[best retro fighting games]Retro Fighters Wireless Brawler 64 Review: A Solid Wireless Option For N64!

  While the overall redesign of the Wireless Brawler 64 is fantastic, it wouldn’t mean much if it didn’t handle well in games. After a couple weeks of testing I have been very pleased by the results the Wireless Brawler has produced. The 2.4 GHz transmission has led to lag free gaming on all of my favorite N64 titles. Just to get it out of the way quickly, let’s talk about analog stick benchmarks. To date, third party offerings haven’t offered the same range or feel as an official N64 controller. For the most part I am fine with this, as a little added sensitivity has made playing a number of games feel better to me. The problem with third-party offerings has come from inconsistent ranges on the axis and diagonals of the stick and poor deadzones. For the original Brawlers, the ranges varied widely between different controllers with some offering better performance than others. My newest color variant being the worst offender of the bunch. Playing games like Goldeneye or Buck Bumble really showcase these range issues as you won’t be able to move in directions that are outside of certain bounds.

  With the Wireless Brawlers, Retro Fighters have seemingly been able to tune the sticks to be far more consistent than what we have seen previously, with both of my units turning in nearly identical results. The range on both the axis and diagonals while still being more sensitive than what is seen on official controllers, provide a great experience in game with there being no turning issues in either Goldeneye 007 or Buck Bumble. The deadzones on the Wireless Brawlers are also tuned well, with the Super Mario 64 test being quite telling. Does it match what the official controller does? No, but it comes closer than we have ever seen to date! Of course, ranges and deadzones only tell part of the story, as the physical stick and its resistance play an important factor in how it feels to play games, and Retro Fighters have struck a fine balance between it all!

  Playing any number of games that rely on the analog stick have felt great, and for flight games in particular, the added sensitivity directly translates to more capable turns. Thanks to the stick resistance, aiming in Goldeneye 007 has felt relatively easy, and thanks to each direction having the same range, there isn’t a wild turn to be found anywhere. The full analog range is also able to be used as seen in Super Mario 64 or Super Smash Bros., as it is quite easy to walk or run when needed. Doing Spin attacks in Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask is also a breeze. In tandem with the analog stick, each of the controller’s face buttons has responded accurately and quickly to input. They are a bit clicky still as they match those found on an original Brawler 64, but the actuation point feels good.

  After the improvements to the analog stick, the next biggest game changer for the Wireless Brawler 64 really is its redesigned Z buttons. Thanks to the removal of the spring, they feel much better to use over the originals. Playing games like Star Fox 64, which relied heavily on Z button input to block incoming attacks or quickly turn, or shooters have never felt this good on a Brawler before. Each action triggers as quickly as you would expect and repeated inputs are now easy to manage without there being a chance of a missed input. And they still feel great to use in the process! I am also glad that Retro Fighters has kept their turbo button functions for the Wireless Brawlers as it makes certain games more enjoyable to play, as rapid presses with my thumb are becoming harder to do as I get older.

  But we need to talk about the d-pad now as there are a number of games that rely on it as the primary input method. Overall I think it’s fine, as it responds quickly and accurately to presses, and playing games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater hasn’t been an issue. I can pull off any move I desire in any direction no problem. The biggest thing I think most will take issue with is the inability to roll the d-pad now. In fighting games, being able to roll the d-pad has always been important to me, and without it they feel harder to play. I mean I know I’m an FGC scrub but still. Thankfully there aren’t many games on the N64 that use the d-pad in general and fewer still that will be negatively impacted by this. Just something to keep in mind if your main game is Killer Instinct Gold, I suppose.

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