Why Controllers Suck at FPS Games

Why do you strongly dislike using controllers for first-person shooters? What exactly is wrong with using a controller as opposed to a mouse and keyboard? While I’m at it, what do you even think about console shooters (shooters made strictly for controllers).

Basically, unlike fighting games, controllers are a completely inarguably inferior method of control for first person shooter games. In fighting games, and a lot of other (digital input) genres, using a controller over another input method is usually a matter of preference. In first person shooters (and RTS), mice are the best way to control the game, period.

Basically, a mouse is capable of instantly moving to any position on the screen at any speed in any direction with a 1:1 correlation to the motion done with your hand. This means you can move the mouse precisely to a position without visual confirmation that it has arrived at that position, you can just move it the amount that feels right and click.

Beyond that, analog sticks have limitations. They have dead zones in their center, so you don’t press a direction accidentally. They have a maximum turn speed at the edges. In order to do the motion to move the cursor, you need to tilt the stick in a direction, but you can’t tell how fast the cursor will move until it starts moving, and you need to stop moving it when it is over something, or slow it down as it gets there.

Have you ever tried using your console’s web browser? Navigating a web browser with a cursor is actually very similar in input to playing a first person shooter. Think of how hard that is to do on console versus doing it on PC. Think of how hard it is to move the cursor onto a specific pixel versus doing it on PC. Move your cursor so it is directly on top of the T in this sentence. Notice how easy that is, and think about how hard that would be on a console (or boot up a console and try it out).

Mice have speed and finesse for this specific type of movement that controllers cannot. There’s a reason we’re still using them instead of trackballs or touchpads. There’s a reason that console shooters need to have serious auto-aim enabled to function, both in the form of bullet magnetism, which bends the path of bullets to hit targets that are not directly in the reticule, and reticule magnetism, which slows the reticule as it passes over a target. These functions, especially reticule magnetism, make playing PC games harder, because they make the movement of the cursor less 1:1, so you can’t rely on it as much without visual confirmation. On console, you already need visual confirmation, so adding an assist on top of that doesn’t really hurt. It’s like snapping your cursor to the target practically.

Not to mention there have always been those rumors where they have the best console players face mediocre PC players and the mediocre PC players come out on top. I have some crazy autoaim hits with the tank recorded in Halo 2, at low FPS where it’s super obvious. I wish someone would conduct some more studies in games where console players have all the auto-aim shit they do on consoles, just to demonstrate for sure that there’s really no comparison between the two.

I’ve gotten better at aiming with a controller thanks to Infamous and Vanquish, but I don’t enjoy it. I tolerate it for some 3rd person shooters which have character movement like those.

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