Fighting game enthusiasts have long sought to replicate the intensity of head-to-head combat found in a home arcade, and for a long time the best way to enjoy these games was with a baton. arcade fight. However, these large box-shaped controllers are bulky, expensive, and not very portable. Luckily, some manufacturers have started miniaturizing the fight stick experience and adapting it to a handheld controller, otherwise known as a fightpad. Hori’s latest iteration is designed for PlayStation consoles and offers a great alternative to the standard DualSense controller for fighting games.
Hori Fighting Commander Octa for PS5 – Pictures
Hori Fighting Commander Octa – Design and Features
Upon first pickup, you will find that the Fighting Commander Octa is extremely light, to the point of almost feeling hollow. This is partly down to its all-plastic build and lack of rumble motors, but more so because Hori has distilled the battle pad experience down to what matters most – lightning-fast inputs and a on-the-fly customization that lets you jump right into combat.
Similar to Hori’s Xbox Series X Fighting Commander Octa, this PlayStation 5 flavor is the first officially licensed fighting controller for Sony’s latest console, while also being compatible with PlayStation 4 and PC. It includes all the necessary elements of the modern DualSense controller, including the large touchpad as well as dedicated PlayStation, Options and Share buttons. The most noticeable difference is the absence of the right thumbstick, which is not uncommon with battle pads as most fighting games traditionally don’t require its use. It is also wired to ensure minimal entry delay.
On the left side of the controller face is a slightly raised D-pad, along with a short-throw analog stick with an 8-way gate designed to increase precision of inputs with a bit of tactile feedback. Opposite the directional inputs are a set of six face buttons: Cross, Square, Triangle, and Circle, as well as R1 and R2. The buttons are arranged in two rows of three, allowing you to easily press the buttons with your thumb or the fingers of your right hand, depending on your preference.
The six face buttons are all micro-switches, providing extremely short travel distance and near instant actuation. They have a satisfying tactile click that feels a lot like a mouse click, and audio feedback ensures you know the button has been pressed.
Along the top of the controller are two bumpers and two shoulder buttons, all with a relatively short travel distance and clicky feel – although unfortunately they don’t use the same microswitch input as facial pimples. By default, they are labeled L3/R3 on the left side and L1/L2 on the right side. If that seems like a confusing layout at first, it is, but it theoretically allows you to press all four face buttons and two sets of bumpers and triggers with one hand. Luckily, the Fighting Commander Octa supports local button remapping and can be done very easily.
I’ll admit I had a bit of an awkward moment as I didn’t realize the shoulder button layout was different until I got deep into a few matches of Mortal Kombat 11. I continued trying to execute a killing blow by pressing L2 + R2 simultaneously without success, and was certain there was something wrong with the controller. It wasn’t until I realized the unique layout was intentional, allowing me to perform this ability with just my right hand.
At the bottom of the controller’s face is a program button that lets you quickly remap face buttons, bumpers, and triggers, as well as adjust the sensitivity of the D-pad to your liking. There’s also a mute button if you’re using wired headphones with the controller’s 3.5mm aux port. On the back of the controller there is a toggle to switch between PS5, PS4 and PC, and a separate toggle to disable touchpad functionality, or all PlayStation-centric buttons at once, to ensure that ‘no accidental entry is made into the heat of battle.
Hori Fighting Commander Octa – Software
Hori Device Manager is an optional PC application that lets you adjust D-pad sensitivity, remap any of the controller buttons, and adjust headphone volume and microphone sensitivity. The application itself is quite rudimentary, and not that necessary since most of its functions can be performed without the use of a computer.
Hori Fighting Commander Octa for PS5 – Software
As mentioned earlier, button remapping and D-pad adjustments can be made through the program button on the bottom of the controller. That said, the Device Manager app lets you save up to four profiles, but switching between them still requires connecting the controller to a PC. An interesting choice, given that the Xbox version of this controller includes a profile button for on-the-fly switching.
Hori Fighting Commander Octa – Game
I spent most of my time testing the Fighting Commander Octa bouncing between Guilty Gear Strive and Mortal Kombat 11. Pairing the controller was pretty straightforward, just plug-and-play. While it’s not capable of turning on the PS5 on its own, you’ll need to use your DualSense or the console’s power button manually first before it’s recognized. Swapping between console and PC is simple too – just a quick toggle on the back and you’re good to go. However, the touchpad and the 3.5mm auxiliary port are not compatible with the PC.
While playing Guilty Gear Strive, I spent a lot of time in the practice area where you can test out combos while viewing a live list of recent entries. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly button presses and D-pad movements were recognized. During actual matches, the controller also felt extremely responsive. While I much prefer the D-pad input to an analog stick for fighting games, the 8-way gate on the joystick gave great tactile feedback for performing complex combos, and the shorter size made it extremely fast.
The D-pad is definitely a bit stiff, but in a good way. Soft D-pads are always difficult to use, especially in demanding games, but every input here was intentional and I got acclimated very quickly.
Jumping between games was also a breeze, thanks to the remappable buttons. Being able to quickly configure the controller for each specific game without needing to access individual settings menus was a welcome addition. I only wish there was a way to switch between profiles without using a Windows PC, since many people using the controller with a PS5 may not have access to it.
While the controller will theoretically work with games other than the fighting variety, the lack of a second analog stick certainly limits your options, so I’d recommend sticking to 2D rigs that favor D-pad inputs. .