PDP Victrix Pro FS Arcade Fight Stick Review

The fighting game scene is going through a true renaissance right now, with Street Fighter 6, Mortal Kombat 1 and Tekken 8 making sure that brawlers aren’t just part of the conversation, they’re leading the way in competitive gaming. Retaining their arcade roots, the scene’s technological component has seen manufacturers like Mad Catz, Nacon and Qanba offer their own arcade sticks, attempting to give the best players an even finer edge. Victrix doesn’t just want to be part of the crowd though, they want to be the only fight stick manufacturer players go to. The PDP Victrix Pro FS is the fight stick that can make that a reality.

Available in Victrix purple or PS5 white, the Pro FS is built from a single curved piece of cool-to-the-touch aircraft-grade aluminium. That immediately grants it more rigidity than you’ll find from Nacon’s Daija or Mad Catz’ T.E.3, and there’s a firmness and surety to it whether it’s resting on your lap or planted on a tabletop in front of you. There’s two large rubberised panels on the underside to make sure that it’s not shifting anywhere no matter how many Hadoukens or Fatalities you perform, while the rest is taken up by the large foam-covered access panel.

That access panel allows you into the inner workings of the Victrix Pro FS, with a handy slot for storing the balltop stick when you’re travelling or packing away, and easy access to the stick and button components and wiring. It’s designed to make replacing and swapping parts as easy as possible, and even an amateur tinkerer should have no problem with the plug-and-play nature of everything. The final thing you’ll need to find down here is the platform selector button, allowing you to choose between PS5, PS4 and PC.

Whatever you’re playing on, you’ll be connecting by the ultra-thick, purple fabric of the 3 metre braided USB-A cable, which connects to the stick itself via USB-C – obviously you could use your own C-to-C cable if you prefer. There’s a handy pair of pinions to wrap the cable around when you’re not using it, but I’d definitely recommend disconnecting the cable from the stick itself before you do as it feels as though the strain could ultimately damage the USB-C socket in the long run.

The top panel plays home to Victrix’s own Link 2 joystick, eight Sanwa Denshi 30mm buttons in black gloss, and an inset control panel for system and stick functions. Besides that, there’s a 3.5mm headphone socket for your headset on the front edge, and otherwise nothing else to break up the beautiful sweeping aluminium curves of the Pro FS.

That beauty becomes even more apparent when you plug it in, and given that my favourite feature of the Qanba Obsidian is its light-up zones at either end it was a huge thing to find the same glowing design brief in the Pro FS. While Victrix purple is set as standard you can cycle through a range of RGB presets, altering both the hue and the brightness to your liking. I still found that purple was the best one, not least because it matches the cable.

The lighting extends to the top panel of inset controls, and alongside the PlayStation button you have Share, Lighting, and Headset control on the left, with Victrix, Pro and Options located on the right. The Victrix button allows you to enter Tournament/Lock-out mode meaning that you won’t accidentally hit anything you shouldn’t in the heat of battle, while Pro can be remapped to the button of your choice.

As standard it’s set to L3, and it’s worth noting that there’s no physical L3 or R3 buttons to be found elsewhere, so if you have a game that relies on them for something, you’re going to have to change that here. It’s easy enough to do that once you know how – holding the Victrix button and the Pro button for 3 seconds and then moving the joystick to the right for R3, or a short hold together to map to L3 – but it’s a mild annoyance when you forget.

Similar to the original Qanba Obsidian stick, each end of the Pro FS is hollowed out, but here it’s not a purely visual choice, instead giving you two handles to grasp onto, making tournament play a doddle and a fashion statement at the same time. The fact that those handles are cut out of the aluminium itself means that there’s no fear of them breaking or giving up, no matter how often you’re grabbing it or moving from setup to setup.

The Victrix Pro FS is arguably the most comfortable stick currently on the market. The majority of sticks, including my Qanba Obsidian, have plexiglass tops, which are great for putting your own artwork underneath, but not so much for preventing that sticky, sweaty sensation at the base of your hand. While the Nacon Daija partially deals with that with its chunky plastic handrest section, it’s still a lot stickier than the Pro FS.

That comfort level further extends to the angled front of the stick, with a 6.28 degree slope for your wrist to rest on. When most sticks feature flat surface tops it’s an interesting design choice, but it’s fair to say that Victrix have unlocked something that other stick manufacturers seem to ignore. I’ve felt less fatigue playing on the Pro FS than either the Nacon Daija, the Qanba Obsidian or the Mad Catz TE range, and that means more time to play, and more time to practice for the latest tournament you’ve got coming up (or the next evening spent walloping people online).

If you want to look for a solitary negative to be found in the materials used, the aluminium is cold to the touch and on a cold day it takes a while for it to warm up. Then again, when things start to heat up in-game the reassuringly cool feel of the Pro FS is fantastic, and you can match it up with a cool gel-filled headset like the Turtle Beach Elite Pro to truly chill out when everyone else is overheating.

All of this would be for nought if the Pro FS didn’t perform when in use, but when it comes down to it, this is a responsive, accurate and hugely enjoyable fight stick to use and it will give you an edge, no matter what game you’re mainlining.

As destined, it was Street Fighter 6 that was the first place to test this new weapon, and the Pro FS didn’t disappoint. The Link2 joystick feels solid underhand, and the Sanwa JLF switches at its base registered each directional movement quickly and accurately. Am I the most skilled player here? No, far from it, but everything I did hit was replicated immediately, and I loved just how responsive everything felt. That shouldn’t be that surprising with Sanwa Denshi parts and Victrix’s commitment to quality, but that isn’t always a guarantee of quality. It’s fair to say that the Pro FS is a premium product that absolutely qualifies for its pricetag.

Thanks to the PS5’s backwards compatibility I also played some of my old favourites here too, rattling through a bunch of rounds of Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Virtua Fighter 5 Showdown. It’s been an age since I played UMvC3, and yet the Victrix Pro FS made it feel like it had barely been a day, firing off Captain America’s combos with ease. If I’m honest, I’ve barely been happier with a fight stick than at this moment. You will notice just how loud the standard Sanwa Denshi buttons are the more time you spend with them, but you can always swap them out for the silent versions instead.

With a retail price of £399/$399, the Pro FS’ key competitors are undoubtedly cheaper, and while I also had a great time with Nacon’s latest edition of the Daija, the build quality between the two are light years apart. The Pro FS feels as though it’ll last through a cavalcade of punishment thanks to its metal casing, whereas its plastic brethren will not.

The PDP Victrix Pro FS is a premium stick that absolutely warrants its pricetag. It’s beautifully designed, superbly built, and modding it is easier than ever. An essential purchase for fighting game fans.
  • Superb design
  • Feels indestructible
  • Fast, accurate and a delight to use
  • No dedicated L3 or R3 button
  • Headset socket is annoying for lap play
Written by
TSA's Reviews Editor - a hoarder of headsets who regularly argues that the Sega Saturn was the best console ever released.