|Release||February 27, 2021|
|Platforms||XSX / XB1 / PC|
|Size||16.1” x 11.8” x 4.7”|
In the previous generation of consoles, Hori presented the fighting game community with many great options from the Real Arcade Pro VLX to the Fighting Edge. With the Xbox Series X dominating the PlayStation 5 in the majority of the specs department, it seems that Hori made a wise decision by developing the Fighting Stick α Designed for Xbox Series X | S ・ Xbox One, although it is likely that we will see a PS5 fightstick from Hori down the line. This fightstick is officially licensed by Microsoft.
Another incentive that may have motivated Hori to target the XSX could have been Microsoft’s recent purchase of ZeniMax Media, which might make games such as The Elder Scrolls VI exclusive to the XSX. More XSX players means that there is a bigger buyer base. In fact, the XSX could end up being the dominant console of the generation, potentially becoming the fighting game community’s console of choice in tournaments, but current sales figures say otherwise.
The first impression is that the box is enormous. Also, it has a handle and is easily sealable. Inside the box, there are two cushions that hold the fightstick, and the fightstick itself is in a stylish yet disposable bag. The only other content is a quick start guide. The cable you will find within the interior of the fightstick.
This time around, Hori brought back the same high level of quality that we have become accustomed to. Needless to say, the Hayabusa joystick and buttons live up to the reputation they have built up for themselves as parts that are on par with the industry standard.
You can also find a share button, profile button, key lock mode, and more to provide players as many options as possible. A companion app enables players to use the profile button in order to switch between four custom profiles.
For the sake of convenience, audio and microphone controls are readily available on the board itself to avoid any unnecessary hassle. Additionally, there are rubber pads on both sides that are quite long.
The fightstick is not necessarily light, but it is noticeably lighter than the average fightstick. Nonetheless, it feels well built and durable because of the metallic top plate and the plastic that probably comprises 98% of the fightstick. The fightstick has a handle at the bottom.
The Hayabusa parts are good, but they can be easily swapped. Fortunately, opening the fightstick using the latch in the back is smooth. Unfortunately, the interior is not that spacious. That is probably because Hori tried to make the fightstick as thin as possible while still accommodating the button wires.
The cable is actually plugged inside to be passed through a gap and connected to an Xbox console or PC. Although the cable fits well enough, it would have been nicer to have a detachable cable that is not stored almost on top of the other wires.
Again, the plastic is quality, but the matte finish results in an off-putting appearance. Plastic dominates the fightstick’s composition, cheapening the look and feel as well. However, the artwork is completely new, with grayscale shapes that look geometric and modern.
The art is swappable by removing eight screws, the joystick, and all buttons. The screws are smaller than average but clearly labeled. Assuming you do not cross thread, the screws should last through many swaps. They have blue loctite on them.
As for the silhouette and layout, the fightstick is quite reminiscent of the Hori Real Arcade Pro N Hayabusa, a fan favorite from the previous generation.
The upper midrange price seems somewhat reasonable. First and foremost, Hori is quite reputable despite mishaps such as the Hori Fighting Stick Mini. Otherwise, this is the only fightstick made for this generation so far, so Hori is providing a product unlike any other, which could warrant a small boost in price. The thoughtful features help justify the price as well.
The concern about plastic strikes back, though, since plastic is known to be a relatively cheap material that is not usually associated with higher prices. It is odd that this fightstick is very innovative, but the material department was not optimized.
The Hori Fighting Stick α is a decent entry point into the generation of consoles. While not without its downsides, it packs a slew of innovative features that should get you into the groove of the new era. Otherwise, our personal recommendation for an alternative is the prolific Victrix Pro FS that is also compatible with the XSX and has already been out in the market for a while, but be ready for the steep price.