Nacon Daija Arcade Stick review

The Nacon Daija Arcade Stick takes a decade of experience and refines it to create a premium fight stick for beginners and esports-level players.

Nacon Daija Arcade Stick review: The black joystick and face buttons constrant nicely against the white backplate

Our Verdict

The Nacon Daija Arcade Stick contains everything you need to become a fighting game champion, but you’re going to need both the skills and the cash if you want to play like the best.

There’s only so much you can do to revolutionize arcade sticks, but as my Nacon Daija Arcade Stick review will tell you, Nacon has some ideas that might just change the game. I’ve been using arcade sticks since the launch of Street Fighter 4, and I can tell you not much has changed since Mad Catz kickstarted the fight stick market back in 2009. This fight stick has been designed with tournament-level players in mind, providing fighters with everything they need when battling at home or on the road.

Developed alongside fighting game expert, Marie-Laure ‘Kayane’ Norindr, it’s clear to see how her expertise has shaped this Nacon controller. Featuring Sanwa hardware, toolless entry for instant access to the arcade stick’s components, and a detachable 3m USB Type-C cable that can be stored inside the box, Nacon has covered every important aspect for esports-focused players.

If you’re having trouble with a faulty button during warm-ups, you can use the provided tools located inside the Daija to quickly replace it. None of these features are new to arcade sticks, but these additions have clearly been refined with Kayane’s know-how to leave no stone unturned. As such, it easily ranks among the best fight sticks and more broadly the best PC controllers you can grab for fighting games and more.

If you want to play like the pros, you’ll have to drop a hefty $280 to play with this current-generation arcade stick. You might already have a fight stick from the last console generation that does the job, so is it worth upgrading to the feature-packed Daija? While all of these added bells and whistles are nice, ultimately, it still features the same stick and eight-button Vewlix layout that you’re likely accustomed to.

This review will cover the following topics – click on one of these handy links if you’d like to go right to that section:

Nacon Daija Arcade Stick review: The internals of the fight stick

Nacon Daija Arcade Stick design

One caveat of arcade sticks is that after countless hours of gaming, your buttons and stick will need replacing at some point. While toolless entry has been seen before, the Daija’s internal components have been arranged in a clear manner to make the process of button switching less daunting. The quick disconnect wires for each button are highlighted on a diagram inside the enclosure, and it contains every tool you need to ensure you don’t accidentally break anything when messing around in there.

The Daija comes in both white and black, but these colourways are exclusive to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series, respectively. To be clear, either will work with your gaming PC. Unfortunately, if you want a black arcade stick for your PS5, you’re out of luck. The artwork on the Daija isn’t particularly exciting, but it does come with alternative art (the artwork from the other console variant), a printable PDF online to create your own art, and a plexiglass overlay.

If you’re still holding on to your favourite arcade stick you bought back during the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 era, there are a few comfort quality-of-life changes you’re definitely missing out on. The Daija features a textured, grippy wrist rest on the face of the arcade stick, in addition to a rubber mat on the bottom of the enclosure to stop it from slipping off your lap. These types of upgrades weren’t common back in the day, with most players opting to create their own solutions instead.

You also have access to the L3, R3, and touchpad buttons (exclusive to the PlayStation 5 version), three often overlooked buttons which can be extremely handy in training mode. The best fighting games like Street Fighter 5 and Tekken 7 utilise these buttons to access shortcuts in training mode, saving you plenty of time wading through in-game menus. To avoid any accidental button presses mid-game which would cost you a match during a tournament, the non-essential buttons and switches have been placed on the right side of the enclosure. You also have a button lock toggle to disable the use of any button.

Nacon Daija Arcade Stick review: Wires connect to the joystick and buttons

Nacon Daija Arcade Stick performance

Weighting in at 3.4kg, it’s far from the lightest arcade stick around, and you’ll definitely feel it when it’s wedged in your backpack. In action, the stick feels incredibly sturdy, and the weight doesn’t feel like a deterrent when playing for long sessions. The Daija feels like every other eight-button Vewlix arcade stick, but the little additions like the textured grip and rubber mat help to elevate the overall experience.

The Daija also comes with Windows and MacOS software which can be used to create up to four custom profiles. This might not sound too useful initially, but it’s really helpful if you play different fighting games. The default buttons in each game tend to differ, but this is where the software comes in handy. You can alter the button layout of your arcade stick to match the default profiles in each of your favourite games. It’s not an essential feature by any means, but it’s definitely nice to have, especially in a tournament setting where you may be competing in multiple games.

Nacon Daija Arcade Stick review: Four buttons protrude from the side of the chassis

Nacon Daija Arcade Stick price

The £270 price tag is the only real pain point of the Daija. You can get a lot for your money in the fight stick market, particularly if you’re only focused on playing PC fighting games. When you break down an arcade stick to its base components, you don’t need to spend anywhere near this amount of money to create something that can be used at an esports event.

You can’t pick up the Daija in the US right now, as there’s been no word on availability or price from Nacon just yet. If you want to get your hands on the Daija ahead of the Street Fighter 6 release date, you can always import one of these fight sticks overseas. You don’t have to worry about any incompatibility issues with arcade sticks, so if you do import one, you won’t have any problems using it at home.

Nacon Daija Arcade Stick review: Eight black buttons contrast against the white backplate

Nacon Daija Arcade Stick verdict

The Daija is one of the most expensive arcade sticks available right now, but it’s understandable when you consider everything the entire package has to offer. $280 is a lot of money to pay for something like this when you consider the competition out there, like the Hori PS5 Fighting Stick which comes in at just $200 / £200.

All that being said, you won’t find anything on the market as feature-packed and as premium feeling as the Daija Arcade Stick.

Pros:

  • Premium and refined build quality
  • Has every feature any fighting game player needs

Cons:

  • Expensive

Where to buy the Nacon Daija Arcade Stick

The Nacon Daija Arcade Stick is available in European territories directly from Nacon. If you’re a country outside that region, you can import it but expect to pay more than normal for delivery.

Nacon Daija Arcade Stick alternatives

Check out our best PC controller guide for alternatives to the Nacon Daija Arcade Stick.