Madcatz has two new Xbox 360 peripherals out to compliment Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, a controller with mappable buttons and a badass throat mic. I actually like them both.
$US30 for the throat mic, $US50 for the controller.
Both peripherals are decent, but both could stand a $US10-$15 price drop, too.
The throat mic is pure adolescent fun. You wrap the ring around your neck and stick a headphone in one ear, and you either feel like a special-ops assassin or an erotic asphyxiation aficionado. Either way it's a joy. Unlike a real throat mic, you actually speak at normal volume rather than whisper. Testing online, I was told my voice sounded "fine", just like the standard 360 headset. Unfortunately, the audio I received wasn't quite as good — I noticed an abnormal amount of digital compression in my ear — abnormal but far from inaudible.
The controller, on the other hand, is designed for practicality. Look beyond the green LEDs and the snow camo finish, and you'll notice two mappable buttons on the underside of the controller. They allow you to relocate the XYAB buttons to a position that won't require you take any fingers off the analogue sticks. (If you've ever tried to aim in an FPS and melee at the same time, you know what I'm talking about.)
At first, I found the controller off-putting just because it's different from your stock controller. But when I actually played a game with it, I quickly adjusted to less grippy analogue sticks and the somewhat awkward position of the small, mappable buttons.
Still, I'd like to see Mad Catz refine their modded controller. At the moment, it's wired (be it wired through a very practical nylon woven cord). And as I said, those mappable buttons are pretty minuscule. As long as Mad Catz is breaking the rules of the traditional controller, I'd like to see them create an even more practical, polished rendition.
But if you're OK with the price and above mentioned limitations, I'd say you can buy either product without resignation. Also, how great is it that mainstream generic controllers are finally incorporating mods and innovative into the mix?
Xbox 360 Throat Communicator
Clear audio out
Functional, faux badass design
Compressed, digital-sounding audio in
Xbox 360 Combat Controller
Controller itself feels decent in your hands
Mappable buttons are as handy as you'd hope
Corded, but the cord itself is premium
Mappable buttons could be larger and better positioned