The Scorch for Xbox 360 controller by Bannco offers gamers a decent way to play their favorite shooters on the Xbox 360 with a wireless mouse and thumbstick controller. While the hardware is solidly built, the configuration software is limited and may be difficult to use. Gamers who are willing to spend a significant amount of time tweaking their game settings will find a lot to like about the Scorch.
Fore more on the Scorch for Xbox 360, visit the official website, bannco.com.
Scorch for Xbox 360 review:
For gamers who prefer First Person Shooters, a constant debate has raged about which controller is more suited to the genre: a standard thumbstick controller or keyboard and mouse. To bridge the gap between both interfaces, Bannco has created the Scorch for the Xbox 360. The Scorch comes in two parts, an Xbox 360 wireless mouse and nunchuck-like thumbstick controller.
The mouse is a standard size for what anyone would expect to find connected to their computer with the inclusion of a set of Xbox 360 controller buttons on the left side. The left mouse button acts as the right trigger, the right button fills in for the right button, and clicking the scroll wheel is the same as clicking in the right stick. On the thumbstick controller, there is a standard control stick and PS3 style D-pad, as well as two trigger buttons across the top. To set up the controller, you plug the included USB dongle in the front of your Xbox 360 and plug a wired gamepad into the dongle.
I started my test of the Scorch with my preferred shooter, Halo 3. After taking a few minutes to fiddle with my settings, I was off to save the human race from the threat of genocide by the Covenant. There was quite a learning curve as I tried to adjust to the new settings. Movement was slower and a bit unresponsive in comparison to my usual controller, necessitating some more time re-adjusting settings in the pause menu. After a couple hours of Halo 3, I decided to try another game. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 offered my second testing environment. Gameplay during this session was a bit more agreeable, but I couldn’t find my perfect setup with the pause menu alone.
Enter Bannco’s configuration software and utilities. After downloading the software and connecting the Scorch’s USB dongle, I started the vicious cycle of configuring the mouse software and testing with my current game. The configuration software only offered a way to remap the mouse buttons and change the radio frequency on the dongle, so I spent quite a bit of time going back and forth to find the perfect sensitivity setting within whatever game I was playing. This is one of the unfortunate downsides of Bannco’s hardware. If a game does not have a wide range of sensitivity settings it may be near impossible to find an appropriate setup for the controller. In Halo 3, I was forced to lift my mouse and reposition it to be able to turn my character around, even at the highest sensitivity setting, making the game virtually unplayable in any competitive environment.
Modern Warfare 2 offered a greater range of sensitivity settings and at first seemed a more appropriate fit for the controller. The limitations of the hardware became apparent after I started aiming down the sights. I found a sensitivity setting that worked wonders when shooting from the hip, but pulling up my iron sights slowed my movement to a crawl. The Scorch does have a quick turn feature, but it is only available when gaming on a PC. When I changed my settings for proper use of the iron sights, movement and shooting from the hip suffered. There was no usable balance. After a few hours I was nearly ready to give up on the hardware altogether.
For my final test, I decided to try something a bit different. This time I loaded up my copy of Gears of War and started replaying the campaign. After setting the game sensitivity on high, things started to fall into place. I was moving in and out of cover as easily as usual and taking down enemies at will. The slower pace of Gears of War was much more suited to the use of the Scorch. The only trouble I had with Gears of War was with weapon switching. The Scorch’s thumbstick controller is a bit on the small side, so reaching the D-pad with my thumb was a bit difficult. In battle I ended up sticking with just one weapon but in spite of this, the game was playable and fun.
While the Scorch controller is a pretty well made piece of equipment, I’d be hard pressed to say that it is a necessary purchase. The controller itself works well, but those who will get the most out of it will be gamers who are willing to put in the time to set it up properly and configure their library of games to work with it. A wired Xbox 360 controller is also required to use the Scorch, so gamers must plan for this accordingly. Another factor to consider is a person’s willingness to adapt their gaming environment to use the Scorch. Most console gamers don’t play hunched over a desk but instead lean lazily back on their sofa. The Scorch is uncomfortable and unwieldy in this instance, so gamers should set up some sort of desk space or table to rest the mouse on. The main downside of the Scorch controller has nothing to do with the hardware itself but with the way games are designed. Console games are optimized for use with a control pad and therefore do not usually offer enough controller setting to optimize the Scorch for comfortable use. This is the same sort of issue gamers face when an RTS is ported to home consoles. Remapping all the controls from a keyboard to a gamepad usually ends up with a messy at best and unplayable at worst control scheme.
Ultimately, the Scorch for Xbox 360 is an interesting accessory that requires a significant time investment in set-up and fine tuning. There are certainly gamers who would enjoy the option to play their Xbox 360 games with a mouse and for them, the Scorch is an enticing piece of hardware. Gamers who are willing to accept the hardware’s limitations will ultimately be rewarded for their efforts.
Thanks to Bannco for making the Scorch for Xbox 360 review possible with the review unit.