Hori has been producing a dizzying number of Arcade Stick models lately. At some point, it becomes hard to keep track of which model has the features you want. The good news, however, is that I’ve yet to be disappointed with their efforts, and they offer a variety of models to meet different budgets. Hori was kind enough to send over the Real Arcade Pro VX SA Kai and the Dead or Alive 5 arcade sticks so that we could take a look at their latest offerings.
The Dead or Alive 5 stick art boasts “I’m a Fighter”, and you’d certainly have to be to carry one of these bad boys around. While this is essentially a re-skinned Soul Calibur V stick, that is one of the best compliments you can give a retail arcade stick. The case is sturdy and heavy (weighing in at 6.4lbs), the start button hides away under a protective cover, and there is ample room for your hands no matter what your style of play. It houses real Sanwa parts, a near 10-foot cable, and even has a headphone jack. The only bad thing you can really say about it is that, for some traveling players, it may be a bit too large. You may have a difficult time finding a stick bag or messenger to carry the DOA stick around in. At $149.99, this is a really good buy for anyone looking for a really sturdy, large, and heavy Sanwa based unit.
The Hori Real Arcade Pro VS SA Kai, on the other hand, feels more like a budget arcade stick. It also boasts real Sanwa parts, so you’ll get the same responsiveness out of this unit at $139.99, but you’ll also get a much lighter, slightly smaller case. If you are the type of player who rests his palms while playing, you’ll find the angled cleft in the front of the case to be a nuisance. Otherwise, this unit is nearly identical to Hori’s Marvel vs. Capcom 3 arcade stick, with a slight change to the turbo activation panel and the addition of pads on the bottom to keep the stick from sliding in your lap. It is also nice that this stick isn’t covered in game specific art (or any art, really). As a player of multiple fighting games, I prefer looking less like I have allegiance to a certain series.
If you are in the market for a new stick, it is often worth waiting for a sale price (as many of our favorite manufacturers run promotions pretty often). If you need a stick in the $139.99 – $149.99 price range right this instant, however, compare these with your other options to make an informed decision.
I’m a big fan of the Soul Calibur V / Dead or Alive 5 stick based on the cabinet alone, and everyone who I lend it to at tournaments seems to really like the feel as well. The Marvel vs. Capcom 3 / Real Arcade Pro still features the same Sanwa parts, but at that price, I’d prefer a sturdier, heavier stick. If you have either of these models, we’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below.