Throw a dead stuffed cat anywhere on the Internet and you’ll hit a gaming mouse review or recommendation. It’s a tough and packed market these days, what with big name companies getting their products out through big PC gaming tournaments worldwide, all sorts of promotions, pro review recommends and community board high fives pumping up interest in the best and often, most expensive mice you can buy. Then there’s A4Tech and their quiet storm of putting out some decently awesome peripherals and seeing what happens as folks like me try them out. Well, without a glowing trumpet or flaming flag in sight, I can safely report than the Bloody V3 Multi-Core Gun3 Gaming Mouse is a really awesome deal at $39.99 (or less if you shop around) and it’s also an excellent mouse FPS fans should take to like ducks to water. Packed with features (and some nice goodies inside the box that make it an even better value), the V3’s only drawback is the option to buy into what amounts to a cheat upgrade that allows even more functions to an already solid peripheral.
As you can see above, the packaging and content are indeed impressive. In addition to the V3, you get a user guide, pack of extra mouse feet, a cleaning cloth, Bloody 2 software mini CD and a pair of Bloody hand print “tattoo” stickers (which you can slap on your PC, laptop or wherever else you want to show your support for the product). One complaint about the packaging is the box and guide could have used some more proofreading, as they’ve got some grammatical errors common to plenty of Asian products where English isn’t the primary language used by the localization team. Reading both made me wonder if I should offer my services to A4Tech in the future, as I’ve done a nice chunk of proofreading over the years. But that’s neither here nor there – I’ve got a mouse to review and not the packaging.
The first thing you’ll notice about the V3 once unpacked is it’s quite hefty and extremely well made. That cloth-wrapped cord is a nice touch, the buttons are clicky, the wheel is smooth and has a few functions when pressed in you’ll discover below. Like A4tech’s other mice, the V3 uses the company’s HoleLESS design that allows for more accuracy and makes cleaning the sensor on the bottom super easy (a quick wipe with the included cleaning cloth is all you need). Installation is a snap – just plug in the mouse, wait for it to be recognized and once that’s done, you can pop in that Bloody 2 disc and install a few extra features from it. Less than three or four minutes later, you’re all done and ready to play.
I tried the mouse out on a few non-shooting games from RPGs like Baldur’s Gate (yup, I still have it installed on my PC), a few click-fest hack ‘n slashers ShadowFlare, Diablo II, and Torchlight II and found it works as well as any other mouse I’ve used. I also did a tiny bit of MS Paint drawing with the mouse, but found it’s a bit too heavy for the work I do. Granted, not too many people I know still use a mouse to draw with and the V3 is made for shooter fans more than it is pompous digital artist types. As far as grip styles go, I tend to “claw” rather than palm most of the time and as the V3 has a pair of extra programmable buttons along one side, I found that my lobster tactics allow my thumb easy access to those two clickers just fine. But the real test came when popping in a few newer to ancient FPS games to see how the V3 would perform…
Of course, I wasn’t disappointed one bit. Now, I’m NOT some FPS deity, a competitive player with awesome skills or one of those people with the best and latest gaming rig trolling message board to brag about specs and current configurations. I just like a ton of different games across a wide range of genres and peripherals that work as advertised. The V3 did the job on the shooters I played amazingly well from oldies like System Shock 2 and Half-Life 2 to last year’s Syndicate reboot. I also fired up a few indie side-scrollers and puzzle games for the hell of it and found myself without a single complaint no matter the genre. Pinpoint accuracy made playing anything a total joy and I didn’t notice any input lag or other nastiness no matter what I threw at the mouse.
In addition to the usual two buttons, wheel and side buttons most gaming-focused mice have, the V3 has three center buttons numbered 1 – 3 that activate three separate shooting functions, some of which require activation online once paid for. Yup, that’s right. One of the really interesting things about the V3 is the optional Ultra Core 3 functionality that allows users who pony up an extra $20 for a bunch of promising sounding FPS-centric super features: Auto recoil-suppression and Auto-cycling strafe modes, Trajectory adjustment, Optimal armory management for different games, and Oscar macro editing/sharing online for specific games that allows users to upload their custom loadouts for any shooter so other Bloody users can try them out.
It’s definitely an intriguing addition to the product (and not at all necessary if you’re happy with the V3 as is) and not unsurprising when you consider how every element of gaming has been monetized previously and is seen in some circles as the way of the future. That said, I can see some users griping about the need for this approach to monetizing a peripheral while others embrace it because it helps them win a few more games against other live players and/or AI bots. Of course, other gaming mice I’ve seen and tried have all advertised themselves as being the most advantageous to shooter fans, so it will be interesting to see how the V3 stacks up against others once the more hardcore shooter fans start giving it a shot in competitive or normal gameplay situations.
Overall, while it’s not quite yet a household name (I’d say the company needs a big solid push into the gaming space with a promotion for the ages so they can get some more love), A4Tech scores another win with one more well-made and solid mouse that’s well worth tracking down. I need to see what a few of their keyboards are like, as my old Logitech G15 has seen better days and I’m in the market for a new keyboard of similar quality and functionality at a decent price point. I’ll definitely be looking up what A4Tech has, as they’ve yet to let me down. If I do come up with something cool, I’ll keep you all posted. In the meantime… go get Bloody if that’s your thing.
– Greg Wilcox