HORI’s latest fightstick brings arcade-quality control to Nintendo’s little console.
Leaked well before being confirmed for retail release, the HORI Real Arcade Pro V Hayabusa arcade stick aims to deliver a fightstick with arcade-quality components to Nintendo’s fledgling Switch system. (It even inadvertently led to an early reveal of Pokkén Tournament DX!) HORI provided SRK with a review model to try out this latest in the RAP line; does it succeed in its mandate? The quick and easy answer: yes — by not deviating from their already successful Hayabusa parts and RAP design. If you like HORI’s sticks, there’s little that can go wrong here.
If it ain’t broke…
The RAP V for Switch is exactly what it appears to be: a Real Arcade Pro fightstick, ready to plug and play on the Switch console. (It is also PC-compatible using XInput.) It uses HORI’s Hayabusa lever, and the short-throw, matte-finished Hayabusa pushbuttons — so it will feel immediately familiar to anyone who’s spent play time on one of HORI’s other recent RAP iterations.
I’ve written about my thoughts on these components in prior reviews; to recap, I’m generally satisfied with the Hayabusa lever (it’s a reliable, standard square-gated joystick, just a bit on the looser side of what I prefer), while I really enjoy the snappy, shallow, matte-topped Hayabusa buttons. Both perform quite well, and are really comfortable to play on. However, as this is an RAP and it retains the same case design as prior models, modding this stick to put in a Sanwa Denshi or Seimitsu lever or pushbuttons is very easy — while not Razer Panthera/Qanba Dragon easy — RAPs are so widespread in part because of how easy to mod they are. This stick is no different.
The case is the same as the pre-RAP.N series RAPs, back to the flatter and more angular design. Some players prefer the slope on the front of this case as a wrist-rest, so that will be a positive for those put off by the RAP.N’s boxy case. The pushbuttons are also arranged in the more-common Vewlix spread, rather than the RAP.N. The color scheme of the stick — black, red, and dark grey/silver — is very striking in its simplicity. Sometimes the basics work; it is very immediately identifiable as a Nintendo-styled accessory.
With friction pads on the base, the stick is well-suited for play on your lap, or on a tabletop. It uses the same cord compartment design as the RAP 4/V models that preceded it, with a plenty of cord (over nine feet). Note that you need to plug this controller into the Switch dock; you’d need a USB to USB-C adapter to connect this directly to this console itself, if you felt so inclined.
New (and missing) features
A notable absence on this RAP V model is the headphone jack that made it onto both the Tekken 7 Edition and regular releases of the RAP.N, and the prior RAP V for other consoles. As this is becoming a more common feature on arcade sticks in general, it’s an unfortunate omission — one that likely has a lot to do with how the Nintendo Switch handles voice chat (reportedly, fairly poorly). However, this model does now include a “T-switch” that allows a tournament mode, deactivating those buttons that can interrupt a match and earn a DQ.
Otherwise, this stick is loaded with all the RAP regulars: button reassignment, turbo settings, and the ability to switch the stick between the digital/analog controller inputs. As on its predecessors, these functions are located not on the top panel, but on the right side, under the lip of the case. A strip on the top panel marks what buttons are lined up underneath — but frankly, you’re better off getting used to where the buttons you use regularly are just by feel.
A great stick — with no great games?
This stick is essentially ahead of its time — as there aren’t really any standout titles on the Switch to make use of it, yet. To be fair, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers (regardless of complaints about how broken that game is) was a lot of fun on this stick, feeling much more like the classic arcade title that it’s based on. There are a few other classic titles showing up on the eShop, and you can use this stick with the upcoming Pokkén Tournament DX, too — I can see that being attractive to arcade stick fans, while I much prefer Pokkén on a pad, myself.
This stick brings back the low entry-level cost that the RAP line is known for: it retails for $149.99 USD (check it out on Amazon, or HORI’s website), making it an easier investment for any of Nintendo’s new fighting game fans. If you’re a fighting gamer that plans to only dabble in an occasional Switch title, a converter might be more up your alley, though. This is (so far) the only fightstick of this caliber on Nintendo’s console, so if you enjoy the older titles that are currently available on the Switch, I’d call this a must-have for Switch-based fighting devotees. Hopefully, we will see more titles that can take advantage of it in the future.
- Hayabusa lever and pushbuttons deliver arcade-quality feel and performance
- Low cost compared to other arcade stick models
- Mod-friendly design
- Tournament mode switch to prevent accidental “+” button presses
- No headset support