fighting EDGE uses the company’s own buttons and joystick, Razer’s offering is more of a direct comparison, as both Razer and Victrix have gone with Sanwa for buttons and joysticks.
Sanwa joystick and 8 Sanwa buttons
Ball top grip included
Anodized, aluminum unibody
9.8 ft braided USB-A to USB-C cable
3.5mm headset jack
Tournament lock-out mode switch
So, what sets the Victrix Pro FS apart by $150? It’s all in the design. Just about every inch of the Pro FS is designed well and thoughtfully. To start, it has an anodized aluminum unibody with smooth curves around the front and back, and a gentle slope where I’d naturally rest my wrists. It feels a lot better to put my hands on than a plastic surface or one with hard corners and edges.
The bottom has soft pads taking up most of the surface area. The largest is black and features Victrix’s subtle logo, while the two on either side are the company’s signature purple. While the pads feel smooth to the touch, they do an astounding job of keeping the fightstick in place on my lap during play, and they add a bit of cushion. There are also handles on each side of the base, making it very easy to tote around.
Transportation and storage only gets easier with how simple Victrix has made it to pop off the joystick (don’t worry, it’s not too easy). There’s a sliding sleeve on the joystick that, when pulled up, releases the stick’s connection. A holder on the inside of the fightstick chassis can hang onto the stick while you’re on the move.
Victrix included a 3.5mm headset jack (that’s right, not just audio out) on the front edge of the fightstick, and a recessed USB-C port on the back. There are two T cable wraps on the back as well, which make it easy to bundle up the 9.8ft, purple USB cable (and I can’t say if this was Victrix’s intention, but the cable wraps each have an eyelet that a shoulder strap can clip into). The recessed port can help prevent damage to the cable and jack, and the cable wraps actually also help, as they’d take the brunt of the force if the Pro FS were dropped on the floor, rather than the cable taking the hit. Victrix’s use of a non-proprietary cable is another plus.
Victrix even went out of its way to make the inside of the Pro FS visually appealing with purple braiding around many of its cables. The interior is accessible through a door on the bottom, and though the Pro FS is customizable, the interior is a bit tight and may not fit all custom parts. There’s subtle RGB lighting as well, with the top row of buttons and the side recesses of the chassis lighting up.
The PC setup sour patch
My praise for the Victrix Pro FS takes a slightly sour turn when we get into actual use. The Sanwa joystick and buttons are great. They’re highly responsive, feel nice, are easy to mash (though I found them curiously less touchy than the Sanwa buttons on the Razer Panthera, which I accidentally pressed all the time). The joystick itself offers audible and tactile clicks when moving it around, which can really help for anyone getting the hang of fighting game controls.
In other words, once you’re in the game with your controls set up, the experience is great. But, getting set up is another issue, and it seems to be the case that PC fighting game enthusiasts just don’t have an easy route.
The Victrix Pro FS I tested is made for PS4 (an Xbox One model is planned), and it has buttons for PS4. It’s PC compatible, but using it to play games on Steam took some finagling. It wasn’t too hard to map most of the controls, but Victrix has an odd way of switching the joystick between Left Stick, Right Stick, and D-Pad settings. Switching requires holding in a certain direction and pressing the Victrix button. (Hori’s Fighting EDGE and Razer’s Panthera have more straightforward three-way switches for this.) Since those register as inputs, it takes some extra work to bind all the controls. Once set up, I was still confronted with ABXY instead of X, O, Square, and Triangle in game.
Getting past that, it’s still a superb performer. I blasted through Dragon Ball FighterZ’s villain arc without a single loss despite still not mastering deflect, block, recovery, or any of Captain Ginyu’s special attacks.
So, despite some of the setup aspects that aren’t so great, when it comes to gaming on the Victrix Pro FS, its comfort and performance are top-notch. With a design that’s also handy for those going to and from tournaments, it’s really a phenomenal piece of kit. $350 may feel pretty steep, but it’s offering a truly premium experience that can justify the price.