A closer look at HORI’s latest Real Arcade Pro design!
HORI was ready to mark the arrival of the long-awaited Tekken 7 with two new fightstick releases: the Real Arcade Pro TEKKEN 7 Edition for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Need a new stick? We spent some time with these new models to see what they bring to the game, courtesy of HORI. What does this new RAP design offer?
Both models have back-compatibility in their applicable console families: so you can use these on PlayStation 3 & 4, and Xbox 360 & Xbox One, respectively. Both sticks are PC-compatible using XInput.
Art of the Iron Fist.
The first thing you notice — and frankly, the first selling point on these new sticks — is the sweet licensed Tekken 7 panel artwork. PlayStation users get a fierce Mishima face-off, while Xbox players get a selection of Tekken’s lovely ladies to look at. The case colors differ to match their themes.
While I’m primarily a PS4 player, I gotta admit that I prefer the Xbox artwork — just a sucker for a pretty face, I guess. It’s worth noting that the panel sections are interchangable, if you really want Tekken girls on your PS4 stick. The only significant difference in the cases is the PS4 touchpad on the back of the Sony-compatible stick.
Old, but new again.
The case design of this new RAP is a throwback to older models, but it is updated with some very cool perks.
Naturally, the Hayabusa buttons and lever are the current offering on new HORI sticks, and they perform as well as ever. I’ve said in a prior HORI review how much I like the matte-surfaced, short-throw Hayabusa buttons — they’re quick, snappy and just feel responsive. I’m less of a fan of the Hayabusa lever, with a slight preference for the slightly-less noisy and slightly-less loose Sanwa Denshi JLF, but I don’t mind playing on the Hayabusa either. But I definitely prefer Hayabusa pushbuttons to Sanwa’s.
The button layout itself here may be slightly different than you’re used to; variations on the Taito Vewlix layout have become pretty much industry-standard across the board, but HORI shakes it up here with a switch to the “Noir” layout — nearly identical to Sega’s “Astro City” layout, the buttons curve downward away from your fingers sharply.
These aren’t mm-perfect representations of what we see on all retail sticks today, but these diagrams should give you a good idea of the differences. I found extended play with the Hayabusa lever and buttons, including in the Noir layout, fun and comfortable. I think I actually prefer the Noir a little bit, enough to actually stay with it. I spent time playing this fightstick with Tekken 7, and Street Fighter V and Ultra Street Fighter IV.
I don’t think it was ever intended as such, but players that like to grab their RAP Pros in that “handle” area under the front of the case will be looking for a handhold here, as the styled side-slots on these cases don’t offer enough area for a solid grip. The sticks are pretty hefty, so as essentially a solid rectangular block, they would actually benefit from a handle somewhere.
The control panels that were formerly on the right side of the prior models are now up in the top left, similar to other recent sticks from competitors. The usual Real Arcade Pro turbo/button assignment functions are all still here (although on the Xbox One model there is no turbo function, and the lever can only be assigned between the directional pad/left analog stick).
The PlayStation 4 touchpad is in the usual area — back of the case, next to the USB cable compartment. These compartment covers seem a bit more snug that my last HORI stick, too.
There are two notable additions to the RAP formula here: the inclusion of a headset jack in the front lower left is a great addition, ensuring an easy solution for noisy public venues. HORI’s answer to accidental presses of the OPTIONS/MENU button is both hilarious and awesome. Rather than a switch to simply toggle the button on/off for tournament play, they actually provide a sliding cover to safely block off the deadly button when needed, like some sort of game-destroying ICBM launch control button:
The cover is easy to open and close at need. This is both a simple and silly solution, and I love it.
The base of these sticks uses a set of rubber feet instead of slide-resistant padding, meaning these sticks are well-suited to sit on a tabletop, but can be very slidey on a lap. The Xbox One version’s base has more of a matte finish than the PS4 model, making the Sony stick somewhat more slippery. If you play with a stick on your lap, you’ll probably want to attach some kind of rubber pads to mitigate this.
What’s on the inside?
Like other recent RAPs, getting into these sticks and pulling them apart is easy for a prospective modder. The hex nuts on the top panel hold the top panel in place only — if you want to actually get at the joystick, buttons, and board properly, you need to open it up from below.
You can swap the stick and buttons out on these with very little effort, with a fair bit of room for more ambitious mods if you feel so inclined.
King of the Iron Stick?
Overall, I was quite impressed by this new take on the Real Arcade Pro. It might not be enough to lure you over to HORI if you’re comfortable with another manufacturer’s stick, but it’s a solid offering for the price if you’re in the market for a new one — or if you simply can’t resist a Tekken-branded stick. The panel artwork is very cool, on both models. The price on this fightstick is a touch higher than previous RAPs, at about $180.00 USD. This isn’t surprising, considering the Tekken license, and the added headset jack and OPTIONS/MENU button cover.
If you’re already a fan of HORI products and Tekken, you won’t be disappointed; if you’re new to HORI, I would consider this a step up in the RAP line, worth trying out. You might want to get some hands-on time with the Noir button layout first to ensure you like it, though!
- Gorgeous Tekken 7 panel artwork.
- Solid, sturdy, comfortable case design.
- Hayabusa pushbuttons are responsive and feel great.
- Cost is still lower than most competing fightsticks.
- No padding on the base can make it slip around on your lap.
- Your preferred panel-art/case color may not match your platform (without mods).
- Noir panel layout may not suit your preferences.
Additional source: slagcoin.com [for control panel layouts]