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Mad Catz's Black Ops PrecisionAim gamepads and Stealth mouse hands-on

Mad Catz's Black Ops PrecisionAim gamepads and Stealth mouse hands-on
Sean Hollister
Sean Hollister|September 8, 2010 10:26 AM
Mad Catz' Modern Warfare 2 peripherals won't know what hit them when Black Ops debuts this fall -- the quality of the company's gamepads has increased yet again, and of course, this year the Call of Duty-flavored lineup ships with a genuine R.A.T. mouse. We snuck down the streets of San Francisco for a top secret rendezvous to test these controllers out, and discovered a pair of the most comfortable gamepads we've tried for our trouble. Read our full impressions after the break -- totally declassified. %Gallery-101645%

At $50, the Call of Duty: Black Ops PrecisionAim gamepads cost nearly as much as first-party controllers, but we wouldn't hesitate to say they feel just as good if not better, with nigh-indistinguishable buttons and analog sticks (Mad Catz says the sticks are actually the same) plus a generous coating of soft-touch plastic, and newly-redesigned soft rubber grips with ridges and grooves to let the hands breathe. Revamped triggers actually trump Microsoft and Sony pads (in our honest opinion) with a solid, spring-loaded pull that's neither squishy nor clicky, and the titular PrecisionAim feature (hold down buttons under your middle fingers to lower either stick's sensitivity) works just as advertised whether your avatar is shooting, driving or flying. While obviously designed for headshots -- like the sniper button on the R.A.T. mouse -- the large, textured touchpoints can also still be mapped to controller face buttons like the Modern Warfare 2 models. As is the case with most third-party controllers, the Xbox 360 pad is wired, while the PlayStation 3 model uses a USB dongle to connect wirelessly over 2.4GHz frequencies.

Meanwhile, it turns out the $100 R.A.T.-powered Stealth mouse isn't quite the rebrand we thought -- it's got most of the features of a R.A.T. 7 (including that 5600dpi sensor and higher-quality components) but without the adjustable thumb section. Intriguingly enough, though, it's got one feature you won't find anywhere else in the Cyborg R.A.T. line -- that sensitivity-dampening sniper button is completely customizable. We asked, and apparently this feature is the result of special firmware that can't be flashed to the existing R.A.T. 3, 5 or 7, and won't even appear in the as-yet-unreleased wireless R.A.T. 9. The mouse also comes with a Black Ops dogtag with a slide-out 2GB thumbdrive, and while we suppose you could put top secret intel in that oh-so-generous amount of flash storage, Mad Catz tells us it's actually designed to carry your programmable mouse button profiles when you travel to and from LAN parties. Because dog tags carry your personally identifying information. Get it? Expect to see all three peripherals on store shelves in time for Call of Duty: Black Ops's slated November launch.