Clearly a gaming mouse test wouldn’t be complete without firing up Counter-Strike and playing for
a few minutes rounds a bit, so in the interests of science I gamely (pun not intended) took the FPSGUN home and set to work. After about 20 minutes or so I found I had acclimatised to the FPSGUN to the extent that I probably wasn’t noticeably worse than using a normal mouse. As Zalman says, FPS games are all about turning circle rather than vertical movement, and the forward mounted sensor does improve how quickly you can adjust your horizontal aim. The trade-off here is that vertical movement when you do need it is a fair bit harder, so you’ll want to crank up the y-axis sensitivity in the software suite.
In fact, spending a few minutes playing around with different sensitivity levels and biases I did manage to get the FPSGUN into a configuration I was happy with in Counter-Strike: Source and Team Fortress 2 which was pleasing. After two hours of playing Day of Defeat: Source I had pretty much stopped noticing I was using a different mouse at all, which probably says as much about my level of skill in that game as it does about the FPSGUN (modest much? – ed.).
Switching over to Crysis, the horizontal bias of the FPSGUN made it self known almost immediately. As anyone who’s played will know, Crysis involves a couple of segments where quick vertical aim adjustment is just as important as horizontal, with Helicopters buzzing around the sky and various enemy soldiers camping out on cliff tops with sniper rifles. Even with the vertical speed bumped up to the maximum in the mouse’s software, I found that the way the FPSGUN is held makes quick up and down movements ungainly and, as a result, ended up as cannon fodder more often that not.
After all the excitement with these straight-out shooters I decided I needed something with a bit more plot and Portal seemed the way to get it. At first things seemed OK, although as with Crysis the restricted vertical movement was again annoying, but in the later levels where quick and accurate mouse movements are needed in order to progress, the FPSGUN just didn’t afford me the level of precision I get from my more conventional Razer gaming mouse.
The basic conclusion derived from all this, then, is that in a limited amount of shooters the FPSGUN isn’t much worse than a normal mouse, but it still isn’t quite as good as a similarly priced ‘normal’ gaming rodent. In non FPS games, though, and desktop work, the FPSGUN is pretty much unusable compared with a normal device so realistically if you wanted to use the Zalman, you’d need to have a secondary device for these situations.
It is that consideration over everything else which stops me from recommending the FPSGUN. If Zalman could tweak the design a bit so that it was a little more accommodating for hands belonging to anyone over 16, then I might have found it a bit easier to use. However, I can’t help but feel that the audience that would think a gun shaped mouse is ‘cool’ will probably find it comfortable to use so perhaps that isn’t as big an issue as it seems.
Ultimately the FPSGUN is one of those products apparently created to fill a gap in the market that doesn’t really exist. Sure, there may be a few kids who get a kick out of using a mouse shaped like a gun on their favourite Counter-Strike server. I’ll happily admit that the Zalman FPSGUN is a nice enough device to use but for the asking price you can get a significantly better normal shaped device from, say, Logitech or Razer.
If you’re short on gimmicky presents to bundle along side some real gifts for your son’s birthday and he happens to be into PC FPS games then by all means, knock yourself out and throw one of these into the mix. But if you’re looking for a gaming mouse for yourself, there are many better options out there.