Developers: Power A
Distributor: Bluemouth Interactive
Licensed by: Warner Bros. Interactive
Consoles: Playstation 3 (reviewed), Xbox 360
Release Date: Out Now
When this came in the mail, I wondered on how do you review a controller? What do you talk about? Well, after a few hours of gameplay with it (and reading the instructions that came with it), the picture is much more clearer. So, without further ado, this is the Batarang Controller. Distributed in Australia and New Zealand by Bluemouth Interactive, the Batarang Controller was developed in conjuction with the release of Batman: Arkham City, the sequel to the highly rated Batman: Arkham Asylum. There are two versions of the control, one for the Playstation 3 (which is the one I reviewed) and the Xbox 360. Other than a few feather shuffles, this is a well designed, well built controller.
Let’s start off with the design of the controller. When Bluemouth announced the controller was heading down under, they did point out the authenticity to the Batarang design. I’d say that they were right. It is beautifully designed. I guess they went with grey because of the rubber holders, but, if memory does serve me correctly, the Batarang is usually black like Batman’s other fifty or so gadgets. But that is really nitpicking at it. The grey looks nice anyway.
It does fell quite comfortable to hold. I can attribute this comfort to the rubber that is place on the handles. It feels smooth to hold it in my hands. Speaking of being comfortable, the L2 and R2 buttons got a bit of a lift. When you look at the top of the controller, you will notice that the ends of the L2 and R2 button are point upwards, instead of a regular L2 and R2 buttons found on an official Playstation 3 controller. This works perfectly. My fingers fit within the buttons, allowing a better grip of the buttons. This isn’t the first time I had encountered something like this. While conducting a preview of Supremacy MMA, attachments of the triggers were available. The thumbsticks are comfortable as well due to the convexing design, fitting into the thumbs quite well.
The controller does sport some cool features. One of the main features of the controller is the LED display that surrounds the controller during play. There are seven colours to choose from, ranging from blue to red to green and yellow. This is all activated via a button next to the start button. It has a lightbulb as a logo. There are battery indicators on the controller themselves, which is nice. It means you don’t have to enter the home menu just to see where the battery levels are. It will also serve as a PC controller, which is a great bonus feature to have. However, I haven’t tried it. It also has an on/off switch button. Odd, but I’ll get into that later.
However, if I have one complain about this controller, it is related to the layout. Let’s look at that picture of the Playstation 3 version. Is there anything odd about anything there? Well, we have the X, Square, O and Triangle buttons present, that’s fine. All of the four shoulder buttons are there as well and in their original positions. Cool. Now the right analogue stick is where it should be, next to the directional buttons… wait, directional buttons? Those are usually on the left of the controller, similar to the four symbol buttons. The Xbox 360 looks like an Xbox 360 controller, so why doesn’t the Playstation 3 controller look like a Playstation 3 controller? Because it sports an Xbox 360 look. As I said, I am really nitpicking here, but when do you make the controller look like the competition. If you are not satisfied with the Playstation 3 controller layout, then you might like this arrangement. I have used a Xbox 360, so I am used to the layout. But what about those who only used official controllers or third party who adhere to the original layout? Oh well.
Another annoying inconvenience is the lack of Bluetooth. Of course the controller contains motion control and it does sport the wireless feature (via an USB RF receiver), which is more than the Xbox 360 version gets. But the Playstation 3 supports Bluetooth and I’m sure it isn’t hard to put it in. I believe that a lack of Bluetooth is the reason for an on/off switch. This can be annoying at first. I had forgotten to switch it off a few times but it will become an automatic process.
Despite the inconsistent layout with official and third party Playstation 3 controller and the lack of Bluetooth, this is an excellent controller. The design is quite authentic, the LED lights is a nice aesthetic feature to have and having wireless capabilities is a bonus for the Playstation 3 crowd (unless I am mistaken, which I will apologise in advance). Will I recommend it? Yes I will, even if you are not a Batman fan and you are looking for a Xbox 360 button layout for the Playstation 3.