Eagle Eye Converter Review

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Penguin United Company: Penguin United
Platform: PlayStation 3

Windows System Requirements: 3 USB Ports, USB Mouse, USB Keyboard, 512 MB RAM, 2 MB HD space, 4x CD ROM drive, Windows XP or more recent operating system

Penguin United's Eagle Eye Converter allows PlayStation 3 gamers to use a conventional USB keyboard and mouse in place of a PlayStation 3 controller. Not only does this allow shooter fans to frag with the precision of their PC counterparts, even genres such as fighting games benefit from the precise key-mapping and macros that can transform a single keystroke into a 15-hit instant kill combo.

Kyle Ackerman

Once you get the Eagle Eye Converter up and running, it offers an impressive degree of control – but only after you slog through the process of setting it up. My difficulty was with getting things working. Frankly, most of my frustrations with the Eagle Eye Converter could have been avoided with a clearer manual or online help file, but when I start having to pour through forum posts to learn how to configure my hardware, I get frustrated.

Before using the Eagle Eye Converter with the PlayStation 3, it needs to be connected to a PC so that keystrokes or mouse buttons can be mapped to the various PlayStation 3 controller functions. My first attempt to configure the Eagle Eye Converter was a complete failure. After following Penguin United's instructions (and a few variations), I took a long break and searched for online advice. A number of people had problems trying to configure the Eagle Eye Converter using a laptop.

Then I went to configure the Eagle Eye Converter on a desktop PC. That appeared to work fine. I was able to boot the configuration software, assign keys and then attach the unit to the PlayStation 3. At which point I discovered that only a few of the keys had actually mapped. A few more tries later I discovered on the forum boards that not all USB keyboards are supported. So, I changed to a specifically supported keyboard and tried yet another desktop PC before finally stumbling on a successful configuration.

Based on forum board posts, some people had an easier time than I setting up the unit, but some had even bigger problems. Once configured, the Eagle Eye Converter worked surprisingly well. Perhaps most importantly, the Eagle Eye Converter unit has a long USB cord, so that it's easy to use without tethering yourself to the PlayStation 3. Particularly now that Penguin United has launched new firmware, the Eagle Eye Converter does a spectacularly smooth job of translating the mouse into a controller input. Extensively customizable sensitivity and deadzone settings for both the X and Y axes mean that the mouse response can be perfectly tuned. After tweaking the settings, it was simplicity itself to snap to a headshot and aim with PC-like precision.

The success of the other button settings varied by game: Modern Warfare 2 worked beautifully, but during M.A.G., keystrokes were twitchy – either not activating, or activating several times, making toggle controls impossible to use. When the keystrokes worked properly, it was like playing on a PC, with easy keyboard and mouse controls feeling far more precise than a standard controller. Even better, the Eagle Eye Converter comes with a series of turbo switches that make it really easy to empty a virtual pistol clip with a brief keystroke.

Again, when the Eagle Eye Converter worked with shooters, such as Modern Warfare 2, it was impressive. But the combination of the Eagle Eye Converter and a mouse and keyboard was even more impressive with fighting games. Not only can the unit be used to create a custom keyboard controller (although the mouse is always mapped to the right analog stick), but combos can be mapped that allow for unbelievably sophisticated juggling moves that will simply shut down an opponent. The Eagle Eye Converter unit can even store two different configurations, allowing players to jump from a shooter to a fighting game in a flick of a switch.

At $60, the Eagle Eye Converter requires careful thought. For specific games and keyboard combinations, it can be an exceptionally powerful tool. In other configurations, it can be a frustrating device of enormous potential.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on February 22, 2011 9:55 AM.

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