Warrior XXtreme Review

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Warrior XXtreme Company: Wolfking USA
Platform: PC

This gaming oriented keypad includes the functionality of the carefully sculpted Warrior gamepad alongside a compact version of a complete keyboard.

Kyle Ackerman

Wolfking is already known in LAN party circles and by some Counter-Strike gamers for its "Warrior" gamepad. The Warrior beautifully transitions the "W," "A," "S" and "D" keys (most-used for games) to centerpieces for controlling game movement into a single pad. But the Warrior isn't a substitute for a keyboard. Wolfking also released the "Timberwolf," a full-sized keyboard that integrated the Warrior key arrangement into a full-sized keyboard by placing the Warrior keys alongside the regular keyboard. That makes for a large controller that takes up a lot of desk space and wasn't convenient for hauling to a LAN event. So what is a dedicated PC gamer to do for a game-friendly but still functional keyboard?

The "Warrior XXtreme" is the compromise – a glorious controller that won't permanently replace your desktop keyboard, and that contains all the keys on a conventional keyboard. Because of that, I felt comfortable clearing away the larger keyboard for a long session of shooting at things online. I could also make it the only keyboard I brought for a LAN event, because (however long it took me to hunt and peck out a password) it had all the necessary keys for entering passwords and player names.

The Warrior Gets More Extreme

Warrior XXtremeFirst, the Warrior part of the Warrior XXtreme... it's a great setup. It feels like it was originally configured for the hardcore Counter-Strike player, but it adapts well to any FPS. The biggest boon is the way the basic keys are configured – the WASD movement controls are put into simpler alignment and elongated for easy use. The space bar is arranged vertically, and placed conveniently under the thumb. The position of the space bar is absolutely my favorite thing about this keyboard. It's amazing how much strain is eliminated by simply repositioning the space bar.

The number keys for changing weapons are spread in a curve in front of the fingers, and the "control" and "shift" keys are more conveniently located. Some of the other key configurations are less important – for example, if you aren't playing Counter-Strike, you won't care how convenient the keys are for activating the purchasing menu. There are also convenient special keys like a key that "locks" the "k," to effectively lock the talk button on. As specific as some of the conveniences are, the configuration works well for any WASD game.

All the Keys, in Different Places

The Warrior part of the keyboard has 52 keys, but the 47 keys on a typical keyboard are presented in a compact form on the right side of the Warrior XXtreme gamepad. Basically, the left half of the keyboard is on the top of the circle, while the right half of the keyboard is on the bottom of the circle. Experienced typists will find the keyboard awkward, but as difficult as it may be to type a password, every key that you need is available, and the Warrior XXtreme is still preferable to lugging an additional full-sized keyboard.

The glories of the Warrior XXtreme don't end there. The keys are incredibly responsive and quiet, and the action on the keys feels great, even after a long session of use. There are two USB ports and a switch that illuminates the Warrior XXtreme with a blue back-light that's just plain cool.

The one thing that's really missing in the Warrior XXtreme is the internal macroing capability that some gaming keyboards offer. If you are used to remapping keys to macros within a game or using software on your PC, this board will work just fine. If you want your keyboard to do it for you, the Warrior XXtreme won't.

I regularly used the Warrior XXtreme alongside a conventional keyboard, so in that respect, it wasn't superior to the much cheaper Warrior on its own. However, when traveling, the Warrior XXtreme is the ideal companion, due to its solid construction, great action and compact size. At $80, the price is steep, and it's not really a keyboard replacement, but it does sport the same features that make the Warrior desirable, and will let you play without dragging along another keyboard – if you aren't planning on doing much typing.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on April 22, 2008 10:23 PM.

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