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[7/7/2008] Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA (Special Addition) Review

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#1
Alpha

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Product: Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA (Special Addition) Arcade Stick
Product Website: http://www.hori.jp/products/ps2/controller/realarc_pro2_sa/
Price: Approx $189.99 USD

[ To purchase the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA, contact Akihabarashop.jp
]

Product Supplier: Akihabarashop.jp
Review Author: GameCop
Digg it: http://digg.com/gaming_news/The_BEST_Damn_...ctures_Included

- Introduction -

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What is the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA?

The Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA (Special Addition) is an arcade stick primarily made for the Sony Playstation One and Sony Playstation 2. Hori Real Arcade Pro is also abbreviated as HRAP. In our review, we will interchange between the full product name of Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA or HRAP2: SA.

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I always have been fascinated by the feedback that the Hori Real Arcade Pro sticks always received throughout the gaming community, primarily with fighting game fans. At first glance, many will notice how expensive this arcade stick is for only one player. In fact, it may very well be the reason why Hori does not really market their Hori Real Arcade Pro series in the USA and other countries besides Japan. Finding a online store that even sells a Hori Real Arcade Pro and that has some in stock can be a time consuming experience. Finding a physical store outside of Japan to buy a Hori Real Arcade Pro may just very well be impossible, unless it is a special gaming store. In fact, HoriStore.com (as pictured), the primary distributing website of all Hori products, is reserved only for residents in Japan.

Luckily for us, Akihabarashop.jp remains a wonderful source for arcade parts and all Hori Real Arcade Pro products. They also ship to all countries, including the USA, straight from Japan. At the time this review is being typed, there are three different versions of the Hori Real Arcade Pro available for purchase (including the one we are reviewing) at Akihabarashop.jp.

The portability of the Hori Real Arcade Pro is a huge factor and it is also why a person is bound to find one in use during a fighting game competition (if of course they are allowed to bring their own controller/stick).

The stick we decided to review is the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA (Special Addition). At first, one may wonder why it is called "Special Addition" and not "Special Edition". We still have not really figured it out, but it could have been a quirky grammatical error by Hori. Nevertheless, both mean really the same thing. The original Hori Real Arcade Pro 2 used a Sanwa stick and Hori buttons. However, with the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA, it uses both a Sanwa stick and Sanwa buttons. This is not only a huge selling factor, but it changes the performance of the stick completely. For example, many fighting game fans prefer Sanwa buttons over almost every other brand of arcade buttons, including Seimitsu. Many eBay searches of "Hori Real Arcade Pro" products over time will probably result in many "custom" sticks for sale. The most prevalent are the original Hori Real Arcade Pro 1 or 2's with swapped Sanwa buttons, as opposed to the Hori buttons. It is not say the Hori buttons are not of utmost quality, but Sanwa buttons are most preferred because of their superior and fast response times. This can be extremely beneficial for any gaming competition a person may participate in.

- Opening the Box -

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Our Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA was shipped with EMS, which is the fastest and most reliable/preferred shipping from Japan to almost anywhere in the world.

We were surprised to see the shipping box for the arcade stick so large and pleased to find that Akihabarashop.jp did actually put a shipping box over the retail box. Other retailers may resort to putting only a shipping wrap over the retail box with perhaps bubble wrap as well. The shipping box they used was large and had "Fragile" written in big letters on the front of the box to prevent carriers from throwing it like a football (we hope so).

Inside the box, bubble wrap filled the gap between the retail box of the arcade stick and the shipping box. However, there was still a lot of wiggle room, and perhaps even too much, as we thought more bubble wrap should have been used. At the bottom of the shipping box, we found a souvenir of Japanese memorabilia! Although not pictured, it was one sheet of 2 pages from a Japanese newspaper advertising a new soft drink and other goodies. All in all, we still remained impressed with Akihabarashop.jp because the retail box and arcade stick remained in superior condition after a long travel from Japan. The retail box had no dents, bruises, or cuts. Simply put, we were very happy.

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There was a reason why the shipping box was so large for the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA and that is because the retail box is also very big. The design of the box is simple and eloquent with the manual of the arcade stick imprinted on the back of the box (shown in the Product Specifications section of this review). With the Sony Playstation logo imprinted on the top left of the front of the box, one may think (but there is not) there is a special edition Playstation console inside too. The box is that big and it is probably done on purpose to further protect the arcade stick through its adventures onto its soon to be owner.

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As we opened the retail box, we found the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA neatly wrapped in a blue plastic with a small separate box on the bottom of the inside of the retail box (not identifiable in pictures) that had a little hole to house the cable that connects to the Sony Playstation One/2 console. In the retail box, the ball stick of the HRAP2: SA was nowhere near the side of the box for it to be damaged during transit, as we found to be a problem with other arcade sticks and accompanied retail boxes we purchased. Hori did a great job securing the arcade stick in the box.

- Product Specifications -

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Unfortunately, one will quickly find that there is absolutely no written documentation that comes with the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA. All the documentation is imprinted on the retail box. Some may find this as a nuisance if they want to check something about the stick and if they already threw the box in the trash to save space in their room. Luckily for the potential buyer or owner of a HRAP2: SA, we took pictures of everything he or she will need!

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Ball Stick: JLF-TP-8YT-SK [Sanwa]

Buttons (O, X, ■, ▲, L1, L2, R1, R2): OBSF-30 [Sanwa Pushbuttons]

Buttons (Select, Start): OBSF-24 [Sanwa Pushbuttons]

Weight = 2600 grams / 2.6 kilograms / 5.7 lbs (pounds)

Dimensions = 412 x 243 x 135 millimeters / 41.2 x 24.3 x 13.5 centimeters / 16.2 x 9.6 x 5.3 inches

The following was taken from Shoryuken Fighting Game Community:

-------------------------------------------

- Uses quick disconnects for the buttons

- Turbo switches

- No mirror top (Although will produce reflections)

- White/Blue color scheme

- Button layout is Sanwa panel / Seimitsu 1P side panel layout

- Button placement:

■▲ R1 L1

X O R2 L2

-------------------------------------------

Placement / Options of Turbo Switches:

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. = OFF

T = ON / Turbo

H = HOLD

- Product Build -

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The Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA is truly a beautiful arcade stick. Some Hori Real Arcade Pro arcade sticks place the buttons in an elevated manner. This means that the columns of buttons keep going up a level, as pictured at this link.

However, the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA uses an intuitive design that has the buttons slightly higher and lower than each other. Some may say that this helps the person achieve arthritis during strenuous gameplay, but we found it to be better and more helpful while reaching for a quick button press.

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For approximately $189.99 USD, the buyer is bound to feel high quality on their finger tips. The HRAP2: SA uses a tough and hard plastic shell and a slick dark gray surface (that may appear brighter in different lighting). The buttons and ball stick are sky blue, with the Select / Start buttons dark gray as well.

The highly sensitive Sanwa buttons are quick to respond with even the lightest tap. Compared to other arcade sticks we have used and reviewed, this saves a person a lot of energy during competitions. At the same time, it did not give us the authentic feel of arcade buttons that you would commonly find in arcade machines outside of Japan. However, that is expected, as Sanwa buttons and the Sanwa ball stick, are most preferred in Japan, and with extreme fighting game fans. In fact, if you have not noticed already (or perhaps you have been skimming this review), this arcade stick does not use the traditional American stick. It uses a shorter Japan ball stick by Sanwa, found commonly in Japanese arcades. To be quite honest, it really gets down to user preference, but for extreme fighting game fans, Japan parts (i.e. Sanwa) are most preferred.

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The main difference between an American stick and a short Japanese ball stick with the HRAP2: SA is that you really can't grip the entire stick with your hand. Instead, the person will probably just use his or her fingertips to maneuver the stick, which may be easier and faster depending on the person.

We could not complete this review without pictures of the inside of the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA.

PLEASE NOTE: It may appear that the colors of the buttons are bluish/greenish inside the case, but this is not true. The buttons are sky blue inside and outside and unfortunately the original camera we used for taking pictures could not replicate the original colors that are present with the HRAP2: SA. We later on bought a new camera to fix this issue.

To open the unit, we used a Hex key. Thankfully, we had a set of Hex keys with various sizes, and one managed to be a perfect fit with the six screws used to secure the top plate/surface, that once removed, reveals the interior of the HRAP2: SA.

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Be careful when opening the HRAP2: SA, as we found that the wires were taped down to the bottom of the case with Scotch tape. Make sure to peel the tape before pulling the top plate back. You may also want to disconnect the cable from the PCB (part of the ball stick) as well.

Inside, the wires are kind of all over the place, but they are color coded for future modding, and do neatly begin from the turbo switches. The HRAP2: SA uses quick disconnects if you decide to swap the buttons or even the PCB/ball stick with custom parts, such as Seimitsu. You could also swap the joystick (ball stick) with the Seimitsu LS-32-01, which is the shooter fans favorite.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3099/2617162437_98299c29a8_m.jpg|http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3097/2617984796_1f0529e683_m.jpg

The Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA comes natively with only a Playstation One/2 connection. The cable and connection are of high quality. To read how to use the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA with other gaming consoles, including the PC, please read the Converters / Adapters section.

- Converters / Adapters -

Since the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA only natively supports connection to a Playstation One or Playstation 2 console, you will need to buy 3rd party converters / adapters to play it on other gaming consoles, including the PC. Luckily, most of these third party adapters are cheap and around $20.00 USD.

Shoryuken Fighting Game Community and their band of fans have created a thorough list of working converters/adapters that are compatible mostly with the Hori Real Arcade Pro's. Remember, if it says it "Works only with Sony PCBs" then that means it will NOT work with the Hori Real Arcade Pro's.

[Read the Converters/Adapters Compatibility List by Shoryuken]

As of now, the most popular and recent adapter is the Real by MyCarryingCase, which allows you to connect the Hori Real Arcade Pro's (i.e. 2 SA) to a Playstation 3 or PC, with no lag. Lag can be a big problem with cheaper converters / adapters, so it is always important to read people's experiences with a particular converter / adapter before purchasing one. That is why Shoryuken's list is so helpful.

You have probably also read about the Hori Real Arcade Pro 3 which is for the Playstation 3 or PC. However, the HRAP3 uses Hori buttons (not Sanwa), and is only compatible with the Playstation 3 or PC. It is an exception and it is not compatible with any converters / adapters to use with other consoles. This is also another reason why we decided to review the HRAP2: SA because it has a wide range of consoles it is also compatible with (by using 3rd party adapters), besides just the PS1/PS2. It is definitely an advantage to take into account with the HRAP2: SA being made only for the PS1/PS2.

Unfortunately, the best adapter to connect the Hori Real Arcade Pro's to the XBOX is the Magic Box. The Magic Box is almost impossible to find these days and therefore makes it very difficult to use any Hori Real Arcade Pro on an XBOX. This may be a huge letdown for the folks who use their modified (or not) XBOX's extensively to play arcade/console games.

You will also not be able to find a good enough adapter to connect it to the XBOX 360, without heavily modifying the arcade stick itself, and probably wasting away a perfectly good XBOX 360 gamepad. However, if you are interested in only having a Hori Real Arcade Pro for the XBOX 360, then perhaps you should invest your money in the upcoming Hori Real Arcade Pro EX or a Hori Fighting Stick. The Hori Real Arcade Pro EX will soon be available for pre-order at Akihabarashop.jp.

You also will not be able to find an adapter to connect the HRAP2: SA to a Nintendo GameCube / Nintendo Wii. Instead, there is the Hori Wii Fighting Stick, if you are interested in only playing on those aforementioned consoles. But remember, the Hori Fighting Stick series is of lower quality and value than the Hori Real Arcade Pro series. There is simply no HRAP replacement for the GameCube/Wii at this time.

However, the final good news is that there are two great adapters with no lag that allow you to connect the HRAP2: SA to a Sega Saturn or Sega Dreamcast successfully. For the Sega Saturn, that adapter is the Tototek. For the Sega Dreamcast, that adapter is the Total Control Plus (soon to be reviewed).

- GamePlay -

Playing with the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA is truly a blast for fighting game fans. It really is a special stick that may be overpriced to some, but really is worth it. With Sanwa buttons and a Sanwa stick, you have the superior advantage to beating your gaming opponents. The wide range of fighting games available for the Playstation One and Playstation 2 will keep your HRAP2: SA in heavy use.

http://img240.imageshack.us/img240/7166/clipboard01pm1gu5.png

If you buy the Real adapter by MyCarryingCase (mentioned in Converters / Adapters), it makes the experience even better. With emulators on the PC such as MAME, FBA, etc., the possibilities are almost endless with this arcade stick. Perhaps now you can beat your online friends with Kaillera or the acclaimed GGPO, which allows you to play classic arcade games online against friends!

Placing the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA stick on your lap while playing can be a bit of a challenge. High quality also sometimes equates to more weight. The HRAP2: SA is quite heavy (about the same as an ordinary laptop at close to 6 pounds) for its size and do not be surprised if your legs begin to cramp or fall asleep. We recommend you place the HRAP2: SA on a desk or elevated surface, which will keep your posture and gameplay intact, while playing.

The Turbo switches also proved useful if you want to have a button repeatedly being pressed without physically pressing the button. That is of course if you know what you are doing and planned how it will give you an advantage during a game. Otherwise, it is best to keep them in the off position.

- Notes / Suggestions -

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3114/2617166457_45c80b0518_m.jpg

Pictured is the Hex Key we used to open the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA.

By us stating that the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA is compatible with the Playstation One and 2, that also means its compatible with the original Playstation 1 model as well.

If the price of the HRAP2: SA is bothering you, we recommend investing your money in the soon to be released Hori Real Arcade Pro Amazon sticks. There are two Amazon sticks that will be released. The first is the HRAP Amazon for PS1/PS2 and the second is the HRAP Amazon for PS3/PC. Of course, we recommend getting the PS1/PS2 version as most likely our Converters / Adapters section of this review will apply to it as well. Like the Hori Real Arcade Pro 3, the Amazon stick for PS3/PC will not be compatible with any 3rd party adapters to use on other consoles. They both use the Hori buttons (not Sanwa) and are almost half the price of the HRAP2: SA. You can pre-order them now from Akihabarashop.jp at this link.

[7/8/08]: By accident we originally put "Second Addition" instead of "Special Addition" for the name of this reviewed product. The correct name is the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA (Special Addition). Our apologies for any confusion we may have caused.

- Conclusion -

Price: 7.5
The price of the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA will deter many from purchasing this wonderful arcade stick. However, this is a top notch arcade stick, especially for fighting game fans. Some say it is perhaps the best arcade stick ever made by Hori. With Sanwa buttons and a Sanwa stick, many will not have a true need to modify this arcade stick with different parts. You already got it all!

Quality: 9.0
The quality of this arcade stick is superb. Unfortunately, high quality also could mean more weight. This makes this stick quite heavy, and most playable on a flat surface, rather than your lap. The metal plate at the top is prone to scratches, but with good care and the already coated dark gray surface, they will not be too noticeable. At the same time, the metal plate can take a lot of weight, including the weight of your sweaty hands, while playing a game. The Sanwa buttons and Sanwa stick felt of high quality and should last you a long time.

Compatibility: 9.0
Remember folks, this particular model of the Hori Real Arcade Pro (2 SA) is for the Sony Playstation One/2. But with Converters/Adapters, you can connect it (without lag) to the PC, PS3, Dreamcast, and Saturn, with no problems. Unfortunately, we were not pleased that adapters for the GameCube, XBOX, and XBOX 360 are unavailable. All these adapters are 3rd party, not made by Hori, and truly are not Hori's problem. However, we know that many will want to invest in a stick that does have compatibility with other consoles as well, which is why we have this section. If you are interested in playing the Hori Real Arcade Pro on the XBOX 360, please invest your money with the Hori Real Arcade Pro EX instead, which will soon be available for pre-order at Akihabarashop.jp.

Design: 9.0
The design of the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA is beautiful. The sky blue buttons and ball stick with dark gray start/select buttons are a nice touch from the previous Hori Real Arcade Pro 2 which had red buttons and red ball stick with yellow select/start buttons. But the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA also looks too similar to the Hori Wii Digital Arcade stick, and uniqueness is always more desirable. Besides that, the button placement and up and down columns of buttons are excellent for fighting game fans.

Features: 9.5
All Hori Real Arcade Pro's have pretty much had the standard features, which primarily consist of the Turbo switches, and now Sanwa buttons. The Sanwa buttons are really what made this stick stand out from the rest of the pack with the classic Hori buttons.

# Final Rating (rounded) #

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Special thanks to Robert and Magnis for proofreading the review!

#2
Alpha

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Digg it: http://digg.com/gami...ctures_Included :)

#3
basilbr

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Looks good button-wise, but Ive never been a fan of those big thick bases.

#4
L.S.D

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No X360 connectivity :)

#5
Devia Eleven

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It's extremely detailed, it overcomes all of my previous reviews without effort.

#6
Robert

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Nice review. :)

#7
Mag

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Well since I deserve almost little as to no credit for this review, I mind as well add something to the review conclusion:

If your a street fighter fan, your crazy if you don't find this stick delicious. I'm talking from a professional street fighter player prospective, you will able to execute advance techniques (Karas, charge partition, overcharge buffering in 3s) to doing 720 motions with much better ease.

#8
BlackKnight

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Very thorough review. I stand by this stick being too expensive for the layperson, which is perhaps why having such a detailed unboxing and impression guide is so worthwhile. I have no confusion about what I'd get if I ordered one of those things now.

#9
Inky

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Ewww. Square gate..... I prefer a bat top, Octagon gate and straight button layout. American Style.

for nearly 200 bones. you can build your own (or pay someone on SRK) to build a stick to your specs, with the connectivity that you need.

#10
Alpha

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By accident we originally put "Second Addition" instead of "Special Addition". I went ahead and edited/changed every place that said "Second Addition" to "Special Addition". That includes all the snapshots we uploaded to Flickr, our news articles, and everywhere in our review that said that.

The correct name is the Hori Real Arcade Pro 2: SA (Special Addition). Our apologies for any confusion we may have caused.




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