I recently got the chance to try out Razer’s Battlefield 3 collection of products for PC and 360. So I did what any good person would do and locked my door, threw away the key and started gaming.
Firstly, let’s talk about the gear. Out of Razer’s huge collection, I got my hands on the BlackWidow Ultimate mechanical keyboard, Imperator mouse, Scarab mouse mat and Onza TE 360 controller. All were branded with Battlefield 3 motifs and decals with orange lighting. Aside from the looks of my new haul, let’s take a look at some of their gaming features:
Scarab mouse mat
For years I’ve generally resorted to turning hard mouse mats into Frisbees. So it was a massive surprise when I put this beast down on my desktop and started using it. No longer did it feel too slippy like most hard-topped mats. Movements finally tracked perfectly. That said, it stands pretty big at 35cmx25cm, so it might be a lot bigger than most people would want or need for a desktop.
Opening it up, the design of the Imperator surprised me a bit. A deviation from most of Razer’s ergonomic mice (typically with a bulge at the back and a dip on the buttons), this one seemed to have more in common with some of the Logitech gamer series (G400, G500 and G700). The addition of the centre two buttons (sensitivity up/down) was very welcome during game play and allowed me to switch between the precision accuracy of a scoped rifle and the wild sprays of SMG fire. On the downside, the location of the centre buttons requires some finger contortion when it comes time ot use them or else a break in the flow of what you’re up to.
The two thumb buttons on the left hand side can be repositioned through a slide toggle on the bottom. I’m not sure it’s needed though – the open holes on either side seem to detract from the mouse’s appearance and I can see them getting clogged with dirt or food pretty easily.
BlackWidow Ultimate keyboard
The BlackWidow keyboard boasts some pretty nifty features. It has a few adjustable backlight settings if you prefer gaming in a dark room; and the keys are still visible even with the backlighting turned off. It also features a ‘Game Mode’ which turns off the Windows and Menu keys to prevent interruption during full-screen applications. The keyboard interface allows you to bind all keys (including five special macro keys on the left) to any other key, as well as setting them to recorded macros or program executions.
There’s also a headphone and microphone jack as well as a USB port on the right side of the keyboard. However, I felt plugging anything in there seemed to encroach upon the space usually reserved for my wild and erratic mouse movements. Be wary, as this is a mechanical keyboard each key press make an audible click that may be too loud for repeated use in an office or family area. On the other hand, it also makes typing and gaming more comfortable and responsive.
Onza TE 360 controller
As I took the Onza TE 360 controller out of its packaging, I first noticed the cable – all 15 feet of it. While the length is great for sitting on my couch and playing games, it was a bit of a step backward from the default wireless 360 controller. That aside, I got down to testing out a few of the features on various games. I loved the feel of the extra-responsive buttons and dedicated d-pad while the different trigger design felt better as well.
I found the bumpers felt a bit too tacky, along with the bindable buttons/bumpers above them. The bindable buttons/bumpers also seemed to lack a purpose to me. With each key well located on the 360 controller, I found the bumpers only got in the way when I accidentally missed a normal bumper and hit the bindable one instead. This lasted until I just rebound them to the mirror the normal bumpers anyway.
I was a little sceptical at first about the tension adjust feature, but I soon found that adjusting the camera thumbstick for different games and situations really helped. Although it started to wear my thumb out a bit quicker, it felt invaluable for smoothing out some of my gameplay.
As a long time gamer and Razer user, I’d have to recommend getting your hands on some of this stuff. It can take a bit of getting used to, but I can guarantee you won’t be returning to your standard keyboard and mouse setup anytime soon.