Mad Catz in the past have generally been known for their third-party game controllers for console, although have had a few PC peripherals on the market in the past. They’re now gearing up to release their new range of keyboards, the Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E 2 and S.T.R.I.K.E 4. The S.T.R.I.K.E 2 is the more budget option of the two, and we’ve been lucky enough to check it out for this review.
The Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E 2 keyboard has been built fairly well, although for a gaming keyboard in 2019, compared to its competition it’s a little chunky. It’s a full sized QWERTY keyboard which includes a number pad on the right hand side. Although heavy, the keyboard feels to be made from a thick plastic, which is great if you plan to bash it around, but looks less refined than say something like the Roccat Vulcan 120. There’s minimal sag as well if you’re a heavy typer or gamer which is amazing.
Mad Catz have opted to go for the cheaper membrane type keys with the S.T.R.I.K.E 2, while the pricier S.T.R.I.K.E 4 has a full mechanical key set. Not the best quality keys and I didn’t get particularly bogged down during games of Heroes of the Storm, which require rapid button bashing at times, it is a far cry from the quality of a mechanical keyboard. If you’re a fussy gamer, the S.T.R.I.K.E 4 may be more for you. Still, the keys here definitely win over your standard mouse and keyboard packages you can buy.
The aesthetic to each key is very nice. The font is clear, and the out the box purple and blue backlight enables you to still see each key in low lighting levels. You can get full RGB from button presses on the keyboard. There’s no software or drivers needed for this keyboard to run which is great, but a bit of a shame too as you won’t be able to access features like macro key setups. There’s also no rainbow effects either which is a shame, and the flashing lighting effects on the keyboard are a very boring. I kept mine on the purple/blue finish. There’s also a bit of flare at the bottom of the keyboard which screams ‘gaming keyboard’ but to be honest it’s been designed rather tastefully.
From a gamer’s perspective. the Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E 2 performed extremely well. Each keystroke has some weight to it which i really liked, and I very rarely missed a keystroke due to the pressure I was putting under each key. However, I did miss the key return and actuation of a mechanical keyboard, but not so much that I found myself unplugging the Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E 2. If you’re on a budget, or you’re building your first gaming PC and want something a little higher quality than a mouse and keyboard off the shelf type package, then this is definitely a great contender. I remember when I was a kid, and a Mad Catz controller was the one you gave your friend when they came round for some couch co-op. Well, not anymore. It seems that their quality has substantially improved, and it’s definitely showing. Well, it is on their S.T.R.I.K.E 2 keyboard anyway.