Hori Real Arcade Pro 3 Review

by Mark Julio aka MarkMan

UPDATE: Thanks to the PS3 firmware update 1.70, the Hori Real Arcade Pro 3 now works with PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games!

SD TEKKEN finally got their hands on the ever elusive HRAP3 arcade stick for the PS3 console thanks to our friends at High-Score Magazine!

Going back to our review of the Virtua Stick High Grade we can’t help but think about, which stick should I use to play Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection? I mean, after all, we are a TEKKEN site… But to be fair, we’ll go one further, and we’ll get into which stick is best for each job.

One thing that needs to be noted is there are only two high end arcade sticks available for the PS3 as of right now. The Virtua Stick High Grade and the Hori Real Arcade Pro 3. The VSHG retails at ¥7329 yen(about $62 USD) and is about ten dollars cheaper than the HRAP3(¥8379, about $72 USD).

The HRAP3 features a Sanwa JLF-TP8Y-SK arcade stick lever, the same stick used in many arcades all throughout Japan and on dedicated US Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection arcade machines. The buttons on the HRAP3 are very similar to Sanwa OBSF-30/24 snap in buttons and can easily be replaced if you prefer to go all Sanwa or Seimitsu, whatever floats your boat. If you’re not a fan of modifying or opening up sticks, fear not as Hori is planning on releasing the Hori Real Arcade Pro SA later this year which features all Sanwa parts.

The HRAP3 is using the traditional Hori Real Arcade Pro design and casing that has seen success over the years since it’s debut as a PS2 arcade stick. The stick has a good amount of weight to it, although not as heavy as the Virtua Stick High Grade it still gets the job done and is comfortable to play with either on table or in your lap.

The button layout is exactly the same as that of the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2 arcade stick. There are 8 buttons and the four main buttons(square, triangle, x, and circle) are on the far left side while the shoulder buttons are on the right. This layout is perfect for Tekken fans as you can just plug in and go right into battle, no need for remapping buttons like the VSHG.

In gameplay, the stick works wonderfully. SD TEKKEN has been using various converters in both casual and tournament play and from our testing the HRAP3 works just as well as the best converter combined with any PS1 or PS2 arcade stick. One huge advantage for Tekken that the HRAP3 holds is that it works seamlessly with inputs, unlike the VSHG. The VSHG had a problem with T5DR where inputs requiring 3 or more inputs(example Bryan’s 1+3+4 taunt or Jack-5’s f+1+2 used in juggle enders), whereas the HRAP3 has no problems at all. The actual stick lever can be set to either digital, left analog, or right analog sticks. There is also a turbo fire setting with 3 different speeds. The buttons feel good but are a bit mushy, most hardcore fighting game enthusiasts will change them out immediately, although Hori does not recommend it as it will void your warranty, if you’re really adamant about doing it…

You will be greeted by this wondering wiring monstrosity that is the heart and soul of the HRAP3. You will need a standard Phillips screwdriver to take off the back screws on the metal panel and a 7 mm nut driver works best on removing the top panel from the plastic casing. You’ll notice that each button has it’s own pair of color coded wiring that are connected with quick disconnects. This makes for worry free and solder-less button swapping. You may need to use pliers to remove the quick disconnect plugs as they are fastened on pretty tight. All you have to do is unplug the quick disconnect that is plugged into the button and then depress the tabs around the buttons and pop them out of place. Then put the new button you want to put in and just plug the wires back in. Easy as that! Changing the balltop to a different color/style is easy as well. All you have to do is hold the bottom part of the stick with a Flathead screwdriver and simply unscrew the ball top off and replace it using the same method. If you want to change the entire stick mechanism, that will take more work and I’m certainly not going to help walk anyone through that! Just make sure you don’t lose any screws and close it back up tight if you decide to swap out any buttons or the stick.

RANK TEKKEN 5: DARK RESURRECTION VIRTUA FIGHTER 5
#1 Hori Real Arcade Pro 3 Virtua Stick High Grade
#2 Hori Fighting Stick 3 Hori Real Arcade Pro 3
#3 Virtua Stick High Grade Hori Fighting Stick 3

This chart above shows how well each PS3 arcade stick works with the two major PS3 fighting games. The input issue with the VSHG really makes it almost unplayable in high level play, thus making the HRAP3 the weapon of choice for T5DR.

The Hori Real Arcade Pro 3 is definitely the best stick out there for Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection. If the VSHG didn’t have any problems I would recommend that, but alas, you know the drill. The stick also works well with Virtua Fighter 5. Unfortunately both the HRAP3 and Fighting Stick 3 do not yet have compatibility with PS2 games. Hopefully this will be fixed in the future!(Which it has! Read the update at the top of this page! – MarkMan) The HRAP3 however does work on PC emulators, including MAME, just make sure the you hit the PS/Home button to enable the stick! Unfortunately the HRAP3 is not widely available in US retail stores as of now, so you’ll have to either import it or purchase it off High-Score’s online shop. You can always buy it today at Play-Asia as well!

Additional Pictures:

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Where to Buy:

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36 thoughts on “Hori Real Arcade Pro 3 Review

  1. I was about to buy the HRAP 3 SA.

    but the price have been increasing steadily up until recently reaching 150us.

    that really does not justify its modification

    of 2 button removal and change to all sanwa button. for that extra 50us.

    can i assume that the hrap3 and hrap3 sa is totally the same? except for the buttons?

    i have access to heaps of those sanwa button and button plug as i work in arcade.

  2. is it just me ? cause iam using HRAP3 to play tekken DR sometimes if i do EWGF motion really fast the punch input doesnt register, so the result is only a wavedash, and i believe i do press the right punch button quite hard. is there any body encounter the same problem, this is kinda annoying.

    1. I tried out my friend’s HRAP3 as well and find it hard to ewgf consistently unlike in the arcades. I was turned off by the HRAP3 as well because of this, though I am hopeful the HRAP3 SA’s Sanwa buttons will make all the difference.

      Can any HRAP3 SA owners confirm the difference? Thanks.

  3. Mark, are you serious!? I just ordered from High-Score yesterday. Do you know if the shipping is any faster with High-Score than Play-Asia?

    I love DRO and I wanted to invest in my first stick. I wanted the best one for Tekken so I am getting this. I don’t have much experience with arcade style playing. I have been using the controller and I’m tired of fooking up certain inputs and using sholder buttons for grabs and (both) Kick and Punch buttons. Is it hard getting used to? Will I have to retrain everything I know from the bottom-up?

  4. The HRAP 3 is available for pre order on amazon now. its been up for a while but i didn’t see it on the “where to buy” list. It’ll be available on the 29th of December for 99.99.

  5. I have a question about hori real arcade pro 3 ps3. I just recently purchased one, and noticed the balltop actually can spin around in place? Is this the designed functionality? How can I unscrew it given that it appears to just turn freely?

  6. @shawn and alex

    at the other end of the shaft is a slit to insert a flathead screwdriver to hold it in place as you unscrew the balltop. so it would be easiest to open up the joystick to access it.

  7. Jase that info will come in handy for me as wel.

    I’d like to replace the buttons with actual Sanwas. Will the Sanwa OBSF-30 buttons work with the HRAP 3? Here is a link

  8. Those are the recommended buttons by most HRAP owners, myself included and yes they are compatible. As a side note when ordering from Play-Asia use the EMS Speedpost for shipping as there have been cases where UPS and Fed-Ex charged an additional 60 dollars for customs. And in 90% of all cases the Speedpost shipping arrived in 2 days despite the 1 Week ETA.

    1. hey did the sanwa OSBF30 buttons fit perfectly?, exact same demensions as the hori snap in buttons? I asks cuz I saw a youtube video of a dude who modded his HRAP3 and the L1 L2 buttons appeared to be loose.

  9. I live out in the SF Bay Area and was wondering if there’s anyone here familiar with modding joysticks who might want to tackle replacing the buttons in my HRAP3 (soon to arrive) with Sanwa buttons? (Since they’re supposedly so much better…)

    I’d already have the buttons ordered…

    Anyway, if anyone can help out, write me void201 at yahoo

    Thanks! :)

  10. The GT-Y Octagonal plate is great! Since I”m use to the 8-way American joysticks when playing arcade fighters, it was more comfortable for me to pull of familiar special moves. I’m sure I could’ve gotten use to the original square gate, but I like the option of using something more familiar. Definitely worth the money.

  11. Thanks for the GT-Y microreview, Darkgeist (any relation to Shadow? haha). I just ordered mine and was stressing about going round or octo… or “stick” it out with the square since it’s actually better for Guile (my main force of reckoning). I opted to order the octo, thinking I could just swap in the square for exclusive Guile-Rage days. Question, how much more difficult is it to reliably nail Guile’s super/ultra with the octo? Oh, and check out this page for some great info on the effects of different shape “gates”:
    http://www.slagcoin.com/joystick/restrictors.html
    Also: for my 24mms, I ordered white/clear semitsus to go with my clear bubble ball. The only ones i could find like that had lugnut attachments, not snap, you think they’ll fit/work where the select & start buttons are? Let me know yo.

  12. I’m not sure about lugnut attachments since I don’t use those. But I have no problem performing Guile’s super\Ultra in Street Fighter with the 8-way. As for swapping back and forth, it’s easy to replace the restrictor plate but it’s still time consuming.

  13. so HRAP 3 comes with a square gate? how hard is it to do the ewgf motion compared to the octo. and If I wanna switchto octo, does it void warranty? how much is it? and is it better than round or square?

    1. It comes down to preference.

      Like all Hori sticks, it has a square restrictor gate. IMO it is pretty easy to EWGF/wavedash and cancel on square gates, it is just something that comes down to how comfortable you are at doing it.

      1. hmm okay. I guess I’ll just practice alot with it. but in this review. it says it is 72$ use. where can I buy this for 72$.. cuz all I see is 99$ usd.

  14. Will OBSF-24 and OBSF-30RG work for this stick ?? I want to pre order this buttons but I don’t know if this sizes will fit on the arcade stick, thanks.

  15. I see that OBSF-24 will fit, but will OBSF-30RG work on this stick?? The switch is longer, that is why I am asking! thanks

  16. i just wanted to add that i know somebody that swapped out the stick for a JLF-TP-8YT-SK and he change OBSF-24 and 30

  17. Hello I Bought The HRAP3 For PS3 From The Hori USA Site Aynyways

    I Know That This Arcade Stick Is Very Good IIn High Quality And I Know It Has Hori Buttons And A

    Sanwa Arcade Stick What I Want To Know Is Why Are Sanwa Buttons So Much Better Than The Stock Hori Buttons

    I Don’t Want These Buttons To Break Or Go Out Any Time Soon
    Can Anybody Tell Me If The Stock Hori Buttons Are At Least Good Qualtiy
    Or Above Good Quality

    I Also Bought Tekken 6

    Can Those Hori Buttons Last Years Of Abuse

    Not Saying Im Going To Pound On Them Or Anything

    I Just Want To Know How Durable They Are

    Im Not Worried One Bit About The Joystick

    Since Its Sanwa But I Am Conserned About The Buttons

    And NO I Am NOT Going To MOD This Stick And Swap Out The Hori Buttons For

    All Sanwa If Anybody Can Give Me Any Answers I Will Greatly Appreciate Them

    You Can E-Mail Me Your Answers At Thompson2459@gmail.com

    PS My HRAP3 Is Brand New I Did Not Order It Used

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