Hori Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai (Amazon) is the “standard” quality stick, also known as RAP4 Kai. When looking for a good beginner arcade stick, or a good stick in general, this is pretty much the gold standard for what qualifies as a quality stick. It can also often be seen in EVO tournaments.
The case is not a brick-style box, but rather a wide, somewhat thin and slender case with “lips” on the sides, which you conveniently use for carrying. Its weight is moderate, about 2,2 kg, but not so light that you’d have trouble keeping it put on the table or on your lap. The base has big rubber pads that fill about half of the base.
It has a roomy compartment for the USB cable, but there’s a re-occuring complaint I seem to see everywhere; the thin plastic hinges break very easily that hold the door. As I was aware of this beforehand, I’ve tried to use it with care and it’s still unbroken. You can actually sometimes see in EVO tournaments that the compartment door is missing.
RAP4 uses Hori’s own Hayabusa buttons and joystick. In many regards they are perfectly comparable to Sanwa’s buttons, and it’s a matter of taste which ones you like best. Early RAP4 versions used Kuro buttons, which were Hori’s first proper entry to compete with the likes of Sanwa and Seimitsu.
Current versions of this stick include their improved, matte surface low-profile Hayabusa buttons.
The buttons have a bit of firmness to them, but they are very responsive and have a really short activation distance. They have a clear click sound, as well as the joystick, so it’s not the most silent device. But I didn’t find it loud either. I prefer Hayabusa’s slightly lighter, looser and smoother joystick compared to Sanwa’s JLF. Smooooth.
RAP4 also has PS4’s touchpad, awkwardly built into the back of the case. I haven’t found use for the touchpad in my fighting games though, so I don’t think it’s really a problem.
The Menu button is far enough from the push-buttons, but you can actually disable the Menu button if needed. It’s a nice feature to have, because pressing pause/menu during a match in tournaments could actually disqualify you!
This arcade stick is easily moddable. Buttons are snap-in type, and connectors come off easily. The artwork isn’t as easy to change unfortunately, as it’s glued to the case and can leave some residue that bothersome to rub off.
Open your wallet, please
Then there is the price (check current price).
Yes, it’s pricey. But everything is relative, and for this price it’s the absolute best tournament-grade stick you can get. When recommending quality sticks for beginners, this is often the one that everyone referres to. And for good reason.
Do you want to buy cheap, and mod it better down the road (which increases the cost)?
Would you rather buy a quality stick right away, that you don’t need to mod?
You can of course mod this one too, and you probably will if you’re a Sanwa die-hard fan. But even if you are, give Hayabusas a fair chance, you too may end up liking them.
Hori Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai Review for PS4
RAP4 is the finest stick for the money. While it’s plastic, it feels, and plays, premium. It’s mod-friendly, but there’s no need to automatically think Sanwas are the only option; the sexy, snappy low-profile Hayabusa buttons are on par with with the competition.