Souls, Swords, and see-through fightsticks.
The definitive way to play SoulCalibur VI is here with the HORI Real Arcade Pro. SOULCALIBUR VI Edition for PlayStation 4/3/PC and Xbox One/360/PC. The two fightsticks are gorgeously designed with semi-translucent cases and well-made with Hayabusa parts. There’s a lot to love about this pair of fightsticks but it’s worth mentioning there were certainly some questionable decisions made when developing this momentous fightstick duo.
Editor’s note: These fightsticks are based on the HORI RAP.N hardware template.
The bold color choices will immediately set these fightsticks apart. The deep red and blue cases are partially see-through and are sure to stand out in a sea of silver and black fight sticks. There’s no doubt that this pair of sticks are visually stunning, and they are a must-have collector’s item for that reason alone. It is interesting to note, however, that if the two sticks are meant to symbolize the SoulCalibur and the Soul Edge the shades are a little bit off, but it’s not too huge an issue since the sticks look so good in their own right. That being said, the PlayStation 4 stick is a little darker, and you miss out on some of the translucent effect.
The stick art that was chosen for the two controllers is phenomenal. The PlayStation 4 stick makes sense thematically with Siegfried fighting his past self and eternal foe, Nightmare. The Xbox One stick is designed more with fan service in mind, with the entire female cast (minus Seong Mi-Na) front and center. It’s an odd decision to include Tira, a character who is a bonus for the Season Pass and not found in the base roster, instead of Seong Mi-Na, and this is coming from someone who has been a fan of Tira since SCIII. It appears there is room for the additional fighter on the side of the stick, but alas, she will have to be remembered another way. Maybe with a sticker.
Overall the button placement does not get in the way of the stick art, but the start button, which is covered by a latch, is a bit of an eyesore for two fightsticks whose main focus comes from their art. It is nice the button is recessed a little and that the latch is there to avoid accidental button presses, but it would be much preferred on the top, around where the touchpad is on the PS4 stick. The function buttons on the top are well aligned on the Xbox One stick but the PlayStation stick cuts a lot out of the image, while the pieces cut out aren’t detrimental to the entire aesthetic and there isn’t anywhere else Nightmare could have been placed without losing more of his focus points, it does show that perhaps the buttons could have been placed on the side to alleviate some of the image cutting. Bear in mind, this is all coming from someone without any icons on his desktop, so this is really just personal preference, for functionality’s sake, the buttons are great where they are.
The fightsticks are a good weight with rubber stops on the bottom so they don’t slide and they fit comfortably on your lap. The sticks do not open without being unscrewed, so easy modding is not a focus for this special edition offering. The attached USB cables are a good standard length, running at three meters, this length does get shortened a bit when using the cable cover since the cutout for the cable is on the far end. You only lose a few inches, so in the end, it won’t matter much, its just an interesting design choice. The cable compartment is nice and roomy so you won’t have to worry about crunching up your non-replaceable USB cable.
One final note on the design is how bland the PlayStation stick’s packaging is in comparison to its Xbox counterpart. It must be due to certain licensing requirements from Sony because its hard to believe the decision was intentional. And while a difficult business decision to make in regards to supply and demand, I am sure there are players on both consoles who would have preferred the opposite stick design. Unfortunately, there is no DLC to have both Yoda and Darth Vader with this fightstick offering. (Bad SoulCalibur IV joke.)
The fightsticks feel great to use and are made of standard HORI Hayabusa parts. The main buttons are all matte so your fingers will be less likely to slip off when changing inputs. Some may prefer the glossy feel when sliding to input combos, but with SoulCalibur VI only running five buttons, that becomes less necessary. HORI was even nice enough to include a recommended button layout for the stick printed on the back of the box. The joystick is very responsive and I have found myself more successful with inputs than my previous bouts with my Madcatz TE+ stick, which uses Sanwa parts. The stick and the buttons also create a lot of audible feedback, which is something I prefer when it comes to controllers, it helps me know for a fact that an input was made.
It is pretty standard fare though, so if you have used a Real Arcade Pro stick before, this is bound to feel familiar, just in an utterly stylish package. That being said, the components included within the RAP controllers are tried and true and have continued to impress. So whether or not this is your first RAP or another for your collection, it’s definitely worth checking out for its core components.
Oddly enough, both sticks do not retain the same features. The PlayStation model has additional functions like the ability to utilize the joystick as either the directional pad, or the left/right analog sticks, and a turbo mode. The Xbox version of the stick (which didn’t actually come with an instruction manual but a QR code leading to one and once you get there its just one page of information printed in multiple languages which could have easily been printed on the same piece of paper with the QR code) cannot be used as a right stick, has no Turbo function, but does have the ability to adjust game and chat audio by holding down the Right Stick Button or the Left Stick Button and a desired direction of the joystick. You can even mute your microphone by hitting the three main function keys at the same time.
It gets even stranger when you read further into the Xbox instruction manual and find that when connected to an Xbox, even if you switch the function to the left stick, it will always be read as the D-Pad and that when it is connected to PC the same problem will occur if the Xbox One drivers are chosen. Utilizing the Xbox 360 function, however, allows complete control between D-Pad and left stick on PC.
All of the strange design decisions aside, the two sticks are great to use while implementing their main function: playing fighting games. The pair of fightsticks are now my favorite weapons of choice to enter the FGC battlefield — primarily due to their impressive looks — but also because of how good they feel to use. The two controllers will be a great addition to any SoulCalibur fan’s arsenal especially when celebrating the release of SoulCalibur VI.
- Eye-popping casing with beautiful stick art.
- Matte-surfaced Hayabusa buttons keep your grip without slipping.
- Stands up on its own for display.
- The start button is in the top panel, cutting off portions of the art.
- Both sticks do not have the same functions.
- Requires tools to open and mod/repair.
Both sticks are launching alongside SoulCalibur VI today at GameStop and Amazon, so be sure to pick up your stick soon to play the next title in style. Links for purchase can be found below.
Stick around for more SoulCalibur VI coverage right here at Shoryuken!
HORI provided Shoryuken with review models of both RAP fightsticks for PlayStation 4/3/PC and Xbox One/360/PC