Squad 51 vs. the Flying Saucers

  • Couch Co-Op: 2 Players
  • + Co-Op Campaign

ROCCAT Isku Keyboard and Kone[+] Mouse Review - Page 2

The colors, children... The colors! ... Really don't do much other than make it look pretty, but still a nice effect

The Kone[+] mouse features a total of 12 buttons (each of which can be set to mouse or keyboard commands, and includes up/down/left/right scrolling on the mouse wheel), a laser sensor that’s accurate to 6000dpi, an adjustable weight system, and five customizable gaming profiles. Once again we see a commonly used button, in this case the left side button that’s commonly used to “go back” while web-browsing, changed to use the Easy-Shift[+] system. Holding this button allows the, now 11, mouse buttons to be used in an alternate configuration, a feature I enjoyed a little bit more than on the Isku , as I find myself using the mouse more than the keyboard when I can. DPI adjustments are handled through the gaming profiles by setting the five available DPI profiles to the exact degree of precision for which you’re looking, and which you can switch between using buttons on the mouse. The weight system is a rather interesting feature. If you feel like your mouse is too light, four five-gram weights are included that can be placed into the bottom of the mouse to give it just a little more heft. One major sticking point to the Kone[+]: it’s designed for right-hand use only and I haven’t seen any left-hand designs available for sale on the game’s site.

As I mentioned before, while both the Isku and Kone[+] have some features that make them worthwhile on their own, it’s through their combined use that they feel like a cohesive unit. This particular keyboard and mouse are able to utilize a ROCCAT feature called “ROCCAT Talk,” a system that allows the Easy-Shift[+] key on either device to work across all devices. In other words, pressing the Easy-Shift[+] key on the Isku keyboard not only allows you to access the alternate programming for its keys, but also the alternate programming for the buttons on the mouse. Co-op is catching on in more places than just gaming, it seems.

There are a lot of options here to customize and get your mouse setup just the way you want

To put all of these features through their paces, I tested the Isku and Kone[+] on three different games: the Diablo 3 Beta, the Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition, and Dawn of War II: Retribution. As any Diablo fan knows, you spend a little over 95% of the game clicking your left (and occasionally right) mouse button. With the Kone[+] mouse, that easily bumps up to about 97%, maybe even 98%. With Diablo 3’s revised talent system, talents are unlocked at certain levels and each shortcut key (i.e., left-mouse click, right-mouse click, and ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘4’ on the keyboard) is assigned certain talent trees. With Easy-Shift, those keyboard shortcuts were just a mouse click away. When playing through the game before the Kone[+], talents that I didn’t use quite as often I typically assigned to any of the keyboard shortcuts because accessing those keys would usually throw me off my flow in the midst of a battle. Now, I could just do press the Easy-Shift button to change the mouse buttons, use the talent, and switch back to the main set of abilities; easy, quick, and intuitive. For the Witcher 2, a little more strategizing went into place with regards to which key/mouse button I’d repurpose to be something else, as well as some trial and error, but once I got a configuration that worked for me, the game really opened up. The same goes for Retribution, where I made good use of the Isku’s macro recorder to create a few unit selection and attack macros.

There’s a saying, quite a few actually, that posit that you don’t know you’re missing something until it’s right there in front of you. That particular saying holds true for me and the Isku/Kone[+]. Having gone for so long with just a standard keyboard and mouse, I had no idea that some of those frustrations I felt at not being quite quick enough to reach a certain key in time, or pressing the wrong key, could be alleviated. In fact, if not for this review, I still wouldn’t know. Now that I do know, however, I can’t imagine going back. The Isku keyboard and Kone[+] mouse are truly outstanding gaming devices that are responsive to commands, easy to use and program, and won’t strain your arms/wrists over prolonged gaming periods. The Kone[+]’s right-hand only design is a bit of a detractor, as is the $170 price tag for the two, but hopefully a left-handed model is on the way – along with a well-timed sale.

The Good:

+ Over 20 cutomizeable keys on the Isku, and 12 customizeable buttons on the Kone[+]
+ Solid and comfortable design for both devices
+ Easy Macro Recording system for Isku; macros can be assigned to buttons on the Kone[+]
+ Easy-Shift[+] and ROCCAT Talk features allow for easy switching to alternate button configurations
+ Kone[+] extremely responsive on its higher DPI settings

The Bad:

- Kone[+] is right-hand design only
- Price for both devices is steep ($170)
- Scroll wheel on Kone[+] has no option to allow Free Spin

The ROCCAT Isku and Kone[+] keyboards were tested on a Windows 7 64-bit operating system. The manufacturer provided both products for review purposes.