Hard Stuff: Razer StarCraft II Marauder review


The Marauder's like a pair of Air Jordans—they look fantastic, but they're expensive, and buying them won't improve your skills at the game you know and love.

As part of Razer's line of StarCraft II gear, the Marauder's main feature is nifty dynamic backlighting that gauges your APM (actions-per-minute), exclusively in SC2; in other games, it simply glows a static color. And, annoyingly, this smallish keyboard requires two USB ports to make the lights work. Depending on how many actions you're spamming, the Marauder shines from a Protoss blue (when you're almost comatose) all the way to blood-red (when you're a GSL superstar). Unfortunately, the APM colors might show you how bungling of a SC2 player you really are.

While playing against platinum-league vet Norm Chan, my keyboard never surpassed green (one step above lifeless blue); I could only achieve a satisfying red through rapid-fire-clicking waypoints while my fingers played a drum solo on the hotkeys. After Norm ruthlessly thrashed me, the Marauder added insult to injury by blinking red to make sure I knew I lost. Gee, thanks.

Without the Lite-Brite gimmick, the Marauder is a less-than-stellar keyboard. Razer inexplicably decided to smash the arrow keys and Insert/Home/Page Up block into the numpad—this jarring change left me constantly fumbling for keys. Still, you can reassign almost all of the buttons, and each key has a nice tactile feel: they're sturdy, springy and have an aesthetically-pleasing gloss. But paying $120 for what's essentially a StarCraft mood-ring—that spectators will enjoy more than you do—just doesn't make sense.

$120, www.razerzone.com ◆ Category: Dream