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!
Where to Buy: