What is dead cannot die! But what is dead can sometimes find new life through resurrection. The mechanics of life and death work in mysterious ways, but in the unpredictable world of tech and gaming, concepts of “death” doesn’t mean the same thing as it does for us flesh ‘n blood mortals. Case in point: Mad Catz, creator of iffy console controllers that would invariably wind up in the hands of any friends who came over to your house, has recently come back in force, anxious for your approval to provide all your gaming interfaces.
With that kind of pedigree, you might not expect that Mad Catz could produce something we’d like to play with in 2019, especially with the competition for your precious dollars bloodier than ever. But after spending some quality time with their R.A.T. 8+ 1000 Optical Gaming Mouse I may have to rethink things. That hefty, premium $100 price tag merits a look at least.
Let’s get the most obvious statement out of the way first: this thing looks weird. I’ve not used a R.A.T. before, but I honestly wasn’t expecting an optical mouse that looked like a Transformer crossed with something you’d see in a Fast & Furious movie. The R.A.T. 8+ doesn’t care about looking user-friendly; it’s all mouse, all the time, with a brutal design that drastically values function over form. This is a gaming mouse for people who want precision from their mouse, not an art project.
One thing worth noting: it’s a little hilarious how seemingly every single journalist that reviewed the R.A.T. 8+ complained about its “gamer” aesthetic (in a gaming mouse, no less!) seemingly in lockstep with one another…There’s just no pleasing some people.
Anyway, that’s what you’re getting here: a mouse in its purest form, customizable in essentially every way you can imagine. Forget those fancy RGB lighting effects, forget the precise OMRON switches for maximum clicking… it’s all about the customization, baby. Nearly every part of the R.A.T. 8+ is adjustable or even removable in some fashion or another. You can unscrew the back and add weighs, adjust or replace the handrest and thumbrest, shift things around to suit your needs…the works. Customization is key here, and the R.A.T. provides that in spades.
It’s nice, all things considered, and once you’ve gotten the hang of things you can make your R.A.T. squeak in just the way you’d like – as long as you keep in mind to be careful with the smaller bits as they’re very easy to drop and lose. You’ve got several different handrest and thumbrest options, though I found the default to be the ideal. The 1000 version we’re talking about here has a unique color scheme and is otherwise the same as a regular R.A.T. 8+ so far as I can tell.
And therein lay the problem when actually “reviewing” something like the R.A.T. 8+ as a mouse in action; there’s so many different combinations, tweaks, and more that your tailored experience is going to vary from almost everyone else’s. But that’s also a blessing, as you may want to have a few choice macros stacked when cruising through the latest World of Warcraft party raid. Like silky-smooth headshots in post-apocalyptic Far Cry: New Dawn or when blasting hordes of Nazi robot dogs in Wolfenstein: Youngblood? With the R.A.T. 8+ at your disposal you’ll never be left wanting for options.
So how does it function as an actual mouse? Well…it’s a little unusual, that’s for sure. You’ve got your two main buttons as well as a set of side buttons that I ended up using primarily for website navigation. You’ve got a vertical mouse wheel in the usual spot as well and a DPI toggle around the same spot. More unusually, there’s also a horizontal mouse wheel, something I haven’t seen before but that I found very useful once I remembered it was there, and a button that drastically reduces the mouse’s DPI to assist with precision aim. This last bit almost feels like cheating, but I won’t tell if you won’t.
One gripe I’ll concede won’t bother gaming purists: this is still a wired mouse, which I’m told is still the go-to choice for said gaming purists. I get it, but I still wish there were a wireless variant for those who like to declutter their workstations.
As for DPI settings and such, the associated software offers all manner of in-depth customization options. Add macros and tinker with the lighting to your heart’s content, including the ability to create as many user profiles as you want. Your DPI goes up to 16000 should you choose, but feel free to tweak that however you please.
The software itself was a little irritating and uncooperative to install, honestly, but once it’s there, it’s there. I’m sure fellow gamers can relate to having yet another propriety software package to install, but I couldn’t help longing for my Logitech software that included features for my keyboard and headset as well, but that’s a fairly minor complaint.
So is the Mad Catz R.A.T. 8+ 1000 Optical Gaming Mouse worth the asking price? For some, absolutely, especially as it goes above and beyond the call of duty (especially when playing Call of Duty, as it happens) with enough bells ‘n whistles to keep even the most obsessed gamer nice and satisfied. That and it looks like it could transform into a robot, and I’m pretty sure you never had a mouse that looks like it before. I wish a wireless version existed, but I also know gaming enthusiasts scoff at such luxuries. Gripes aside, this is an absolutely solid piece of hardware and, when tweaked correctly, feels absolutely fantastic. So go ahead andfFeel free to trust Mad Catz again; they earned it.