Game Rant’s Dwayne Holder reviews the Eagle Eye Converter
In a world of first person shooters, the debate over which control method is better has been going strong for decades. PC purists swear by their mice and keyboards, while long-time console owners stand close to their controllers.
Over time, peripherals have been invented to bring the accuracy of the keyboard/mouse combo to the consoles. These devices have come close, but many have yet to truly bring the PC FPS experience to a console. Will the Eagle Eye Converter from Penguin United finally change all this?
Let’s get some important notes out of the way first. Currently this device is only for the PS3. Penguin United stated in their forums that they’re working on a Xbox 360 version, though the process is taking longer – due to some personnel changes and Microsoft 3rd party restrictions. Another thing to note is that the software required to update the Eagle Eye is for Microsoft Windows only. Apple OSX users are out of luck.
Also, unlike other – more self contained – peripherals of this type, the Eagle Eye requires you to have a spare keyboard and mouse to use it. It does not come with a keyboard and mouse. Some may think this isn’t a big issue, until they realize that the Eagle Eye supports a very limited number of mice and keyboards.
Special gaming keyboards that require their own drivers to carry out special features will not play well with the EEC. In my experience the unit works well with basic wired keyboards and mice, with no special features or buttons. Penguin United has a list of compatible keyboards/mice on their webpage. The lack of supported keyboards and mice is a major flaw that I hope gets address in future updates to the product.
In the box are the essentials: the converter, instructions, and CD containing the firmware as well as software needed to program the Eagle Eye Converter. The unit is a simple box with two USB ports for the keyboard and mouse, and a extremely long cord to connect to the PS3. On the top there is a switch for two key map configurations, and turbo switches for each button on the standard PS3 controller. The key map switch is handy for flipping between configurations on the fly. For example, during Battlefield Bad Company 2 players can set one map for land based combat and the other for flying vehicles. It’s a nice touch and adds another level of customization to the device.
To get the unit up and running, users will have to install Windows drivers, update the firmware and install the Eagle Edit key mapping software. This process is a lot more challenging than it should be. The Eagle Eye draws power from USB ports and is temperamental about which USB port it’s plugged into. I found this out while visiting the product’s support page after many failed attempts to update the firmware. When plugged into a desktop computer, the Eagle Eye works best using the ports in the rear.
I was able to finally install the drivers and update the firmware using the rear USB ports. However, when it came time to save my key configuration to the device… my computer couldn’t find it. I switched to the front ports to troubleshoot and I was able to save my configuration just fine. It’s a problem that needs to be fixed sooner rather than later. This amount of frustration and self-troubleshooting is unacceptable.
Mapping the keys with the Eagle Edit software was the easiest part of the process. Users just click on the picture of a PS3 controller and hit which key – or button on the mouse – they wanted to simulate that action. There are also advanced configurations that users can dive into – if they need that added level of control. After dealing with the frustrating install process this was a breath of fresh air.
At this point I was very skeptical about how the EEC would finally perform when testing it out with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. I jumped into the first tutorial level and was extremely impressed. After turning up the sensitivity, the game controlled almost as if it was on a PC. There were a few issues with precision when aiming down the sights – but this was expected.
Eager to try the EEC on another shooter, I put in Battlefield Bad Company 2 – and the experience was significantly less fun than MW2. The controls were jittery and it was difficult to get an accurate shot off – with or without aiming down the sights. When it comes to which game will work well with the EEC, mileage will vary and users will be required to do some advanced tweaking to have certain games work well for them.
In the end the Eagle Eye Converter works as intended, however it has some bugs to iron out. The lack of supported mice and keyboards and the less than user friendly installation, make it difficult to recommend to gamers. Those who are interested might want to hold off until the device gets an update. The EEC is available now for the MSRP of $59.99.