Call of Duty: Black Ops wasn't a huge game for just Activison and Treyarch, it was also a big deal for Mad Catz, the king of franchise-specific add-ons like glasses, controllers and headphones.
Here's what I thought of Mad Catz many Call of Duty: Black Ops controllers, headphones, mice and even mousepads. Some are worth the price, some are definitely not.
What You Get: A solidly built wireless controller with an extra set of buttons on its underside and the ability to temporarily slow the onscreen aiming speed with the push of a button.
What I Thought: This seems to be Mad Catz' PC controller reworked for the PlayStation 3, meaning it's a mess. The triggers feel clunky, the bumpers are mushy, so mushy it's hard to feel when they fully depress. The thumbsticks are about the same as the ones found on official PS3 controllers, perhaps a bit tighter. The face buttons are a bit clicker, but seem to work fine. The directional pad, is a big, stand-out number with a bit too much height to be comfortable. If you don't mind those triggers and bumpers, the combat buttons and precision aim are the big draw here. The combat buttons are located on the backside of the controller and little off from where your fingers would naturally grip. You can remap these buttons to let you control any of the four face buttons or right or left stick buttons. You can also map it to put the right stick in precision aim mode. The precision aim mode slows down the on screen movement of the targeting reticule, making it a bit easier to pull of super precise shots. I found that the location of the combat buttons made it a bit hard to press them in the urgency of gameplay, but I'm sure others will love the addition. At $US50, this controller is not nearly as nice as the 360 version. Those triggers and bumpers make the controller a bad fit for shooter fans.
What You Get: A solidly built wired controller with an extra set of buttons on its underside and the ability to temporarily slow the on-screen aiming speed with the push of a button.
What I Thought: The slick tops of the thumbsticks take a bit of getting used to, but once you do, the Black Ops controller feels as good as Microsoft's own Xbox 360 controller. That is to say, not any better either. The addition of the slick Black Ops logo is certain to be a plus for some fans of the game though. The combat buttons and precision aim are the big draw here. The combat buttons are located on the backside of the controller and little off from where your fingers would naturally grip. You can remap these buttons to let you control the X, Y, A, B, or right or left stick buttons. You can also map it to put the right stick in precision aim mode. The precision aim mode slows down the on screen movement of the targeting reticule, making it a bit easier to pull of super precise shots. I found that the location of the combat buttons made it a bit hard to press them in the urgency of gameplay, but I'm sure others will love the addition. At $US50, this controller seems like a solid buy for hardcore fans of this and other shooters.
What You Get: A surprisingly light plastic controller that neither feels like nor performs like the Xbox 360 controller for Windows. No bells, no whistles, unless you count the logos.
What I Thought: This is a terrible controller, it's buttons are loud and have a bad habit of sticking when pressed. I'm appalled that this is being sold, even for $US30.
What You Get: This is the most impressive Call of Duty accessory of the bunch. The mouse includes 15 user-definable commands via five programmable buttons and three-position mode switch, removable weights, four DPI settings up to 5600 DPI, a special "precision aim" button and an aluminium chassis that can be lengthened or shortened with a button push.
What I Thought: The mouse fits solidly in my hand and glides comfortable across the mouse pad. I love that I can adjust both the weight of the mouse and its length, though even at its smallest it is still surprisingly long. I'm also a big fan of the design, which includes a resting pad for your thumb, keeping your entire hand off the mouse pad. Those many buttons are a great addition to gameplay, once you get used to them and set them up correct. I appreciate the ability to essentially instantly drop the DPI with the use of that precision aim button. It's great for long range sniping. And the four DPI settings are fantastic for fine-tuning your gamplay experience. I do miss the ability to toggle the scroll wheel, something you I've grown accustom too on my Alienware mouse. At $US100 this is a pricey mouse, but it's also one packed with options and solidly designed. It's a tad too big for me, but if you've got the hands and the cash for it, it's a fantastic option for PC gaming fans.
What You Get: A micro-thin sheet of textured rubber with the Call of Duty: Black Ops logo on the front.
What I Thought: It certain sticks to my glass-top table well. It also turns every little crumb and particle into a bump for the mouse. While it's a fairly big space to mouse around on, it's a bit too low-profile for my tastes. I prefer mouse pads with wrist pads built in.
What You Get: True 5.1 3D directional audio, four channels in each ear cup, a plug-in gaming microphone and an in-line controller that lets you tweak the sounds of the game you're playing and mute your mic. The headphone comes with a solidly designed carrying case and replacement ear pads.
What I Thought: The headphones are a hefty piece of gaming equipment, solid cans that slip over your ears and do a good job of blocking out external noise. They inclusion of multiple channels in each ear delivers a very robust surround sound. I also love that the in-line controls let you adjust the front, rear, centre and sub levels, though none of the dials have a notch to indicate the middle level, so you're going to have to play around with them a bit to find what's right for you. The padding is very comfortable and the braided cable looks like it will stand up to some major abuse, one of the big things I look for in computer headphones. It's expensive but with the Tritton backing, I think it's worth the price.
What You Get: A pair of lightweight, 1970s-esque aviators that we're told are designed to lesson eye strain and trap moisture, to prevent dry eyes.
What I Thought: I'm still not convinced these glasses help me with eye strain. After spending a good part of a day with them I didn't notice a perceptible difference, certainly not a $US80 one.
The Bottom Lines
Buy: The mouse, the headphones, the Xbox 360 controller and, if you must, the mouse pad.
Try: Those glasses, but only if you love your '70s cop shows and hate your money.
Ditch: The PC and PS3 controllers which seem to have been outsourced to another company, like the Mad Catz of the 90s.