A design blast from the past.
FUSION Wired FightPad for Xbox One

About a month ago, we brought you news on some new controllers coming out from PowerA. Specifically, the news was about the company's new FUSION Pro controllers and their FUSION FightPad offerings. At the same time, we were offered the opportunity to review these controllers.

Over the past month, I have put both the black FUSION Pro Wired Controller for Xbox One and the FUSION Wired FightPad for Xbox One through their paces. Of the two, I have spent far more time with the Pro controller, but you can read about that one in a separate review.

Right up front I need to say that I am not really much of a fighting game fanatic. That is to say, while I may have tested out the FightPad in a couple of fighting games, my thoughts are those of someone who is most decidedly a "casual" fan of the genre. It probably is understood then that my opinion on the FightPad might not be in line with those in the fighting game community or professional players.

With that said, the FUSION FightPad for Xbox One is a solid controller. Featuring six primary face buttons and a slightly sunken floating d-pad design, the FightPad immediately reminded me of the old six-button Sega Genesis controller. If you never used that controller, the Sega Saturn controller also sported a very similar six-button design. That Genesis controller design was fantastic back in the day, so to have a very similar design now made the FightPad feel right at home in my hands.

Genesis 6 buttonSega Saturn controller
Left: Genesis, Right: Saturn
Images via Sega Retro

What makes this design so unique, and "fight pad-y" compared to normal controllers, is the fact that it adds two face buttons in line with the A, B, X, and Y buttons. Specifically, it adds the L1/LB and R1/RB as additional face buttons. This gives the FightPad a button layout that is in line with the button layouts seen in fighting game arcade cabinets. Fighting game fans get that familiar button layout they're used to but in a form factor that can fit comfortably in their pockets.

The d-pad is a floating design that felt generally comfortable in my testing. Again, I'm not a huge fighting game aficionado, so it's very possible that the floating design might not be for you. It allowed me to execute moves, combos, and abilities in Mortal Kombat 11 with a bit more frequency than I managed with a DualShock 4. The DualShock 4 being the controller I am most familiar with over the past few years now.

Though the FightPad's six-button design felt "at home" in my hands thanks to the Genesis nostalgia running through my mind, it still took some getting used to. You have to keep in mind here that I probably have not held a Genesis controller for well over two decades now. Yeah, I was good at playing the first Mortal Kombat games on the Genesis back in the day (don't ask my brother), but it's hard to just immediately overcome 25 years of muscle memory that grew accustomed to a four-button layout. Nearly every console controller I have owned since the Sega Genesis has had just four main face buttons (PS1, PS2, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS Lite, GameCube, and PS4). So while it felt good in my hands, it still took a decent amount of time for my fingers to cooperate. The buttons on the FightPad are also a bit larger than what you'll find on a modern controller. Yes, I am 100% making excuses for myself here as there were definitely some accidental button presses as I grew accustomed to this six-button design. However, once it started to come together, I really enjoyed using the controller.

FUSION Wired FightPad for Xbox One

For those who still need or want the shoulder buttons to remain on the shoulders, they can still be found there too. You can use them as typical L1/LS and R1/RS buttons or you can simply flip a switch to have them act like an L3 or R3 click. As you probably noticed by now, this FlightPad does not include any analog sticks. This controller gets around that limitation in a couple of ways. First, it includes a switch that turns the actual shoulder buttons into the analog stick clicks, typically known as L3 and R3. There is also a switch, found in the middle of the controller, that allows you to turn the floating d-pad into a mimic for either the left analog stick or a right analog stick.

Obviously, it does not change the physical look and feel of the d-pad, but it is a nice feature to include. This can certainly come in handy for games that may need an analog stick for menu navigation. I don't personally know if switching the d-pad to mimic a left stick would have any advantages in fighting games. I did not notice any changes when I tried it out during some fights against the CPU, but I generally suck at fighting games anyway. All told, I would rate this d-pad a fair bit better than the DualShock 4 d-pad, at least as far as fighting games are concerned. The design allowed my thumb to roll more freely over the directions. This is probably due to the pad including the diagonals in the physical design, which are obviously hidden in the usual DualShock 4 design. Moreover, while it has been a few years since I had a working Xbox 360 controller, I can safely say that this d-pad feels miles better than that one ever did. I don't need to have recent impressions of the 360 controller to remember just how horrible that thing was.

Beyond that, the FightPad still includes the back trigger buttons. All of the buttons seem to have a very low activation threshold. This means that you really won't have to push buttons down much at all in order to execute moves or combos. This is especially true of the L2/LT and R2/RT triggers. These feel more akin to the front shoulder buttons and have a very short movement range before they fully activate.

The Xbox One version of the FightPad comes with two swappable faceplates, one white and one black. These are easy to take off when needed but stay in place once attached thanks to some sturdy magnets. These plastic faceplates fit nicely atop a dark grey base. There is a 3.5mm audio jack on the bottom of the controller, and a recessed hole on the top where you plug in the lengthy included braided "snap-lock" USB cable with quick release.

FUSION Wired FightPad for Xbox One

The 3 meter long USB cable itself seems to be of high quality, but I did have some issue with the whole "snap-lock" situation they have. In order to release the cable from the controller, you need to squeeze the sides of the connector in order to allow it to be unplugged. The tiny size of the squeezable parts coupled with the already snug fit, meant that my fingers had small indentations from the pushable protrusions and were in a fair bit of pain. It took a little while for me to unplug the cord from the controller the first couple of times. This probably won't be a problem if you just keep the cord hooked up all the time to the controller, but it is certainly something to keep in mind if you ever need to replace it.

The Wired FightPad for Xbox One is an officially licensed product. This means that it should work with all official Xbox One consoles currently on the market in addition to working well on the PC. It does include a functional Xbox Guide button in the center along with the Menu button and the View button. It also connected to my Windows 10 PC without any issue at all. I just plugged it in via the USB connection, Windows recognized it, and I was free to use it in any game I wanted to just like it were a normal Xbox One wired controller.

The FightPad, while a decent controller really isn't for someone like me. However, I can see those in the fighting game community using this controller when portability is a major concern. I'm sure that the $59.99 price on these is also a fair bit more enticing than the price of a decent full-sized fight stick, which could potentially run a couple hundred dollars or more.

4 out of 5 stars

Additional Information
FUSION Wired FightPad for Xbox One - By PowerA
Starting at $59.99 (USD)

This product was provided to Total Gaming Network for review purposes.

Additional Images
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