The Hori Fighting Stick Alpha has recently been revamped for the next generation of consoles with both models, regardless of platform, running natively on PC. With its outstanding performance and consumer friendly practices, this drive can stand out not only as one of the best PC controllers (opens in a new tab) and PS5 accessories (opens in a new tab) around. If you’ve been waiting for a fighting stick that’s ready to go out of the box, then this is an admirable product for all types of competitive fighters.
The Hori Fighting Stick Alpha is your everyday fighting stick at first inspection. There’s Hori’s standard Hayabusa joystick and 8-button layout in the usual 4×4 configuration. Our particular review unit is decked out in a PlayStation-specific color scheme, however an officially licensed Xbox edition is also available, so all platforms have been considered here.
As this is the first third-party fighting stick officially made for PS5, it has a fully functional touchpad, along with start, select, and PlayStation buttons as well. A toggle switch is included which gives you the profile presets for Sony’s latest system, as well as the PS4 and PC, so there’s full compatibility across the board. Useful for competitive play is the ability to lock out the use of the home buttons (and general system buttons), meaning there’s no chance of mis-inputting and accidentally stopping when in action.
Weighing in at a fairly hefty 7.46lbs / 3.3kg, there is some meat on the bones of the Hori Fighting Stick Alpha. In his lap, the extra pounds here mean this stick stays in place, but this is hands down the heaviest model I’ve ever gotten my hands on. If you’re someone who wants a reliable unit to take to local tournaments, then the size of this means it might not be ideal for this purpose.
The overall construction of the Hori Fighting Stick Alpha is respectably tough, but not quite as premium as the Cross Up Box. (opens in a new tab), for instance. Plastic is the name of the game here, and while it’s easy to take a beating for sure, it features thick bezels, which means it’s not exactly stylish. Function takes precedence over form here.
However, the biggest strength of the Hori Fighting Stick Alpha lies in where it breaks conventions, as customization is a huge factor with this stick. With the simple movement of a slide latch, this unit lifts up on a hinge to reveal the bottom.
Doing this gives you an up close and personal look at all the available buttons, wiring, and switches, making any potential replacements and upgrades a breeze. If you’ve ever had a button start sticking or stop responding before with a simple fix, then you’ll appreciate this consumer friendly inclusion like me. Once open, it also has built-in cable management, so there’s no need to have that long cable trailing around when stowed aside.
Additionally, you can also swap out the original artwork with your own custom designs. With Hori being hands down the biggest stick consuming name in the FGC, there has been a lot of fan support for custom prints online. Finding a template only takes a few minutes, in case you want to print your own. It’s a great way to add that personalized touch when you want to stand out at your local tournament.
If you’re primarily a console user, the included 3.5mm jack might come in handy if you have one of the best PS5 headsets around. (opens in a new tab) practical. Similar to how the Dualsense (opens in a new tab) can be worn this way, you can keep your game intimate during those long training sessions and ranked matches alike.
The Hori Fighting Stick Alpha is one of the best fighting sticks I’ve gotten my hands on since I started playing fighting games in the first place, plain and simple. While I personally prefer the Sanwa Denshi’s soft buttons like you’ll find on the all-digital Hit Box (opens in a new tab)matte-finish Hayabusa buttons provide a grippy, no-nonsense actuation when matched strings began to appear.
Reservations about the command buttons aside, I can definitely see why Hori is so famous for his Hayabusa Joystick. The eight-way stick works exceptionally well at short strokes for incredibly precise commands. I noticed a significant improvement in Tekken 7, where I was pulling off some of my best Dragunov plays during online matches. Some of the generally complicated strings became almost second nature with some of the character’s more complex movement inputs.
In other titles, like Street Fighter V and Mortal Kombat 11, consistently pulling off everything from your standard Dragon Punch, Half Circle Forward, and Quarter Circle Forward was easy. I’m someone who can sometimes struggle with these ways on your everyday D-pad, only switching to the less-than-ideal left stick when absolutely necessary. Playing with the stick in this way alleviated the little problems that were present.
Most of my testing was done on the PC platform, however a simple flick of the toggle switch to the ‘PS5’ setting means you can use it seamlessly on your PS5 via the front USB port. I enjoyed most of my Mortal Kombat 11 single player experience on this platform, and future fighting games on this system have a bright future with this device as an option.
Should you buy the Hori Fighting Stick Alpha?
The Hori Fighting Stick Alpha is an excellent effort from the historical arcade-focused company to create a model that is ready for most users. With its native support on PS5, as well as PS4 and PC, anyone serious about upgrading their regular gamepad will benefit from the mechanical stick here.
Priced at $199.99 / £199.99, the Hori Fighting Stick Alpha isn’t the cheapest fighting stick you can get your hands on. However, given its customizable nature and native use for your platform of choice, I personally think it’s worth the price of the investment, all things considered.
How we tested the Hori Fighting Stick Alpha
I have been using the Hori Fighting Stick Alpha as my primary fighting stick for the better part of two weeks in both single player arcade ladders and online multiplayer matches in Tekken 7, Street Fighter V, Mortal Kombat (2011) and Mortal Kombat. 11. The device was tested mainly on PC, but also on PS5 in this latest game.
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