Posted Fri Feb 19, 2016 at 02:57 PM PST by Brian Hoss
Heading into the weekend, and this first week of public availability for 'Street Fighter V' hasn't been perfect. While the servers have rebounded (knock on wood), the Battle Lounge functionality (you know if I wanted to play against friends) is still inoperable as far as I'm concerned. Likewise, I'm missing both an arcade mode and more involved training mode. Fortunately, the game has still been a blast. As can happen with such a phenomenon (the 'SF' franchise), there are some important accessories to think of. One of my favorite parts of the fighting experience, is using fightsticks (aka arcade sticks).
As I covered before, Mad Catz has a whole line of new 'Street Fighter V' peripherals. (See impressions here.) I had pretty much figured on using one of these new products. I even put together a set of Sanwa parts for modding the FightStick Alpha. But then, Mad Catz went through some very bad days, and I decided to get serious about some other options.
I used to have quite a few fightsticks around of one variety or another. My main 'Super Street Fighter IV' controller was a two-player Sega Megalo cabinet. (See here.) Prior to a series of moves, I had sold off most of these sticks and the cabinet. Fast forward, and when the calendar hit 2016, I had three fightsticks at my immediate disposal, none of which were PS4 specific.
Now, take it from someone who once turned a Megalo cabinet into a PS3-powered 'SSFIV' machine, PS1 and PS2 PCBs are some of the most friendly around. That's why having a PS1 era Namco Arcade Stick on hand is always a good idea. Even without Legacy controller support, I was confident that I could use the Namco Arcade stick on the PS4. By way of a Brook Super Converter (PS2toPS4), the 1990's Namco Arcade stick is immediately a better option than using most PS3 PCB powered sticks. For one thing, it works in PS4 UI, which means no need to use a DualShock 4 to turn on the system and load the game, (I can turn the system on with PDP PS4 Media Remote, then the stick takes over), and even better, no need to go through the Legacy Controller authentication. The Brook Adapter has a Home Button on it, and the controller's Select button works as a Share Button.
I did run into the 8 minute timeout issue, but a firmware update to the adapter via a PC fixed the issue.
Now for the Hori Fighting Stick 3. I've never loved this stick, and as a result, it has very little mileage. The parts are very OK. They work in a pinch. Unfortunately, the button mapping is a bit backward. It's offset from everything standard, which causes annoyances even with in-game button remapping. Naturally, as I alluded to earlier, using this stick requires simultaneous use of DualShock 4 and the Legacy Controller Authentication option. That basically means leaving the DS4 plugged into power and on the table in front of the controller. That said, this controller has behaved fine. (Which is good, since it did not work with the Brook Super Converter PS3toPS4 adapter.)
More important to me, and yet even more obscure for readers I would suspect, is my first gen Mad Catz TE stick. This stick is actually a 360 stick which I modified to support use on the PS3 (while keeping the original 360 PCB working) using a Cthulhu + Imp board (the so-called ChImp). I had tried this stick with a Brook Super Converter PS3toPS4 adapter, and the results where horrible. Fortunately, the Legacy Controller Authentication option worked just fine.
I still have another one of these ChImp boards lying around (they can work on their own), which made building a new stick tempting.
As glad as I was to have these three sticks of mine working well in 'Street Fighter V,' as release day approached, I thought, it might be time to get a proper PS4 stick after all. Of course, I still had a whole kit of Sanwa parts that was begging to be used. And even beyond all of that, I was really missing the joy of having a dedicated cabinet, complete with excellent arcade controls.
As it turns out, I decided that the solution to all these problems, was to pick up a HORI Real Arcade Pro 4 Premium VLX.
This stick is really something else. Sure it has the PS4 centric features, the full controls, the touchpad, USB compartment, the easy mod buttons and stick, but it's more than that. The coolness of the metal as I rest my hands on the front of the case, the sterling black and chrome aesthetic, the bulk and weight, the ability to fold it forward for access (just like my Sega cabinet), the padding on the bottom that keeps it poised- these are special qualities. No doubt, this stick is a luxury even if it's not as imposing as an actual cabinet.
I decided right off that I dislike the start button. I'm used to the arcade placement, but the button itself is more recessed when depressed than I would like. Thus, I've order a 24mm Sanwa (or two), and when it arrives, I'll do the full changeover of buttons and stick. In the meantime, I'm using the built-in HAYABUSA stick lever and KURO buttons. They certainly work, and think they are just a bit stiffer than what most of us (at this point) prefer. I'm obviously not in a rush to rip them out (though that's happening), and I will keep them around. They are the likely reason why the stick was so easy to get. $299.99 isn't cheap, but neither is this stick. An extra $40 for Sanwa parts is alright with me (I was ready to drop them in an Alpha after all). I'll bet if the stick was $349.99 with Sanwa parts, they would have sold out ages ago.
I don't love the USB compartment. The plastic that forms the whole back is dull in a way I dislike. I use an USB extension anyway (more for the sake of the console), so I just have the male USB connector sticking out. I have no intension of opening the USB compartment again anytime soon. I would like to put the three thumbscrews somewhere, and I certainly intend to leave the box unlocked for the foreseeable future. It stays firmly closed at any rate unless I try to open it.
The stick does come with a few other little parts. There two 30mm button caps, some extra quick ties, a USB cap, and a polishing cloth.
The stick is 22.4 inches wide and nearly 12 lbs., and I wouldn't feel good throwing it in the closet. I may keep the box just in case I need to store it. The underside of the panel is as perfect as the outside, maybe more so. This isn't a stick for printing artwork for. The thin top surface that keeps the player's skin from touching the metal panel reminds me of many a past arcade panel. I suspect, given 10-20 years of use and abuse (like outside heat and humidity), it will probably peel. Of course, I don't plan on that arcade level of usage.
So yeah, I plan to follow up once I change the parts out and put in more time with the stick. As it stands, I love that there really are options for players on the PS4. One way or another, fightstick fanatics ought to be able to get something great, and maybe personal working on the PS4 or PC version of 'Street Fighter V.'
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