When it comes to fighting games, most hardcore players find that the average controller doesn’t quite cut it. Sure, the new designs of the DualShock 4 and the Xbox One controller are much better than we’ve seen in the past, but even then the needs of a fighting game player are far different.
Enter PDP’s Mortal Kombat X Fight Pad, an inexpensive offering that’s designed specifically for NetherRealm Studios’ new fighting game. However, while the controller is Mortal Kombat-themed, it will work across either Xbox 360/Xbox One or PS3/PS4, depending on which version players buy.
Having spent considerable time with the controller, we are happy to report that the PDP Mortal Kombat X Fight Pad preformed admirably during our testing. There are a few gripes to be had with the design here and there, but when it comes to a controller-based option this Fight Pad makes a strong statement.
Design-wise, the Mortal Kombat X Fight Pad fits snuggly in players’ hands and its soft backing material ensures no callouses or blisters might form. The oblong design of the controller itself smartly supports the players’ left thumb – keeping it right on the d-pad – while the right side offers more freedom for quick button presses. The d-pad and face buttons are also perfectly spaced, ensuring that every thing is well within reach but not too cramped.
Those face buttons also have a nice spring-y feedback to their design, which makes them easier to press for quick combos. Where an average controller has a little more resistance, the face buttons on the PDP Mortal Kombat X Fight Pad spring back instantaneously.
On the flip side, the d-pad leaves something to be desired. It’s a little too stiff for our tastes, but is by no means a deal-breaker. Compared to the default d-pads of the PS or Xbox Controllers, the Fight Pad’s certainly an improvement; it would have been nice if the d-pad was smoother, though.
PDP has smartly put the two menu buttons at the top of the controller to ensure players don’t accidentally pause themselves out of a match. Playing a fighting game, especially with a controller, can get a little hectic, so keeping anything non-essential out of the way is important.
To the hectic point, we found the controller to be a little light when compared to the average option. Since most players will be using the Fight Pad specifically for fighting games it would have been nice if the controller had a little more heft. As it stands, it’s very easy to find the controller shaking around while trying to pull off elaborate moves and combos.
Also, for those players who want to use their controller online, the Mortal Kombat X Fight Pad does not have an audio output port for chat. That means any who want to use the controller against online opponents and also chat with them will need a second controller close by. It’s a small gripe, but if the controller’s main demographic is hardcore fighting game players, one would think they want to play online and chat.
Outside of those few issues, PDP’s Mortal Kombat Fight Pad succeeds at delivering a superb fighting game experience when compared with the default controllers. The face buttons and design of the controller are the true highlights, affording ideal comfort and precise control. It’s true that most hardcore gamers will likely go after a fight stick, but someone who wants to occupy that middle ground with a controller specifically tailored to fighting games will find the Mortal Kombat X Fight Pad is a solid option.
The PDP Mortal Kombat X Fight Pad is available now for $49.99.