Probably the BEST feeling stick I EVER used, rivaling…maybe exceeding the old IL sticks. It’s that good.
But first I’ll give my 2 cents as to why.
Sanwa JLF+Stock square gate+stock actuator= too sloppy. Too loose. Throws are too long. Good for Street fighter/fighting games only. Klingon Pain sticks level for platformers and shooters.
Sanwa JLF+Octagon gate+stock actuator= Um…I don’t know how 2 could be worse than 1 but it is.
a) still sloppy as all hell. b) STILL too loose. c) throws are even LONGER. 4) better than square gates for platformers–I can actually play Gauntlet II without accidentally going diagonally, so it’s actually playable, but for fighters, there’s an even BIGGER problem:
d) Gate 8 direction notches are FAR too sharply defined. There’s way too much resistance when trying to transition out of a diagonal into a main direction…this really messes up doing Ken/Ryu Dragon punches in anything except the simplified Street fighter 4+ way. The only way to avoid that is not to ride the gate at all, and if you aren’t doing that, a square gate would be better.
I know some of you will disagree, but absolutely DO NOT get an octagon gate for the STOCK actuator! It’s HORRIBLE unless you are NOT playing fighting games (Then well it’s better than square).
- Sanwa JLF+Kowal oversized actuator for JLF+Octagon gate
Um…did I just die and wake up in heaven with beautiful virgins and petite, lovely, jet black haired Asian women?
Oh my god…
The actuator COMPLETELY changes the stick! And I don’t think most people realize how: its massive:
SLOPPINESS IS ALMOST COMPLETELY REMOVED. I don’t know how that’s possible but it’s probably related to 2:
Spring stiffness is increased. Didn’t like the 0.9lb spring? Now it feels almost like a 1.5 lb spring! It’s not quite 2lb (I have a LS-55 spring and tried that with the square and octo gates, but only with the stock actuator, and it was just too stiff).
I’d say that the spring feels just perfect. Not too stiff like a 2lb spring and not too light either. But it was rather shocking as to the improvement on BOTH the amount of “slop” and resistance.
This will probably catch most people off guard:
Not only are the throws and engage distances reduced, while the neutral zone feels basically untouched (so no more absurd wide throws), but unlike the stock actuator, for some reason, the Kowal actuator actually softens the effect of the direction corners considerably. If you softly wide the gate, it actually feels like a “smoother square gate.” if that makes any sense. There’s no longer any super sharp resistance out of diagonals like with the stock actuator+Octo, and you can feel the diagonals more than the primary directions. Both directions are softer and have less resistance and feel less “notchy”, which makes movements far more smooth, but you still keep the benefits of the square gate (diagonals), while being able to easily go to the primary directions without accidentally slipping to the diagonals. Greatly improves platform games. And I can do Ken/Ryu DP’s easier on this than I can on the stock square gate+stock actuator.
Needless to say, I have absolutely no reason to touch the square gate again now. I’m happy with this.
Note: I have not tried the Kowal actuator with the square gate. I don’t feel I need to.
I know some people suggested that I try the LS-56, but the throws and actuation are just a bit too short for me. I don’t want a joystick with small throws as it becomes too easy to go in an unintended direction in a fighter.
tl;dr: if you haven’t tried an octagon gate+Kowal actuator, please try it. You might be quite surprised.