Home | News | Reviews | Previews | Hardware
Batarang Wireless Controller
Score: 88%
Developer: Power A
Device Type: Controller


Batman: Arkham City is one of the biggest games of the year, and quite frankly, the Batman gadgetry makes an awesome jumping off point for gaming hardware design. Power A does just that with their Batarang Wireless Controller for the PS3.

The Batarang Wireless Controller is a SIXAXIS-compatible PS3 wireless controller, with an awesome-looking design that says (in a gruff, hard-to-understand voice): "I'm Batman!"


The Batarang Wireless Controller has a sweet, instantly recognizable Batman-themed design and has a nice weight and balance to it. It's not a lightweight controller, but it's not overly heavy, either. The grips feature rubberized inserts, which help to keep your hands from slipping during more frantic gaming moments - even after hours of play.

If you really look at it, the physical shape of the Batarang isn't that different from any other gamepad. The part between the grips comes to a sharp point, helping to lend an bat-like shape (or Bat-Signal-like shape?) to the controller without really affecting the controller's playability, which is a good thing. In addition to this, there are various styling cues, such as lines engraved in the surface, the scalloped grips on the handle and the built-in lighting that contribute to the controller's "Batman gadgetry" feel without really having any affect on the controller's performance. This lighting can be either off or your choice of seven colors: Yellow, Blue, Purple, Red, Green, Cyan or White. Well, obviously, the lighting has an affect on the battery life, but these are LEDs, which have become quite energy efficient over the years. I found that the rechargeable battery in the Batarang Wireless Controller lasted a nice, long time, allowing me to play Arkham City gaming sessions that lasted a few hours long without having the battery die on me. Also, the Analog Sticks are pretty close to OEM PS3 size. I found that I was able to use them with the FPS Freeks Analog Stick enhancements just fine, although after they were removed, there were small indentations in the Analog Stick's rubber - nothing that would be an issue for anything, but I make sure to use the same orientation every time that I attach an FPS Freek to the Batarang to avoid introducing a lot of these marks.

All of the buttons, from the action buttons to the shoulder buttons and the topside buttons (Home, Start, Select, Lighting and Battery Indicator) have a good feel to them, and nice response. The Left Analog Stick and D-pad are in a similar layout to the Xbox 360 controller, with the Left Analog Stick on the far left and the D-pad to the left of center.

The rechargeable battery built into the Batarang Wireless Controller seemed to charge quickly to the point that it reported itself to be fully charged in a very short period of time, and the battery lasted several hours on a full charge. A Mini USB cord is included for charging the controller, but it is the same type of charging cord that is used for the OEM PS3 controllers, so you can use this charging cable interchangeably with others.

Part of why the battery lasts a long time is because the Batarang Wireless Controller has a built-in features to help ensure the controller isn't using power when it's not in use. First, there is a hard switch on the center of the face of the controller, which can be used to turn the controller completely off to save power. Secondly, there is a built-in feature that will turn the Batarang off after a few minutes of inactivity. In most games, this isn't a problem, but in turn-based games or any game that you pause for a bit, you may go to use the controller only to find that it's turned itself off. Turning it back on is as simple as hitting the (Home) button, but this might not be the best controller for slower-paced games and video.

  • Custom Color LED Accent Lighting (7 Colors or Off)
  • Licensed Batman: Arkham City Product
  • Batman-Themed Wireless USB RF Receiver
  • Asymmetric Analog Stick Layout (Similar to Xbox 360 Controllers)
  • Batman Themed Design
  • Bat Shaped 5 Button Cluster (Select / Start / Home / Battery / Lighting)
  • Rechargeable Internal Battery
  • Includes 6 Foot Mini-USB Charging Cable
  • Soft Touch Rubberized Grips
  • Dual Rumble Motors
  • Motion Sensing Feature - Works With SIXAXIS-Compatible Games

Drawbacks & Problems::

The first thing to point out as an issue is the fact that this is a wireless controller with a RF receiver USB dongle. The performance of the wireless functionality itself was flawless; I never noticed any sort of lag or interference. However, since it uses a USB dongle, you can't turn the system on with this controller by hitting the (Home) button, like you can with the OEM PS3 controllers. I have only ever reviewed one non-OEM wireless controller that doesn't use a USB dongle, the "NEO" by Subsonic, which uses Bluetooth, like the OEM controllers. Any wireless controller that uses a USB dongle will be unable to turn the system on. The other side-effect of the USB dongle, however, is that the Batarang Wireless Controller will be the first controller recognized if you turn on the PS3 using the power switch on the console; the USB dongle reports that the controller is there and gets assigned as the first controller. It will do this even if the controller is not turned on. That means that if you're using a different controller, it's going to be assigned a higher controller number (2, for example). In some games, this won't matter, but some games expect you to use controller 1.

The fact that the USB dongle reports to the PS3 that the controller is there even when it's not also prevents games from pausing when you turn off the controller - or when it turns itself off. Some games will recognize that a controller has been "removed," but since the USB stick is still in the system, claiming that the controller is there, these games won't know that the controller itself has been turned off.

While the accent lighting is cool, the placement of the button is a bit problematic; being just to the right of the (Start) button, it's easy to accidentally change the lighting's setting when hitting (Start). Luckily, I find that I usually will hit (Start) when I'm trying, even if I accidentally change the lighting's setting while doing so.

The Batarang is great for games, but I don't recommend it for movies - especially if you will be wanting to pause the movie periodically. The auto-off feature is a nice way to conserve energy in your battery and works well in most game-playing scenarios, but if you watch a movie and don't hit any buttons for several minutes, the controller will automatically turn itself off. Then, when you need to pause your movie, you have to hit the (Home) key to turn the controller back on before you'll be able to pause the movie. Then again, I don't believe Power A built this controller with watching movies in mind...

The Batarang Wireless Controller is a good controller to serve as a replacement controller or an extra controller for fans of the Batman. The look is right, the functionality works well and the shortcomings are easily overlooked; the Batarang has made its way into my normal controller rotation and I have no problem using it for any game... although it can be annoying when watching movies. This is a good controller for Batman fans looking for another controller - especially if they're into Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, and would make a good pairing with Arkham City for the PS3 gamer on your gift list this holiday season who is into Batman.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

Related Links:

This site best viewed in Internet Explorer 6 or higher or Firefox.