I’m far from being a hardcore Street Fighter, I tend to turn away at the atrocities of Mortal Kombat and the only thing that is capable of drawing me in to the world of Tekken is a giant panda. Or is that Just Dance?

Whatever, it’s been a while since I’ve felt the need to make the most of an arcade fight stick, even though I grew up frequenting the dirty, mean, sticky-floored arcades of the 1980s and 1990s. In fact, aside from playing the rather brilliant Dragon Ball FighterZ, dipping into the weirdness of Dead or Alive and spending far too many hours dealing with Injustice, rarely has one been needed. 

But all that said, it’s safe to say that Nacon have pulled one out of the bag with their new stick for Xbox and PlayStation – the Daija Arcade Stick. 

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Created in collaboration with the fighting community, Nacon have pulled together all of their knowledge and thrown it into the Daija, so much so that it’s nothing short of a brilliantly well created piece of kit that is capable of covering a host of fighting needs. 

By its very nature the Daija will only really appeal to a certain subsection of the gaming fraternity; you won’t be wanting to use this for the vast majority of your games. But if you are one that gets off on putting hand to face, foot to torso or as you pull off the odd Hadouken or look to ‘Finish Him’, it could possibly be a piece of kit you need in your life. 

A hefty rectangular box that weighs in at the best part of 3.5kg, the Daija comes in a couple of flavours. Nacon have been kind enough to send us the Xbox edition, compatible with Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC. The PlayStation version caters for the other side of the format wars, as well as PC; a small switch on the side of the unit dictating the console/PC change. Aside from a few little amendments – format specific buttons and a touchpad on the PlayStation one – you’re looking at the same arcade stick. 

The Xbox version we have been hands on with is all black in colour, dimpled details on the sides and top in place to deliver a bit of variety to that black slab. The rear side is adorned with a neat Nacon logo, whilst the bottom is padded – really well actually – ensuring that this is not just comfortable to slam on your lap but once in place, there’s next to no chance that it’ll slip, no matter how intense the fighting action gets. 

From there the Daija is very much capable of delivering what you would expect of an arcade stick. A single micro-switched joystick comes with a couple of toppers – a ball or bat top – whilst an array of eight face buttons are neatly aligned for when you need to smash the ABXY buttons, the bumpers or the triggers. The switches and stick are from SANWA so those in the know will understand the quality there. 

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There is a decent degree of spacing between the buttons and you’ll find yourself at home with the Daija pretty much instantly. It’s a hugely simple piece of kit to use, plugging into your Xbox console (either Xbox One or Xbox Series X|S) via the USB-C to USB-A cable. That cable is of a really decent length too – some three metres in length – and even though it doesn’t lock into place, there’s not too much chance of it being removed by accident. 

There’s more to the Daija though and all the buttons you would expect of an Xbox controller are found here. The Xbox Nexus button is front and centre, accompanied by a Share button and Profile button, should you feel the need to run differing button configs for various games. There’s also a Lock switch on that top face, ensuring that you can lock away the less important buttons from the occasional mis-hit. 

Honestly, we didn’t think this would be much of an addition, but locking out the side buttons is a well worked addition. See, the Daija has multiple options running down the right side of the unit, buttons for the View and Menu, the clickables that are normally attached to the right and left thumbsticks and a couple more switches; amendments to the D-Pad and the opportunity to change up from console to PC. Yeah, and a 3.5mm audio port has been thrown on to the front side too. 

Oh, and that top faceplate? That can be changed as well, with the ‘Reveal your skills’ graffiti Xbox default faceplate held in place by a number of hex bolts. Unscrewing these – hex driver included with the Daija – will let you switch things up for a white or PS5 patterned option. Personally, I’m not overly keen on the white, preferring the more fun fronts, but it’s nice that Nacon are giving the choice. 

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In all, the Nacon Daija Arcade Stick is probably the best arcade stick we’ve used. But that’s not just to how well it handles gaming. Nacon have allowed for super easy customisation and storage as well. There are two switches on the left and right of the unit which, when depressed, allows the top of the Daija to flip up, working a really neat double-hinge system. Inside is space for storage of the USB cable, as well as a slot for both of the joystick tops, depending on the one you are deciding to use. Further is that hex driver. 

And if you really need more from the Daija, a plethora of colour coded cables and colour key means that amending the right buttons as you see fit is a cinch. We’d guess that most would be more than happy with how Nacon have set things up out of (on-the?) box, but giving all the options is massively appreciated. 

Need more still? Much like is the case with many of Nacon’s products, there’s the Nacon app as well. 

But what’s not to like? Well, not much really but if we had to be picky we’d have loved the soft underside of the Daija to be replicated up on the top side, giving the decently sized wrist-rest a more comforting feel. We’re also not entirely sure how long the plastic faceplate topper will hold up; even in our short time of testing we’ve started noticing scratches and marks as the light hits it at certain angles. It would be nice if there was the opportunity to lock an open unit in place too; messing around with the insides is fine but can feel a tad flimsy.

Those are the smallest of nit-picks, but even then we can’t pretend that the Nacon Daija Arcade Stick is a fight stick that every single gamer should go out and buy. But it is very good, so much so that we’d recommend it in an instant to anyone who has even the most fleeting of interests in the fighting scene. With tons of customisation, and some neat inclusions that prove the team behind it have taken note of the community, Nacon have delivered a really well put together piece of kit in the Daija Arcade Stick. 

Basically put, should you think of yourself as a Street Fighter, adore the gore of Mortal Kombat, work the roster of Tekken or juggle the Dragon Balls, the Nacon Daija Arcade Stick for Xbox is one that will easily complement your gaming life. 

Huge thanks go out to Nacon for giving us access to the Daija Arcade Stick for Xbox for review. You can get one for yourself from Nacon come November 8th 2022. Expect to pay around €279.90.

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