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Beat That (Game) With a Stick: We Examine Hori’s EX2 Controller

When we first played Soul Caliber 4’s Story mode (on ‘normal’
difficulty) we had no problem defeating final boss Algol. Switching to Arcade
mode, things began heating up with the Apprentice’s flurry of punishing combos.
Clearly, using the standard PS3 or 360 controllers presented some serious limitations.
The ‘D’ pad on the 360 is too imprecise to consistently nail the diagonal requirements
of most moves. Although the PS3 has a better digital pad, it is still awkward for
some of the combos required for completing Arcade mode or for serious online
competition.

Luckily, there are several alternatives available for Soul
Caliber fans:


The Hori Fighting Stick EX2: Soul Caliber 4 Limited Edition (360)

For this stick, manufacturer Hori has replaced the rather bland stylings of
their EX2, and added a Soul Caliber 4 graphic within the base. The joystick
itself has a very arcade authentic feel to it, with both a similar throw and
weight to coin-operated counterparts. Successful contact with the directional
contacts is confirmed with a solid ‘click’; which adds a small bit of noise to
the gaming environment.  To decrease both
lag and cost, Hori decided to make this controller wired; in the event of a
person tripping on the cord, a handy quick-release was added. Although this
controller works well with Virtua Fighter 5 and Dead or Alive 4, it lacks the
ability to function as an analog controller, thereby hurting its functionality beyond
SC4.


The Hori Fighting Stick EX2: Soul Caliber Limited Edition (PS3)

While the build quality for Hori’s PS3 version of the stick is similar to the
360, there are a few small differences. Whereas the 360 stick doesn’t add any
functionality, the PS3 stick features the ability to simulate rapid presses of
the buttons in three speeds. We were pleasantly surprised to find the unit
performed perfectly with our PS2 and even PS1 fighting titles, although there
is no analog emulation. Like the 360 model, this stick is wired, so save your
batteries. 

Both of Hori’s sticks are a decently sized and feel solid, with just the right amount of weight to keep the controllers from moving out of our laps.  We tried to pull the joystick on both units with all our might, and found no problems in functionality- it looks like these sticks are built to last. Owners of both next-gen systems could do much worse, than these well-made, relatively inexpensive ($43-$50 street price) units.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

29 comments

  1. Great review; I want one!

  2. $43 at Amazon for the PS3 one right?

  3. Ordered the 360 one. I also suck at the Arcade mode; I can’t unlock apprentice.

  4. Sounds good, especially for the price.

  5. Nice review. Told me what I need to know.

  6. My 360 Hori came DOA from Amazon.com last week. I called Amazon, and they told me to either send it back to them, and wait two week, or call Hori.

    Hori’s customer service is awful. They didn’t respond to me email or telephone messages.

    Buyer Beware.

  7. I once got a crappy stick like this for my PS2 and it broke in a month. Never again.

  8. There aren’t the best, but hardly flimsy.

  9. lol that’s so gay although my crazy SC4 friend probably wants one!

  10. I was thinking of getting them on Amazon, but I would rather get another game for that price.

  11. I remember when I bought Soul Caliber for my Dreamcast. I went out and bought one of the huge joystick controllers like these. 🙂

  12. I agree they are solidly built. Should last for years.

  13. I want one of these!!!

  14. Hrmm I may have to invest in one if I win SC4…

  15. I don’t get why people use arcade sticks. I suck worse with them than I do with a controller, and they’re uncomfortable :(. I guess they’re for the hardcore arcade folks.

  16. I have a spot in my heart for arcade sticks, but always find them too troublesome to use at home.

  17. It’s a lot easier to do diagonal and quick right to left commands with a stick.

    One you go stick, it’s hard to go back to a control pad.

  18. If the build quality is there, $50 is worth it for these.

  19. I’ve been interested in getting a couple of these for a while, especially for VF5. If I can find a deal I’m definitly jumping in.ice9cometh.1up.com

  20. Anything is better then the D pad on the 360 controller, looks good might pick one up

  21. As other posters have stated, these are necessitated by the failed attempt at D-Pad on the 360 controllers.
    I just wish I could try one hands on first.

  22. Since arcades are getting more and more rare these days, it doesn’t hurt to bring that nostalgia home.

    Fighting sticks would definitely help my game, but I’m more excited by the idea of being able to use this with XBLA.

  23. That’s a Ron Jeremy sized joystick!

  24. Nice article, just might have to open the boxed one in the closet and give it a try now

  25. I do wonder if we’ll start to see these types of controllers become more mainstream as the arcades start to fade away. I remember playing SC2 at the old arcade several years ago. Good times.

  26. its ok but its better to customize!

  27. I had one for less than a month and already one of the buttons has become unresponsive. I emailed them a few days ago with no reply! Bunk, save your money for something with a little more quality.

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