There’s been a few implementations of letting console gamers use keyboards and mice with their gaming machine. I remember trying out one for the original Xbox and having and OK experience playing Halo with it. There’s a few mouse like controllers on the PlayStation 3 scene but Penguin United has one that takes a regular keyboard and mouse and lets you use them with the Sony console.
The Eagle Eye is a simple device taking in a USB keyboard and mouse while plugging into the PlayStation 3 through a long 13 foot USB cord. The generous length on the USB cord should make those happy with setups that have you sitting a little farther away from your console. Each USB port is labeled to let you know which one accepts a mouse and which one accepts a keyboard. Underneath is a play/program switch while the top has switches for each button letting you enable or disable turbo firing individually. The square box also has a red light on top letting you know if the Eagle Eye is up and running.
Included with the Eagle Eye is a small CD containing the programming software. Before you use the Eagle Eye, you have to set it up with some mappings. I’d rather wish that Penguin United would’ve put on a default keyboard mapping just so you can get up and running quickly but at least you can load and save profiles as needed. The Eagle Eye supports up to two different mappings so you can load up a pair of different setup in case you want one for one game and a different one for another.
The programming software is a pretty basic Windows program that lets you setup the mouse and keyboard mapping to a PlayStation 3 controller. There’s also up to five macros that you can program in, which can help you pull off multiple move sets with ease. Everything’s pretty simple in terms of programming and nothing’s fancy here in terms of a GUI but it gets the job done and being able to save and load configurations is a pretty nice feature to have since the Eagle Eye is limited to two different set of mappings. i didn’t have any trouble mapping the various buttons to keys on my keyboard or buttons on my mouse with the included software although something with a more user friendly GUI with, perhaps a keyboard and PlayStation 3 controller on the screen showing you what’s mapped to what would be a nice addition. Also, I would’ve liked to have had the ability to dynamically map the keyboard and mouse to the Eagle Eye like those gaming keyboards out there that let you record macros or keystrokes on the fly. Perhaps we might see that in a future iteration should the Eagle Eye become successful for Penguin United and they decide to release a new version.
As noted on the box, not all keyboards and mice are going to compatible with the Eagle Eye. More specifically, wireless setups, even with USB dongles, probably won’t work. I ran into a snag with the Logitech G110 as that keyboard would not work at all with the Eagle Eye. Popping in an old Z-Board did the trick though as I was able to use the keyboard then. The Logitech G9 Laser Gaming Mouse worked fine but I couldn’t adjust the mouse’s sensitivity like I would if I was plugging it straight into a PC. I would say more simple keyboards and mice would have a better probability of working with the Eagle Eye than the more complicated gaming peripherals out there. You’ll probably want to keep that in mind if you are thinking of purchasing the Eagle Eye.
Getting the PlayStation 3 to work with the Eagle Eye was also pretty simple. You just have to make sure to plug in the Eagle Eye without the keyboard and mouse plugged in for a few seconds. Afterwards, plug in the two controllers and make sure that in the accessories section, the Eagle Eye is set as controller 1.
What I learned, when using devices like these in the past, is that it’s very game dependent. The same situation also exists with the Eagle Eye. I’m a guy that loves to have the sensitivity of the mouse set way high up so I can do quick spins or turns without moving too much. Many of the games on the consoles don’t spin as fast as I would like to even with the sensitivity set at max. So, while these kind of peripherals do let you use a mouse and keyboard, those that enjoy high sensitivity in their controls might not find them as good as you want them to be. That’s what I gathered when using the Eagle Eye but it was different depending on the game.
When playing Call of Duty: World at War, I turned up the sensitivity to the insane level and I was really enjoying the experience. The only issue I had was when in aiming mode, the sensitivity would slow way below the threshold I would like it to and that’s with the aiming assist turned off. There wasn’t much that you could do so I spent a lot of time in hip firing mode to only aim when I really needed to. Even at the highest sensitivity, I still would’ve liked it to be a little bit faster but that’s the game’s limitation. Still, I enjoyed a higher level of control using the mouse in this game for the most part and the keyboard seemed to work great as I was able to move around without issues and hold down keys to pick up weapons.
With MAG, the experience wasn’t that enjoyable. Having the sensitivity turned all the way up, I still found the mouse to be really slow. Even without aiming down the barrel of the gun, I found the mouse look to lack the speed compared to Call of Duty. I found myself playing a little worse with the mouse in MAG than I would with the controller. It didn’t seem to offer improved precision the mouse provided here nearly as much as Call of Duty did. The keyboard, again, worked great and I didn’t have issues with movement or action such as holding down a button to plant a charge or resupply.
One issue that did come to mind was games that use the Sixaxis feature, such as Resistance 2. If there’s a game that relies on the ability to shake or move the controller, you’re pretty much out of luck here. I thought about a way to handle this but the only thing I can think of is for a way to map some general Sixaxis movements to some keys. Then again, you’re talking about a good amount of keys since you can move the controller in a three-dimensional space as well as rotating it so that might not be a good solution.
While I don’t have an extensive category of games to test on on the PlayStation 3, the few that I played had its ups and downs with how well the setup worked. The Eagle Eye worked a lot better than past products I used on other systems but again, the games are what’s limiting the full potential of using this product. I’m hoping Penguin United continues to refine the Eagle Eye and add some updates here and there. For $60, it’s a little bit expensive but for those that enjoy playing FPS using a mouse and keyboard, it’s a pretty good solution depending on the game. Hopefully, the community can help with putting out which titles work great and what doesn’t as well as provide some good profiles to use. Now, I’d love to see developers create some options that will let users of products like this to customize their controls even further, but I have a feeling that we won’t see this one the console side of things.