The Problem with Console FPS

Is it possible for a console fps to be good? Or can a high quality FPS only be realized for pc?

FPS games are about pointing at things using a cursor and clicking on them. Console controllers are not very good at this, meanwhile keyboard & mouse are not very good at letting you press an assortment of buttons for different, easily accessible, common use, functions, and at moving a 3rd person character.

The example I usually cite is, have you ever tried using your console’s web browser? You know how difficult it is to click on things when your cursor is moved by an analog stick? Compare that to using a mouse to browse the web. That’s what it’s like to play an FPS game with a gamepad versus a mouse. Consequently, I think almost every FPS game is better served with a mouse and keyboard than a gamepad.

If you want to build a better console FPS game, then it’s probably a better idea to minimize the amount that aim factors in and emphasize other skills instead. Something that plays better to the strengths of the gamepad. A good example would be Metroid Prime, which used tank controls and sidedashing around locked on targets, as well as having morphball sections.

Probably a more realistic solution is to create it as a 3rd person shooter instead. Gamepads are better at controlling a 3rd person character than a mouse and keyboard is, so it naturally makes sense to have a shooter be 3rd person on console instead of 1st person. Some games that pulled this off successfully are Infamous, Vanquish, and Nier.

One exception I have found is this indie game named Hunternet I was asked to try out. In that game, there is a fixed turn speed, even for mouse players. It’s a spaceship dog-fighting game, so this is an integral part of the gameplay. This guideline may also apply to Descent and games in a similar vein. Of course, the enemies and other players in these games are bound by similar restrictions, so it is a game more about dog-fighting, managing your movement to line up for the shot than simply pointing at things and clicking on them. Descent, also designed for dogfighting, likely fits this mold as well.

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