No more teachers. No more books. No more keyboard?
I hate using my keyboard for gaming. A keyboard is not designed with the gamer in mind – it’s for typing (and occasionally spilling my tea on). So needless to say, I am constantly looking for a peripheral that is going to enhance my gaming experience by providing solid and precise control. For now, I think my search is over.
Saitek has cooked up another gourmet delicacy, and boy is it tasty. The GM2 Action Pad and Mouse is a blessing to any serious FPS or Strategy gamer. Thank the golden calf, or your deity of choice.
Installing the GM2 is as easy as pie (what the heck does that mean, anyway? Making fresh pie is never easy. Eating pies…well, now you’re talkin’!). Just pop the Product Companion Disc into your computer’s CD-ROM, then install the game controller drivers and the Saitek Gaming Extensions software. Now restart your computer and plug the Action Pad into a USB port. There, you’re done. Now was that not as easy as eating pie?
The GM2 is essentially a combination of Saitek’s GM3 Action Pad and GM1 Game Mouse. The Action Pad is an ergonomically designed, one-handed game controller. It has seven well placed, easy to reach buttons, one hat switch and a wheel that can be used for strafing. Underneath the Action Pad is a switch that allows you to turn the wheel resistance on and off. Turn the resistance on, and you now have a handy throttle. Very convenient!
The Game Mouse is basically your standard 3-button wheel mouse. However, Saitek has enhanced the wheel mouse idea by strategically including a hat switch that can be easily accessed with your thumb. Great idea, as it offers more control without having to utilize the keyboard.
If you just cannot bear to part with your precious mouse, then don’t. You can continue using your favorite mouse right along with the Action Pad. That’s right! Just like Burger King says, "You can have it your way!"
What really puts the sizzle on this hot little number is the programming software. Using the exact same software that Saitek uses for many of it’s gaming peripherals (see Saitek X36 Flight Control System), the Saitek Gaming Extension permits players to assign keyboard functions to the Action Pad for your customizing needs. This means that just about any game can played using the GM2.
Then again, if you are like me and you don’t want to program your own controls, Saitek is there to help with their SGE Game Profiles. These Game Profiles, found on the Product Companion Disc, are pre-configured controller settings for specific games like Half-Life, Homeworld, Baldur’s Gate, Hidden & Dangerous and Unreal Tournament, just to name a few (very few, compared to what’s on the disc). Also, Saitek is constantly posting new Game Profiles that can be downloaded from their website.
Quite honestly, the GM2 Action Pad and Mouse is one of the best original ideas for gamers that I have seen so far this year. The device lends itself beautifully to FPS games like Soldier of Fortune and Unreal Tournament, not to mention how much fun it is with RPGs such as Baldur’s Gate and strategy games like Hidden & Dangerous.
Considering that this package costs just under $50, picking up a GM2 is definitely a no-brainer. Shawn says go buy it! Plus you may actually add a couple years to the life of your keyboard by taking your gaming off the keys.