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« Review: HORI Fighting Edge arcade stick (PS4, PC) »

The original HORI Fighting Edge, released back in 2012, was one of the coolest arcade sticks on the market at the time. It was HORI’s big attempt to not only make an original premium-level body design, but also introduce the company's proprietary high-quality arcade parts. When compared to other sticks during its release, the stick's edgy design and flashy features were something not found in other sticks made by other companies. In hindsight, the result turned out mostly successful. The stick was a popular choice for players. The parts were featured on future HORI sticks, with the buttons later upgraded on other models. But when consoles reached the next generation, a new version of the Fighting Edge was missing in action up until now.


Exclusive to the PlayStation 4, the latest model of the Fighting Edge comes with changes in both the visual and playability departments. Some of these alterations are for the better, while others might irk you depending on your love for the original model. There are still many things left untouched to show that, in essence, it’s still the same old Fighting Edge, but for the next generation.

Opening the stick isn't as much of an experience as it was for the original Fighting Edge. The 2012 model was housed in two boxes that felt like I was opening an elaborate present. This version is a lot less complex with a generic PlayStation 4 box with simple internal packaging. It's understandable since most officially licensed PS4 peripherals have to comply to the aesthetic of the iconic buttons mixed in a sea of blue.

The very large and angular design of the original Fighting Edge still remains in this model. The detail done to every part of the body evokes a futuristic feel without overstaying its welcome. Even for a 2012 design, the Edge is still one of the best-looking stick models to this day. Similar to some of HORI’s Real Arcade Pro models, the Fighting Edge’s body dimensions lean more on being sleek, rather than being box-shaped like other arcade sticks. There is a good amount of front-to-back length though so it doesn’t look too small when facing it. Height-wise, it’s relatively short which accentuates the design. It’s also very wide, which is great for many different body types, so everyone has enough leg room as well as enough playing space. The body also has a really good hefty weight to it so you don’t have to worry much about it being flimsy.

Upon first glance, the new Fighting Edge’s top panel sports a brushed metal aesthetic. This is different from the black or white models from the last generation. It was initially off-putting but I understood what HORI was aiming for. Along with the Fighting Edge name, Hori also used the Yaiba kanji, meaning blade, as part of the branding. Combined with the black body, a figurative hilt, the sword aesthetic makes more sense than what was found in the original model. When facing the light, it shines throughout the panel pretty nicely. The dullness of the metal panel fortunately doesn't reflect the sun causing glare.

This change in style does bring some sacrifices. With the brushed metal covering most of the panel, the newest model lacks the cool LED touch panel for special controls on the right side. Instead, these controls are separated in different parts of the stick. The Options button is located on the top right side of the panel as an actual arcade pushbutton. The Touch Pad button, the PS4 equivalent of Select, can be found on the front-right side. Despite forcing the removal of the secondary compartment found in the older Fighting Edge, the Touch Pad’s placement is appropriate. Share, analog buttons, left stick/right stick/d-pad selector, Assign mode and Tournament mode are just under the right handle as physical buttons and switches. This placement is pretty smart, as the controls are placed in areas where you are unlikely to press. Tournament mode will lock Options, PS Button and Share. Assign mode lets you make any button to act as another or even have them disabled.  Compared to the original, changing buttons here felt awkward due to only getting simple light indicators from Tournament and Assign modes. You will have to refer to your manual to aid you in the process. Fortunately, since this Fighting Edge is exclusive to the PS4, it's not bound by limitations such as remapping particular buttons. You can assign any input to any of the eight face button including stick buttons and Touch Pad.

Another loss from the change in panel is the lack of vertical side LEDs. The original models featured these lights to both heighten the look and act as a vibration indicator when something hits. I do miss the LEDs, but in the context of the newest model it probably would have diminished the overall look.

The Hayabusa pushbuttons are matte black on the plunger with glossy silver on the rim.Despite the changes, some features such as the USB cable compartment are still found in this model. I would have liked to see a detachable cable for a premium stick like this, but the compartment is large enough to house the cable just fine. It would have added to the total cost as well. The anti-slip mat found on the bottom of the Fighting Edge gets an upgrade in material. While the older model had a capable mat, the new stick works considerably better in staying put when placed on legs or surfaces. You can carry the Fighting Edge by holding on to one of the side handles. Ultimately, you might want to use a stick bag instead. If you are a big fan of the Namco Noir layout, it's still here in the new Fighting Edge. It's a solid layout since it's not as straight as that of the Taito Vewlix nor curvy as the Sega Astro City placement found on a variety of sticks. It hits the sweet spot in between which should satisfy most players.

While HORI used its own arcade parts in its budget sticks for a long time, they were not of good quality and couldn’t compete with materials from companies like Sanwa Denshi and Seimitsu. The original Fighting Edge, featuring the Hayabusa lever and Kuro pushbuttons, was the company's big attempt to have arcade-quality parts. The gamble paid off and the parts would appear in newer sticks. As years have passed, the Kuro brand was quietly dismissed and Hori went back to the drawing board with the Hayabusa pushbuttons. Now both Hayabusa lever and buttons appear on the new Fighting Edge.

With short throw distance from neutral to a full press, along with the light tension, the Hayabusa buttons feel very fast. If you are looking to input as fast as possible, these buttons are one of the best examples. Compared to the stiff Kuro buttons, the Hayabusa buttons have a loose touch much like what’s offered on Sanwa’s various OBS-30 models. While I still prefer a more glossy button, the matte finish on the plungers does feel nice. Exclusive to this Fighting Edge model are the glossy silver rims which fit quite nicely with the body design. HORI definitely made a worthy competitor to the popular standard found in Sanwa. Personally, the Hayabusa buttons are one of my preferred buttons to date.

The Hayabusa lever comes back with the same technology including the V-Cam housing system. This makes travel from neutral to the edge of the square gate feel smoother and snappier than other Japanese levers. It's like they combined both the familiarity of a Sanwa JLF with the more direct feel of some Seimitsu levers which makes sense with the Hayabusa lever. Some fundamental parts though feel off though. Shortly after the original Fighting Edge’s release, every Hayabusa lever went through some internal changes. The most notable changes were the switches and tension spring. The one in this stick is no different. The switches here feel a tad bit lighter, which is fine, but their relation to the flimsy spring is what’s giving me issues. The light tension gave me unintentional inputs when doing movement techniques in Tekken or simply performing a special move in Street Fighter V. During my time with the Dragon Ball FighterZ beta, an accidental jump would happen a bit too much. From what I tried with other newer Hayabusa levers, changing the spring to something heavier helps in making performance considerably better. If you grip the Hayabusa lever with more firmness, these issues might not be as prominent but for my case, it can feel sometimes uncontrollable unless it's modded.

It would have been cool if the stick had easy internal access, like the Razer Panthera or Mad Catz Arcade FightStick TE2 sticks, but that would have required a major overhaul to the design and would add to the total price. That said, it isn't hard to use an allen key to remove the six screws on top of the panel. If you are looking to modify the existing parts or swap them out, this method is acceptable. For those wanting to swap the entire panel itself with plexiglass and custom artwork, you might have to wait for aftermarket companies to provide custom services due to some of the panel changes.

Out of the box, the new Fighting Edge has PC support through XInput. It works for most modern fighting games on PC with no issues, but it does come with one caveat: Touch Pad doesn’t act as the Back button. Players using practice mode and planning to use position resetting, they have to use the Share button instead. Due to its placement just under the right side handle, this feels inconvenient. With other sticks on the market that allow Touch Pad to act as Back when on PC, it’s disappointing that the Fighting Edge lacks this. Hopefully an updated PC driver can alleviate this.

For those looking to play this stick on PlayStation 3, functionality is extremely limited. The new Fighting Edge doesn’t have a PS3/PS4 switch and was specifically designed to work on PS4 and PC. When plugged into a PS3, inputs only work for a second following with intervals of nothing. To work around this issue, a converter such as the Brook PS3/PS4 to PS3/PS4 Super Converter should suffice. It would have been nice for the Fighting Edge to work on the PS3 for some fighters that won’t get a new version on the PS4. While other Hori sticks do have their own PS3 modes, the new Fighting Edge is the first to lack it. This might be a sign of things to come for future Hori sticks.

The LED touch panel was replaced with a simple control panel under the right handle.Like most of HORI’s newer PS4 sticks, the new Fighting Edge has a 3.5mm audio jack perfect for stereo headphones and headsets. Due to the PS4 only allowing audio through either a controller or the display, using the jack only really works best during private play.

For $200, the new Fighting Edge falls in line with the Razer Panthera and the Qanba Obsidian, two other solid arcade sticks in the same price range. The Fighting Edge has more in common with the latter since both lean more on being good looking out of the box than on modding convenience. The Obsidian does have some advantages over Hori’s premium stick such as PS3 support, full Sanwa Denshi parts and LED support. If you are not looking to go back a previous generation and are fine with the HORI’s capable proprietary parts and prefer no lights, then you might be satisfied with the Fighting Edge. Owners of older models looking to get the new edition will be happy even with some changes. If you are just wanting the most stylish stick of the three, then you can't go wrong with this.

Some of the new Fighting Edge’s changes do make me miss some of the novelty of the original and there are aspects that need some improvements, but they are ultimately not too detrimental at the end of the day. Outside of those concerns, the new Fighting Edge is still a solid follow-up to its 2012 predecessor. It’s good that HORI didn’t abandon this stick in the previous generation because the new Fighting Edge shows that it’s one of the company's best models to date.

The review of the HORI Fighting Edge for the PS4 was performed with a unit provided by HORI USA. The Fighting Edge is available now from HORI directly, Amazon and Arcade Shock!

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