HORI unleashes an updated version of their new Noir fightstick design.
Following up on the release of the Real Arcade Pro TEKKEN 7 Edition for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, HORI has created a new version of that fightstick, but without the Tekken branding. The HORI Real Arcade Pro.N Hayabusa for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC (via XInput) updates the prior model with a new look. HORI provided us with an “advance production prototype” to try it out prior to release.
Our advance model differs slightly from the version being released in the West, but only in the panel art — the metallic elements are much brighter in the retail release model than the one we tested.
As this stick is almost identical to the Real Arcade Pro TEKKEN 7 Edition, much of what follows is a retread of our prior review; if you read that review, or already own a Tekken 7 edition stick, you can just skip ahead to the “What’s changed?” section near the end!
All that glitters…
Much like the prior Tekken stick — or any fightstick, really — the first thing you’ll notice on a new stick is the panel artwork. The striking black and gold color scheme on the RAP.N definitely grabs the eye and holds on, especially thanks to the art’s metallic sheen.
Classic and updated design elements.
This new RAP’s case is based on older models, but only on the outside, really. It has naturally been updated with HORI’s current components.
The Hayabusa buttons and lever are the usual fare on all HORI sticks lately, and this stick is no exception. As usual, I’m generally very happy with how these components perform. As I’ve said before in several prior HORI reviews, I really enjoy playing on the matte-surfaced, short-throw Hayabusa buttons. They feel quick and “snappy,” providing the sensation of rapid response due to the shallower depth. I’m not quite as fond of the Hayabusa lever; these levers are on the looser end of the resistance scale, and can become “clicky” in the corners if your input is too forceful, so I still hold a slight preference for the Sanwa Denshi JLF in comparison. I’m still comfortable on a Hayabusa lever, however, but I definitely like the Hayabusa pushbuttons more than Sanwa’s, presently.
The “Noir” button configuration is what makes the RAP.N what it is: so as with the Tekken model, this button layout may be a little different than you’re used to playing on. Variations on the Taito Vewlix layout have become pretty much industry-standard across the board, but HORI is mixing it up with a switch to the Noir layout. Nearly identical to Sega’s “Astro City” layout (as you can see below), the buttons curve downward and away from your fingers more sharply than in the Vewlix configuration.
These diagrams aren’t quite mm-perfect representations of what we see on all sticks now, but should still give you a good idea of how different these layouts are. Extended play with the Hayabusa lever and buttons in the Noir configuration proved both fun and effective for me. I think I actually prefer the Noir layout now, as it better suits the shape of my hand and length of my fingers. What will make or break Noir comfort for you will depend on your input method: whether you shift your fingers to hit HP/HK inputs, or if you hit the third-column button with your ring finger, as I do. If you shift, Noir will be a bigger adjustment; while the only difference between Vewlix/Noir for the ring finger is the angle of the wrist, really. I played Tekken 7 and Street Fighter V with this fightstick, and found it very comfortable throughout.
Intended as such or not, players that tend to carry their RAP Pros in that handle-like area under the front edge of the case will be lost for a handhold on the RAP.N, as the ornamental side-shaping on this case doesn’t offer enough room to get a solid grip. This stick does have some good weight to it, so being shaped as essentially a solid rectangular block, they would actually benefit from an added handle, somewhere. But that didn’t prove a significant concern for me.
The control panels that were placed on the right side of prior RAP models are now positioned in the upper left of the top panel, similar to competing fightsticks from other manufacturers. The controls to activate turbo and reassign buttons are all still here, as RAP standard features.
You’ll find the PlayStation 4 touchpad in the usual area for HORI models — back of the case, just above the pushbuttons and thus easy to reach and use. The type of cover used on this cable compartment seems to fit more snugly than on prior RAP models — a good thing.
This model of RAP includes a headset jack, in the front lower left — definitely a nice feature to have handy. As I stated in my prior review, HORI’s means to avoid accidentally pressing the START/OPTIONS button is hilarious and awesome at the same time. Rather than a toggle switch to just turn the button on or off for tournament play, they instead provide an actual sliding cover to safely block off the dangerous button when needed — like some sort of deadly, game-destroying ICBM launch control button.
The cover works great; it’s quick and easy to open and close when desired. This is both a simple and silly solution, and I love it.
What’s on the inside?
RAPs are generally quite simple to get into and pull apart for modding, and the RAP.N is no different. The hex nuts on the top panel are only for holding the top panel in place; if you want to get at the joystick, buttons, or board, you need to remove the bottom panel. However: on both the Tekken edition and the RAP.N, I found the top-panel nuts did need a bit of tightening up; they may loosen during production/shipping, so keep an eye on those.
The lever and buttons can be swapped out easily. I liked this stick enough that I decided to make it my usual weapon of choice — which meant adding a Sanwa JLF and Phreakmod’s The Link to make packing the stick for transport easier.
Aside from the slick new panel art, the only notable change between this fightstick and the Real Arcade Pro TEKKEN 7 Edition is the removal of the rubber feet used on the Tekken release, and addition of rubbery pads of the same type used on prior RAP models:
This addresses my complaint about the Tekken model slipping around on your lap, making this version much better for that type of play. The plate sections on the base that were used for the rubber feet are still drilled out — now just filled with a placeholder screw — so you could add rubber feet to this model as well, if you really wanted to.
Setting a new “gold” standard.
I was quite impressed by this new take on the Real Arcade Pro when it came out as the Real Arcade Pro TEKKEN 7 Edition, and I’m still impressed with it now. As I said before: it might not be enough to draw you over to HORI if you’re comfortable with a stick from another manufacturer, but it’s a strong offering for the price if you’re shopping for something new. The price on the RAP.N is still a touch more than previous RAPs: at $169.99 USD on Amazon.com and at Arcade Shock, for example. Dropping the Tekken-licensed artwork shaved a bit off the cost, while you’re still paying for newer goodies like the headset jack, Hayabusa buttons, and the START/OPTIONS button cover.
Longtime HORI fans won’t be disappointed; as for new buyers, I would personally consider this the best RAP design yet. The Noir layout is something to seriously consider before purchase, either as a pro or a con, based on your own preferences.
- Stylish, eye-catching new panel art design.
- Solid, sturdy, and comfortable case.
- Hayabusa pushbuttons are quick, responsive, and feel great.
- Cost is still slightly lower than many competing fightsticks.
- Added padding on the base corrects the design flaw of the Tekken 7 edition.
- Hayabusa lever too loose and not as “solid” in the corners as a Sanwa JLF, for my personal taste.
- Less-common Noir panel layout may not suit your preferences.
Additional source: slagcoin.com [for control panel layouts]