The best PS5 accessory of 2023 is this arcade stick — here's why

Victrix Pro FS fight stick on its side between PS5 and monitor with Street Fighter 6
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

My year of gaming in 2023 has revolved around re-discovering my love for the fighting game genre. Street Fighter 6 is the main reason for this, which is a new high point for the series in terms of features and accessibility as well as offering amazing gameplay, but I've returned to older games in my collection too. And I owe a lot of it to one particular peripheral: the Victrix Pro FS arcade stick from PDP.

I've had the privilege to try out this controller for the past few months with my PS5 and there's little more I think I could ask for in terms of available features from one of the best fight sticks around. But there's also one big reason I can't recommend it easily, which we'll get to later.

First off, the positives, and the most obvious one of those: the design. The Pro FS' luxurious-feeling aluminum body comes in PS5-matching white or a more unique purple, and comes as either the standard version with a ball-top joystick for directional inputs, or as the Pro FS-12 with an extra four buttons if you prefer the stickless, Hitbox-esque style of controller, with no difference in price.

Victrix Pro FS fight stick from the top

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The aluminum frame houses Sanwa Denshi-built buttons and a joystick, a necessity if you ask the most dedicated fighting game players. There's also a long braided cable for connecting the USB-C port of the controller to a regular USB port on your PS5. There's unfortunately no wireless option but that's common for arcade sticks, especially those aimed at pro players who want minimal lag between controller input and in-game output.

More than just good buttons

I tried out several games with the Pro FS, including Street Fighter 6, Guilty Gear Strive and older games too, like Garou: Mark of the Wolves. Unsurprisingly for a controller made of refined third-party parts, throwing fireballs, launching uppercuts and unleashing super moves all feel great. It's the experience beyond the basics that helps set the Pro FS apart.

Victrix Pro FS fight stick in front of Garou Mark of the Wolves

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

For one, there's a DualSense-style touch pad at the top of the controller, which cheaper arcade sticks tend to lack. This, plus the usual option/share buttons and some in-game option tinkering to access the other analog stick on demand should mean you have all the standard controls of a DualSense controller, useful for when you need to navigate menus and things outside of a battle.

Victrix Pro FS fight stick joystick and buttons

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

When you don't need these other controls, they're lockable with a simple combo. This way you don't have to worry about mis-presses in the heat of the action that could ruin your game, or worse... disqualify you from a real-life match. Same with the customizable RGB lighting - it's a fun addition when playing alone, but can be disabled to avoid distraction when it counts.

For the most ambitious owners, it's also very easy to mod this fighting stick. Open up the back with its quick-release latch and you'll find neatly organized cables and harnesses, ready for swapping out with the parts of your choosing.

Victrix Pro FS fight stick internals

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

You'll also find the built-in converter in here. This lets you switch the controller for use with PS5, PS4 (if some of your games are stuck on the older console) or PC, by flicking the switch inside. Sadly Xbox users are left out, so they'll have to look elsewhere for a compatible arcade stick, like the 8Bitdo Arcade Stick for Xbox.

Perhaps the smartest feature of all is the Pro FS' easily detachable joystick. It uses a sprung shaft that easily clips to and detaches from the block of switches beneath the surface of the box. Since the joystick is the part that normally makes fight sticks hard to just throw in a bag and carry around, having it come off so quickly and easily is a big bonus.

Victrix Pro FS fight stick detachable joystick

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The price of pro performance

Now we come to my biggest issue with the Victrix Pro FS: it costs $399. That's not that much less than the PS5 you'll likely be playing on. 

Arcade controllers tend to be quite expensive anyway, especially if they use those in-demand Sanwa parts, but Victrix's use of a big aluminum frame, internal lights and beautifully-arranged internals have all added up it seems. It's one of those products where the "Pro" in the name genuinely means it's for dedicated enthusiasts only.

Victrix Pro FS fight stick in front of Street Fighter 6

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In some ways it's a good deal. It works on three different platforms, saving you from buying multiple arcade sticks or converters, its metal body feels tough enough to last you many years of service and its customization opens up future usage possibilities if you decide to move away from it. But with no guarantee of forward compatibility when the inevitable PS6 comes along,  you're going to have to get a lot of use out of it in the next five or so years, or have the knowledge to make it futureproof yourself.

I couldn't justify the cost of the Victrix Pro FS if I was buying this for myself, I don't think I play enough of my fighting games, adore them as I do, to justify it. But if you're a Street Fighter fanatic or a terror in Tekken, or know someone who is who's been very good this year, this would make a great gift or investment in that person's love of a genre known for building obsession in its players through the fires of battle and the thrills of sick combos.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.