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Entries in Xbox (1)
As a dyed in the wool PC FPS gamer I have been struggling to get to grips with my new Xbox 360s (250GB). While I have had no issues with the standard console controller for casual games, driving games and platfomers the thumb wiggling mini-joystick seems like patting ones head while rubbing your stomach!
So - since I can't imagine having a gaming system without playing a FPS on it - I have resorted to purchasing one of the few mouse controllers available for the Xbox. I had originally been looking at the Spitfish FragFX mouse but it seems to be quite difficult to get hold of any of these Xbox mice and I had to go for my second choice, but even then I had to purchase it from Hong Kong.
The Aimon XB Elite V controller set arrived after only a few days which caught me a bit off guard as I had yet to buy the Xbox wired controller that is required to make the mouse work with the Xbox. So I had to quickly pop down to Argos to buy one - frustratingly wired Xbox controllers seem to be thin on the ground too (at least in my town).
The mouse works by piggy-backing off the wired controller, fooling the Xbox into thinking that you are using a normal controller. You get three components in the set; the mouse, a numb-chuck controller and a USB transmitter/adapter. The adapter plugs in between the wired controller and the Xbox and transmits the signal to the mouse and numb-chuck.
It's rather clever in it's way, but also a bit of a pig to set up.
When Microsoft decided that the Xbox was NOT a computer and so did not allow it the flexibility of Plug and Play that a PC enjoys - with access to all the USB accessories that entails - they effectively knobbled the consumers ability to chose the way they play games. This means that if an enterprising company does want to make a non-sanctioned controller there will undoubtedly be a bit of fiddling around to get it to work.
In a way it all feels like adding a early USB accessory to a windows 95 era PC. No PnP, and lots of messing about with drivers and firmware (and plugging in and unplugging, and restarting and plugging in again, and so on and so forth) until eventually the darn thing works! Still, once you get it working it seems to stay working - well, so far anyway.
One thing to note is that to undertake the recommended firmwear update you will need to plug the USB adapter into a Windows PC to undertake the software upgrade. Likewise the system setup software will have to be downloaded from the Tuact website and run on the PC AND customising the setup needs to be done on teh PC too.
So...All is not plain sailing but once you get up and running the Aimon mouse does actually work pretty much as advertised. I say pretty much because - like the archaic set up process - the mouse seems to be a little stuck in the past by way of performance. I currently use a high resolution - 500dpi - gaming mouse on my PC and even this isn't what you could call cutting edge, the Aimon mouse seems more like a 200dpi mouse.
I did try to increase the sensitivity as per the instructions - manual available from the Tuact website - but to little avail. But while disappointing the mouse did indeed improve my Xbox FPS experience and performance.
It's quite amazing how the change from a console controller to a mouse can also change your style of play. I found that using the normal Xbox controller back-peddling was my best friend and I adopted a stand-off technique for engaging enemies, trying to keep as much distance between me and any enemy so I had time to bang off several shots in case I missed the first time. The mouse completely reversed this situation with my being able to get closeup and personal and able to more quickly react to close-in engagements.
To conclude, I would say that the Aimon does do - eventually - what its says it will do though at a price and to a modest performance. But I would not say that this is a convenient alternative for all Xbox users, it's just too expensive and too niche in it's target audience for it to be a creditable substitute for the normal Xbox boomerang.
So who is it for? Well, people like me really - gamers who are making the migration from the PC platform and so are used to a mouse. In this case the relatively high price - and messing about - might be worth the investment as it will save the PC-to-Xbox migrant many, many hours of extreme frustration and exasperation at the unwieldy Xbox controller.