Hands-On with PowerA’s Fusion Fightpad

PowerA Fusion Fightpad pic

After a long hiatus from fighting games, I recently got back into Street Fighter V and Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. I had just upgraded my ghetto PC with a new GPU and liquid cooler and was looking to test it out on games that push high-end graphics as fast as possible. I figured these fit the bill. Problem was: I was attempting to play them with an XBox One/PC controller with that diamond-shaped, 4-button arrangement that requires rebinding buttons or using trigger buttons to pull off certain moves. To play these properly, I needed a controller with a 6-button arrangement. 

Fortunately PowerA came to the rescue with their 10-button Fusion Fightpad. I received the XBox/PC version, but they make them for PS4 and Nintendo Switch also. 

PowerA Fusion Fightpad
Now THAT is a good looking box!

If you aren’t familiar with ye Sega products of olden tymes (I’m not. My pal @GtotheNextLevel had to enlighten me), this controller is based on the Sega Saturn model 2 controller.

Here’s a pic for reference:

Sega Saturn Controller 2

So besides finally having a proper button layout for Street Fighter and MvC, you’ve also got an ideal controller for classic Sega titles. So I tested it out on Steam’s Mega Drive & Genesis Classics collection, too.

So let’s check it out!

First Impressions

If nothing else, PowerA knows how to effectively package a product. And I don’t just mean packing it safely to prevent shipping damage. It seems like PowerA really takes pride in the quality and design of their packing materials.

PowerA Fusion Fightpad packaging

The art and design on the Fightpad’s box are all on-point. Beyond the need to prevent damage in transit, this may seem like a shallow observation. But stay with me here. A company that puts this much effort into their packaging, one hopes, surely puts as much work into the product itself. We’ll get more into the build quality a little further down, but first let me finish the unboxing.

Opening the box reveals (besides an impressive flourish of stylish art,) a nicely-packed user manual, the controller itself, and super-long 10ft braided cable, and swappable magnetic faceplates. The faceplates come in black (the default one), gray, and white. My gaming setup is white and blue, so I opted for the white faceplate.

PowerA Fusion Fightpad faceplates
Not pictured: The gray one. Just imagine these, but gray.

Opening the box and removing the controller all gave me a really good feeling that this was a quality item. Again, PowerA knows how to package a product and maximize that first impression. Well done!

Let’s move on.

Build Quality

As much as I like to harp on the first impressions and packaging and all that, it’s completely meaningless if the product is put together poorly.

The first thing I noticed when I actually removed the Fusion Fightpad from its molded packaging was the weight of the controller. It isn’t heavy exactly, the specs say it weights 178 grams (about 0.4 lbs) but it definitely feels solid. Or according to PowerA, “Optimally weighted for comfort.” Seems accurate to me.

PowerA Fusion Fightpad
178 grams of raw fury!

Rather than a smooth finish on the plastic, the Fightpad has a matte texture that’s extremely easy to grip, but not at all rough on the hands. The matte is present on the floating D-pad and L/R buttons as well.

I was particularly impressed by the braided cable. It’s a small thing, I suppose, but a braided cable versus a regular plastic one makes such a difference in the perceived quality of a controller. And at 10 feet long, it’s really good to have a controller that is less likely to tangle or develop a short.

Useability and Features

That floating D-pad I mentioned earlier is nice. Being a lifelong Nintendo fan, most of the D-pads I’ve encountered have been that cross or plus-sign shape that Nintendo pioneered. While it’s not my favorite choice for platformers, the floater makes pulling off moves in fighting games much more comfortable.

Having a single D-pad and no analog stick does present some challenges with modern games, so this won’t be your one-and-only controller. But a cool feature of the Fightpad I initially overlooked is the little slider switch just below the XBox button.

PowerA Fusion Fightpad
That’s the headset jack at the bottom. It’s a nice touch.

The slider has three settings: DP, LS, and RS. These stand for D-pad, left stick, and right stick and they allow you to change the D-pad’s function on the fly. Under the DP setting, the pad will function as a typical old-school 8-directional pad. The LS setting turns the D-pad into a functional analog input for games that don’t support D-pad inputs. The RS setting does the same, but maps the pad to the right stick. I suppose that’s to control the camera in some games, but generally seems less useful than the other two settings.

It’s still not the same as having those two extra analog sticks, but it does allow the controller to be used for a wider range of games. Not that you plan to use your Fightpad for just any ol’ game.

There’s another switch on the top of the controller, too. This one allows you to set the rightmost buttons to bind to either the left/right shoulder buttons, or alternately to set them as right/left thumbstick presses.

Like the RS setting, this seems like an edgecase that won’t be truly helpful very often. But it’s still nice to have the option.

I almost forgot to mention that the Fightpad features an headphone input in the underside of the controller so even if your headset doesn’t have a 10-foot cable, you’re still covered. And if you need a good-quality gaming headset, PowerA makes a good one of those, too. Check out my review for their Fusion Wired Gaming Headset.

PowerA Fusion Fightpad pic
It’s just nice to look at, too.

The Verdict

This is a good controller. I’ve been using it for the last few weeks and have zero complaints. It feels good, it’s perfect for fighting games and old Sega games. If you find yourself playing either of those, I’ll gladly give PowerA’s Fusion Fightpad my recommendation.


2 responses to “Hands-On with PowerA’s Fusion Fightpad”

  1. Sweet. I was always scared to take the dive on these 3rd party pads but have wanted a Saturn-style pad for so long. Mad Catz left a bad taste in my mouth but hopefully this will be a good palette cleanser

    1. Hahaha Mad Catz! I haven’t heard that name for so long! I know exactly what you mean.

      Yeah, you can rest easy. PowerA definitely makes good stuff. Solid build quality. They send me a lot of samples and I’ve never had a complaint.

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