Are you a member of the PC Master Race, but feel like slumming it with the console crowd? Do you feel like you need to still use a keyboard and mouse while you do? Well, I have good news for you.
Coming from GameSir (they previously behind the X2 controllers), is the new VX2 AimBox, which is touted as an adapter to allow the use of keyboard and mouse with a variety of consoles. So, being a confirmed joypad/controller user (working in IT means I look at PCs all day long, and I have absolutely zero patience left to look at more when I get home), does it work, and more importantly does it bring anything to the table that brings any kind of advantage? Well, lets get it out of the box and find out, shall we?
Now, the first thing to say about this little adapter is that it is a well designed little bit of kit. Taking it out of its box, there is a USB connector to plug it into the console of your choice, and then there are three USB 2.0 ports on the front of the unit, along with a 3.5mm audio jack on the side to let you plug headphones in. I don’t know about you guys, but I do have an issue with the amount of USB ports available on the Xbox Series X. I have an external storage drive, which takes up one port, a wireless headset that needs a port for its receiver, and the final free port, on the front, is used for charging my controller. Now, with the advent of this adapter, I can plug everything in via the single port on the front of the Xbox, which saves a lot of faffing about trying to plug things in the back. Plus point right there.
Actually connecting the thing up is a bit strange, to be absolutely honest. There are ports for a keyboard and mouse to connect into, and in a nice touch, they are reversible, so the plugs will fit in either way. I mean, why is this not a thing on every USB port everywhere? Just bang a plug in any old way, no need to worry about what orientation they are in? Well, these ports are here, and so plugging things in is a piece of cake. The odd bit is that you also need to have the console controller plugged into the AimBox as well. Surely the idea is to replace the controller, but if the controller isn’t connected, the keyboard and mouse don’t work, so…
Anyway, once it is all hooked up, the time has come to configure the VX2 AimBox to work how you want it to. The way we do this is to download the GameSir World App onto your smartphone (I’ve tested this with the Android version). Once you’ve downloaded it and installed – and signed your life away with various agreements – you can actually connect to your AimBox using Bluetooth, and then configure the buttons to be what you want. Well, you can configure them apart from the left stick directional inputs, which are tied to W,A,S,D and cannot be changed. The rest of the buttons on the controller can be mapped however you like, and this amount of customisation is a good feature.
The AimBox does come with a decent map of the buttons, but I had to tweak it a little based on the game I was playing, and it is as simple as selecting the button input you want to configure, and then press the button that you want to input to be bound to.
For me at least, the type of game that you are going to use this adapter on really matters. I tried it with a few different games of varying type: Legend of Ixtona, a KEMCO sort of Fire Emblem clone that I was playing for review; Elden Ring, as I didn’t think I had enough frustration in my life; and finally Forza Horizon 5. Now, as you’d expect, a slower, turn-based game like Legend of Ixtona was absolutely in this adapter’s – and more importantly, my fingers – comfort zone. It was a revelation to use the keyboard for this game, as one of the issues with the controller was that it was hard to select the square that you wanted your characters to move to and so on.
So, for games like this (and also for Halo Wars 2, which I also tried off the back of this) the adapter and the style of play works really well. Now, I have to try and separate my lack of ability from the capabilities of the adapter for the next two games.
For Elden Ring and for Forza Horizon 5, I found this to be more of a struggle. The actual adapter is up to the job, but with the mouse being mapped to the right stick, and also with the mouse buttons being mapped as the attack buttons (or as brake and accelerate) I struggled to get used to it. There are various options in the App to allow for mouse sensitivity, so playing with these did improve matters. I do prefer the analogue inputs of the sticks, to be honest, over the digital key presses, and I feel that unless you are a keyboard/mouse pro, then games like this are better played on a joypad.
In conclusion then, the GameSir VX2 AimBox adapter is a solid bit of kit. It works well, is easily configurable, and does exactly what it says on the tin. I’d rather have the ability to change the directional bindings, but the rest of the buttons are easily changeable, and all in all it allows you to live the PC dream on a console.
Huge thanks go out to GameSir for providing us with the VX2 AimBox for review. You can pick one up for yourself by visiting GameSir direct.