The re-colored old champ still packs a punch.
If you do not care for macros or key customizations, you really don’t need the bundled software at all. Nope, not even to adjust the DPI. Why would you, when you can do it directly from the mouse itself?! All you need to is hold the DPI button long enough for the LCD screen on the back to show the current DPI settings. From there you can adjust the sensitivity at an increment of 1 (yup, just one) by using the scroll wheel. Once satisfied, you just click the DPI button once and voila, data stored. It’s an incredible little tool which I am thoroughly surprised no one has aped it yet.
However, if you do care for macros and key customizations, then you will find the no-fancy-named Steelseries Ikari software of great use.
Firstly, kudos to Steelseries for building a great UI for the application. It’s baby easy to use and every feature is thoroughly explained. What’s more, the software does not need to run in the background, saving precious resources when games like Crysis 2 pounds the system for every bit of life it can muster.
On the first tab, you can change what the buttons can do. Disappointingly, it doesn’t let you do much though. In fact, nothing at all. You cannot even assign it a specific key on the keyboard, which is quite a bummer as I usually prefer to use the brackets ([, ]) for the side rockers. You can record upto 5 macros and assign it to a button, if that’s your thing.
On the second tab you can adjust the sensitivity levels for the mouse. Unlike most softwares, there are no sliders on this one – you can put any random number and the software will accept it. This is thanks to what Steelseries calls it its ExactSens technology. The engine allows you to add sensitivity at an increments of just 1, “the most precise interval possible”.
The third tab belongs to another proprietary feature called FreeMove. According to Steelseries, most mices are designed to ‘autocorrect’ its precision so that all users are able to make completely straight lines. FreeMove eliminates that hand-holding and allows users to move as and how they like it, “uneven”. As cool as the technology sounds, I really did not see any noticeable difference when using the mouse, either fully at ‘straight’ or ‘free’.
Going back to Steelseries’ driver support, I have noticed one strange little problem that has happened to me too many times to overlook. At random times, on a fresh boot up, the mouse would be just unresponsive. It would right click once, but that’s about it, it wouldn’t move at all. The only ways to make it work was to plug the mouse out and back in again, or perform a restart (once even that did not work). It’s a major issue if it’s a common one and an absolute dealer breaker, especially for me. I do not want an unresponsive mouse when I could potentially have some urgent matters.
I laid my test bed with Crysis 2 and Homefront, and put the old champ through the rigorous paces. Needless to say, the mouse scored a resounding A+ on the report card. It’s large surface area coupled with its silky smooth glide made for an incredibly easy control over the proceedings, with Steelseries’ ExactSens and laser sensor doing the rest to provide immaculate precision.
As I played, I started noticing how little I cared a damn about sweating. I usually sweat a lot during gaming, especially during multiplayer, and tend to smudge the mouse’s surface beyond recognition in a few weeks. However, the Ikari with its plastic body has not even got a scratch, let alone large wet circles. This in turn improved how I gamed as it removed the ‘fear-factor’ from my mind and negated the need to continuously wipe my hands.
I have almost gushed throughout the entire review, so you know I think the Steelseries Ikari is a fantastic mouse. However, let me tell you its price, AED 369, and this alone changes everything. This seems a bit much for a mouse that offers the very basic of a gaming mouse. Compared to Cyborg R.A.T 5, which costs approx. AED 300 and is extremely customizable, the Ikari doesn’t really have much to stand its ground. An ideal price would had been about AED 200 and that would make the Ikari stand above everything else. But at its current price, the Ikari is only for the true fans of the brand.