Tuesday 22 November 2011

Bad guys beware! Batarang controller!!!


Man I have been looking forward to Batman: Arkham City for aaaaaaaggggggeeeeesss!  Arkham Asylum was brilliant!  I even started the Hard game mode after finishing it, it was that fun.  Everything from the stealth sections to the awesomely clever free flow combat was fun fun fun!  So when I friend rocked up with this baby, I had to investigate.



Ok, His was for the Xbox and I made some queries and it turns out the PS3 one was the same shape.  Well, I said to myself, I preferred the Xbox controller for FPSs and thought I might as well give this baby a crack.  A quick order online and a week later it was in my mailbox.




It comes in a little plastic box with a cardboard stand, which has the game artwork on each end.  Underneath the controller is a usb cable for charging the batteries and behind the controller is a small dongle for plugging into the PS3.  Sadly it isn’t bluetooth, unlike the normal PS3 controllers.  This sucks a tad as I only have 2 USB ports on my slim Ps3 and one has the playtv thing stuck in there and the other has a hard drive relatively permanently there.  So I have to mess about with plugs to use.  Oh well.




The box is simple but nicely presented.



As you can see the analog sticks and buttons are very similar to the xbox controllers. The Batarang-esque shape actually feel pretty good and all the buttons are within easy reach.  According to the back of the box, the analog controllers are “reverse analogs” I am not too sure what this means exactly.  The left stick is the left and the right the right.  What’s reversed about that?  The shape is good and it has a good feel and heft when held, but not so much as to be heavy over time.  The black handles are rubberised so it isn’t slippery and overall it’s a very comfortable shape for a controller, even with long gaming sessions.  Speaking of which, I haven't had one for a while now.  Might have to kick the better half out of the house and get that cranking then.


The analog sticks feel firm and tight with just the right amount of resistance.  interestingly, my friend brought in the Xbox version originally and we have come to the conclusion that the PS3 one feels better, mainly due to the analog sticks being not as loose.   The d-pad feels solid as well, if a little close to the middle.  I wouldn’t recommend it for playing Streetfighter for example.



I like the dongle shape.  It manages to flick off slightly, keeping the Batman theme.









The ‘home’ button and other keys are in a recessed Bat-symbol.  A nice touch.  There are quite a lot of buttons on this controller, as it has coloured LEDs and therefore and on/off button, as well as a display battery charge button as well.  Under the bat symbol buttons is a main on/off switch.  The blue squares on the right show which player you area and the ones on the left (currently unlit) are red and show the battery charge level for you.


Ok, onto my weakness.  The Flashy flashy.  Not as cool as glow in the dark, but when playing, you wouldn’t see that anyway, so it must be more appropriate.  The little Sun button up top there activates the LEDs in the controller and it actually has quite a surprising amount of colours to choose from.   Aside from the main section you can see in the picture above, it has a couple of lines down the hand grip and I think it looks pretty cool!  They are bright and very sexy!




As you can see, the colours are pretty bright.


Here’s some shots in more darkness for that proper Batman feel.





What I thought was pretty cool is as it has a dongle, you can plug it into your PC and use it as a controller for games on that as well.  So I whipped out my Megadrive emulator and got cracking on some Knuckles Chaotix and other games.



It works remarkably well and is responsive and feels good.  On the PS3 it has full motion sensor shenangins and dual rumble features.  Apparently it also has ‘customisable R2/L2 buttons’ which I suspect are like the reversible analogs.  That is, a mystery.


Annoyingly the instructions were lacking in information, directing you to a website for more.  I really hate that. 




Aside from the brief instructions this is a good controller.It feels good and and just right and even though I am now used to the normal PS3 controller for Batman (when I use the Batarang controller I can’t get the quick weapons working, as I hit his detective vision button by mistake…. Awkward….) I can see me using it to finish Half Life Episode 2 and 3, Fallout 3 and replaying World At War.  So I am glad I got it and really at $60 it was cheaper than a normal PS3 controller too.  Win win win!!


Just don’t throw it in rage, as even though it is a Batarang, it doesn’t look all that aerodynamic.

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