I’ve been quite impressed with Hori lately. I’ve already reviewed the Hori Real Arcade Pro 4 which is a great fightstick.
The Hori Real Arcade Pro N Hayabusa (Amazon) arcade stick is a little bit more expensive but how is the increased price justified? Well, the Hori RAP N has a few key differences that actually elevates it slightly above the RAP4 and above other sticks too.
One of these is the ‘Noir’ button layout which is something I was excited to try. How does it compare to the standard Viewlix layout the RAP4 has? I cover all that and more in this review.
Unboxing and set up
Unboxing the Hori RAP N is pretty much a standard affair with the arcade stick and manual included.
Setting up is just a case of assigning a switch to the desired position, depending on what console you’re playing this will either be PS3 or PS4. Then it’s just plug in and play.
On PC, there will be some drivers that will need downloading but other than that it should work straight away.
The design and feel of the fightstick
Hori has implemented a more classic design with the Pro N. It’s certainly more of a rectangular shape compared to the RAP4. Although it’s not as wide as the RAP4, it’s still a decent size.
I particularly like the stock artwork which, coupled with the gold and silver accents, looks quite nice. This time, Hori has added a plexi-glass over the stock artwork which makes it easier to add custom artwork. I will talk more on this later on.
Onto to the buttons. There’s the standard share, PS home, L3, R3 and Turbo buttons located in the upper left of the panel. As well as some switches to reassign buttons and assign a console.
The PS4 touchpad is located at the back of the stick just above the push buttons. This is the standard place for Hori sticks and is easy to reach. There’s also a headphone jack which is quite handy.
The placement of the Start/Options button is a little bit more interesting. Firstly, unlike the Hori RAP4, the button is placed away from the main action buttons, in the top right of the panel. In addition, there’s a slick cover system which you can slide to cover or uncover the button. It feels like Hori has really listened to the feedback for the RAP4, as it’s now nearly impossible to hit the Start/Options button whilst playing.
What does it feel like to play?
What’s unique about RAP N is the ‘Noir’ style button layout. Unlike the traditional Taito VIewlix layout you find in most sticks, the Noir layout is angled more downwards and the buttons closer together. The result takes some getting used to as I have found I had to adjust the angle of my wrist slightly in order to effectively hit the buttons.
Once I did get used to the layout I found it to be quite comfortable. I tested this on games like Tekken and Soul Calibur which naturally worked quite well with this layout (not really surprising, as Hori did release a Tekken version of the RAP N). Street Fighter V, on the other hand, took some getting used to. This is probably because Street Fighter is a 6 button game as opposed to Tekken’s 4 button system.
After some time playing Street Fighter, the Noir buttons layout worked quite well. I can honestly say that this layout is more comfortable than the Viewlix layout. I was able to play a longer session without straining my wrist or fingers. This is probably because the Noir layout compliments the length of each finger quite well. You can see this with the way each button is positioned.
It also helps that the buttons and joystick feel good. They are, of course, Hori’s own Hayabusa buttons. I mentioned in my review of the RAP4 that these buttons are sensitive but really good at the same time. Do I prefer Sanwa? Probably, but I wouldn’t mind these buttons. Like the RAP4, these buttons are quite loud, but can easily be rectified by swapping in silent Sanwa buttons.
Modding the Hori Real Arcade Pro N
Like the RAP4 modding the stick is just a case of unscrewing the bottom panel. On the inside, swapping the buttons and lever is done easily enough.
There is one advantage the RAP N has over the RAP4, and that’s swapping out the artwork, which is a lot easier to do. This is because the RAP N has plexiglass which sits on top of the artwork which can easily be removed. Whilst the stock art itself can’t be removed, you can easily just put your custom art over this and then the plexiglass.
I don’t really have any big plans to modify this stick as I feel as though the Hayabusa buttons are good enough. I am, however, thinking of replacing the lever, as I feel as though it’s slightly loose for my liking. The joystick itself is a square gate, which I will keep, as I feel more comfortable with this, although you can put in an octagonal plate should you wish.
- High-quality parts
- Noir button layout is quite comfortable
- Solid premium design
- Joystick and Buttons are very responsive
- A cheaper alternative to the Madcatz TE and Razer lines
- Headphone jack
- Easier to add custom artwork
- Buttons can get loud
- Joystick feels a little loose at times
The Hori Real Arcade Pro N boasts fantastic design and the excellent Noir button layout adds to what is already a great fightstick.