I actually have a special place in my heart for Hori. My very first fightstick was a Hori EX2 Fighting Stick which I used to play Street Fighter 4. It was small, cheap and ugly but it did the job. Later I upgraded to a Madcatz TE fightstick which was a big step up.
So I was excited to review the Hori Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai (Amazon). This is Hori’s premium mid-range fightstick and it definitely shows.
So how does it hold up against other mid-range sticks? Is it as premium as Hori claims? Let’s find out.
Unboxing and set up
Included in the box you get the Arcade Stick and manual. Pretty standard stuff.
In terms of setting it up. All you have to do is set the switch, which is located on the side, to the desired position. Depending on what platform you’re playing on, this will be either PS3, PS4 or PC. Then, just simply connect the USB cable to the console and voila, you’re all set up.
Testing this on other platforms, the stick seemed to work well and I had no issues. On PC, I simply connected it on Windows and it started downloading all the necessary drivers. I was then able to use it straight away.
The design and feel of the fightstick
The Hori RAP4 is a decent size although a bit smaller than the MadCatz TE2 fightstick. It measures roughly 17 inches across which makes it look quite wide. I like it, it reminds of an old arcade style machine.
Because of its large form factor, the buttons and joystick don’t take up the full size of the stick. This means that the surface area of the stick is larger than other, cheaper fightsticks.
I also like that the stick’s sides are larger than the base making it look as though there are handles on the side. Overall, I really like the design of this stick – the artwork probably less so, but that’s down to personal preference. I like my fightsticks with a little bit more color.
What’s perhaps a little bit annoying then, is the fact that you can’t swap out the artwork. Sorry, I should say that you can but it involves adding a plexi mod which over complicates things a bit.
The RAP 4 isn’t exactly light but it isn’t heavy either, it weighs about 5 pounds.
What does it feel like to play?
The button layout is the standard 8 button viewlix arcade layout, so no surprises there. The options button is placed just to the right of the main playing buttons. I found this placement to be a little bit odd as it’s perfectly possible to hit the options button by accident when playing. Fortunately, it can be turned on or off so it’s just a minor annoyance.
There’s a touchpad that is basically the PS4 touchpad which I don’t personally use, but it’s there if you need it. In addition, there’s a turbo switch, an assign-mode to re-assign or disable certain buttons (L1, L2 or Options Button) and a switch for playing on PS3 or PS4. There’s no headphone jack but I don’t really tend to chat online when I’m playing anyway so not a big deal for me.
In terms of the actual joystick and buttons, these are not Sanwa but Hori’s own Hayabusa joystick and Kuro buttons. And they’re pretty good. In fact, the joystick is the same one used in current Japanese Arcade machines and they certainly feel high quality. Being a square gate lever it certainly feels responsive enough, although an octagonal plate, should the user choose to, can also be put in.
The buttons are also quite responsive and make an audible click sound when hit. They feel different from Sanwa buttons but in a good way. They can get a bit loud though, which is fine if you’re on your own but may get a tad annoying for anyone living with you. This can easily be recitified however by swapping in some silent Sanwa buttons.
That brings me onto modifying the fightstick. You’ll need a screwdriver to open up the bottom panel so you can get inside and make all the necessary modifications. This isn’t exactly difficult but it isn’t as easy other high-end fightsticks like the Madcatz stick which simply pops open without any tools.
I’ve already mentioned that modifying the artwork is needlessly difficult which is a bit of a negative but not a dealbreaker.
There’s a compartment slot used to store away the USB cable. It’s huge and can easily fit the cable and then some. I find that I don’t really tend to use it and instead just wrap my cable around the stick.
- High-quality parts
- Solid premium design
- Sturdy base and quite wide
- Joystick and Buttons are very responsive
- Useful assign mode
- A cheaper alternative to the Madcatz TE and Razer lines
- Difficult to swap out artwork
- Buttons can get a bit loud
- No headphone jack
The HORI Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai is a great fightstick built on a solid base and has quality parts.
Whilst there are better fightsticks out there, they tend to be a lot more expensive. Besides you get a lot of fightstick for the money.
If you’re in the market for a great fightstick that doesn’t cost a fortune, then it’s hard not to recommend the RAP4. You won’t be disappointed.