When it comes to first person shooters on the PS3, there’s an enormous range to choose from, most of which feature a single player campaign mode and a online mode. When plodding along at your own pace through the single player campaign, the dual analogue controls are more than adequate, but when you verse the world in the online mode, it’s whole different ball game. There are players online that live, breath and crap dual analogue control perfection; head shots and multi kills are standard issue for these guys. How do they get so good you ask? Simple, practice! And many hours of it. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for investing hours into developing a skill set to rain dominance in the FPS world, but what about the rest of us that just pick up a controller now and then to have some fun? If we don’t keep putting in the game time, then our once semi-mastered skill set slowly diminishes like that rippling six pack you had when you were playing footy every day.
Option A: is to keep on practicing, option B: use a control system that many of us are familiar with and use all the time in our daily lives. That’s right the classic keyboard and mouse configuration and to avoid feeding the trolls I will openly admit an analogue still is more precise for fine tuned movements than the W,S,A,D keys. However when it comes to precision aiming the mouse is still the king, ask any PC gamer and they’ll back this up until they are blue in the face. Controller pros and cons aside, there is a solution for those that want to carry over the keyboard and mouse to their PS3. Thanks to the generous folks at HDCM we have the Eagle Eye Converter for the PS3 to test out, this device allows you to plug in a standard keyboard and mouse into the PS3 console.
The Eagle Eye key mapping software
To get yourself started with the Eagle Eye Converter you first have to map the Playstation’s control pad buttons to your keyboard. This is a pretty straight forward process, load up the provided software program located on the packaged 8cm CD (make sure you have an optical drive that supports this small disc size) to a Windows PC. You can either run this program straight off the disc or copy the entire program onto your PC for future edits. At the bottom of the Eagle Eye Converter there’s switch where you can select either “program” or “play”, ensure that switch is selected to “program” and the plug the unit into any USB 2.0 port. Let windows find the device and you are ready to start mapping the keys. The Eagle Eye Converter has the option to hold two different maps so you can set the unit up for multiple game types. To help jog your memory with which buttons do what it helps if you have game manual with you to refer to, and to keep things familiar I pretty much mapped the keys to simulate the most common control layout of your average PC FPS game. Every single button on the DS3 can and must be mapped to the Eagle Eye Converter; in addition to the standard DS3 buttons and directional controls, you get four different combination slots that you can program macros for. Even if you don’t want to use this feature you still have to assign a key to all four of these combos. As you can see from the above screen shot there’s no option to map the right analog stick and that’s because the Eagle Eye Converter automatically defaults the mouse to this part of the controller. Once you have completed mapping out your keys just select one of the two key maps and hit the “send to device” button and you are ready to go. This process may take you a few minutes but once you have set the Eagle Eye Converter to suit two of you most commonly used control layouts it’s pretty much a case of set it and leave it.
With the Eagle Eye Converter programmed with your desired key maps just plug the USB connection into the PS3 console, then plug in a keyboard and mouse into the allocated USP ports at the front of the unit. Once you fire up your PS3 console the keyboard and mouse will be defaulted as the player one controller. The Eagle Eye Converter comes with a generous amount of cable length measuring in at roughly 4 meters long, this gives you ample distance to comfortable set up your keyboard and mouse on a coffee table away from your TV screen. When in game I was surprised on how fluid the mouse movement was in relation to the crosshairs, movement was accurate with barely any noticeable lag. The Eagle Eye Converter really came into its element when I dove into the game options and wound the view/look sensitivity right up. Since the Eagle Eye Converter has a limited compatibility to only standard PC peripherals don’t expect super high performance like you’d get from high end PC gaming accessories. What that basically means is that you can forget about plugging in something like a Logitech G15 keyboard or a X5 Sidewinder mouse because 9 times out of 10 it won’t be recognised by the Eagle Eye Converter unit. On the keyboard side of things, each key stroke is dead-on accurate, with the response time that you’d get from a standard DS3 controller. If that’s not enough for you, there’s a turbo function for each controller button. The downside to using a keyboard for PS3 games is when you are prompted to press a specific button for something like a quick time event, for example when something like “press square to not die a horrible horrible death” pops up on screen you have to stop and think which key is bound to the square button.This isn’t a problem with the Eagle Eye Converter it’s self more of an obstacle the end user has to overcome on their own. With enough practice you’ll be familiar enough with the designated keys that you have mapped out. At the end of the day using the Eagle Eye Converter to play FPS games on a PS3 will give you more accurate control, but if you have grown accustomed to using the DS3 controller then you may as well stick with what you are good at.
As mentioned earlier in this review, PC gaming keyboards and mice will not work with this unit. In addition to this, many wireless accessories will not work. I did manage to get a Microsoft wireless keyboard to work perfectly, so it’s a bit of a hit and miss with any accessory that’s not your run of the mill generic USB version. All of this information is clearly stated on the packaging and on the provided software. This may be a problem for a PC gamers that only have high end gaming accessories but these days you can pick up a good quality USB keyboard and mouse for a few bucks. Priced at 59.99AUD it is very good value and is a great alternative to something like the FragFX which is hovering around the same price bracket.