But all of these keys are grouped in the same area, and there's not a big difference between the Wolf King Warrior game pad and a standard 104 keyboard when it comes to how these buttons are arranged. One important note is that while a keyboard's keys are slightly offset between rows, the Warrior's keys are not, they're laid out in a square. This takes only a few minutes of game play to get used to, and I found it helpful to rotate the Warrior about 20° clockwise to aid in the adjustment. Turning the game pad like this also results in a more natural position for the left hand, as an added bonus I found I could play comfortably much longer, without my hand going numb.
But then you have games that throw in some oddball controls like H for help, B for bandage, Alt to aim, etc. Here is where you will need to spend some time with the Wolf King to become familiar with the layout. The B wasn't too bad, it's still accessed with the thumb although a slight reach for it. Being set apart from the other buttons and oval shaped helps find it easier by feel, rather than looking down. The new H position however I simply could not get used to, even after hours of play time. (not consecutive though) I found myself having to wait for a lull in the action so I could look down to find it, luckily not a key I had to use very often. The left Alt button really threw off my game at first, I kept searching for it with my thumb. I quickly learned however that I could press it with the heel of my hand without even lifting my fingers from the keys, and all was well with the universe again.
I've noticed a few of the other keys are placed significantly different from their standard position, such as the M and N, and especially the K. These aren't keys I found myself needing to use however, so their placement didn't affect me at all. For those that use the number keys (typically to select weapons) the curved arrangement may take some getting used to, and the fact that the 0 is at the left end rather then the right. But I tend to use the mouse scroll wheel instead, so again not a big deal for me. The Function keys are laid out similar to the number keys, in a curved arch around the top of the game pad. But these aren't typically critical game play keys, but more often used for loading, saving, screen capture, etc. or possibly tied to taunts/commands used in multiplayer action.
The only buttons not found on the Wolf King Warrior that I discovered a need for were the up/down, left/right arrow keys. But as with any of the other controls, if the button isn't there, or you simply can't get used to the position, you nearly always have the option to customize the controls within the game and assign the function to another button.
Although I have both a joystick for flying, and wheel/pedals for driving, this is the first time I've ever used anything other than a standard keyboard in a First Person Shooter style game. Consequently I can't compare the Wolf King to other game pads or specialized gaming keyboards available on the market. But I can tell you from the short time I've been using the Warrior, in my opinion it does offer a better gaming experience over a traditional keyboard alone. Being able to turn the Warrior offers a much more comfortable position that allows longer play without hurting the left hand. True, you could possibly angle your keyboard in much the same manner, however with the limited space I have available in my keyboard tray this is not really an option.
I didn't find anything negative about the Warrior that I couldn't work around. The keys are a bit stiffer than I'm used to, and the amount of travel is less, but these differences are quickly adapted to. Some of the keys are positioned differently than their standard keyboard counterparts, however these can always be either adjusted to or reassigned within the game. I would say it's probably unusual to find a game pad with this many keys on it, 55 in all, without any of them being customizable/programmable. But I can't think of any buttons off the top of my head that are missing (with the possible exception of the arrow keys) that might be required to play a FPS style game.
The cost of the Wolf King Warrior is quite reasonable, under $30 at Geeks.com, considering you'd probably spend at least that much on a decent keyboard. And if you do more than a little FPS gaming, I think you'll find the Warrior much more enjoyable to use than the keyboard.
OCIA.net has awarded the Wolf King Warrior our seal of approval.
Thanks to Geeks.com for supplying us with this review sample.