Like many things in gaming, the choice of controllers can be quite a contentious topic, and many a forum has endured discussions between the factions of devout keyboard users and embracers of gamepads, with a small faction of joystick wielders just enjoying their games in peace and quiet.

These days many games are equally playable on either control scheme. Once they come to PC, games that use controllers like a gamepad are adjusted for keyboard and mouse anyway, so the choice is both subjective, and not really essential to the experience. Heck, even in edge cases where KB M has awful inputs, you can usually configure the controls to your liking.

Sometimes, however, the choice can improve the game significantly, especially where fluid movement is important, or there are wheel menus and button combos.

With that in mind, below we present a short list of games, which are great on keyboard and mouse, but going for a gamepad (or another controller) makes the experience significantly better. So plug in your device of choice and experience the world of dual sticks!

Games which shine with a controller
GameReleaseGenreDeveloper
Dragon's Dogma II 2024-03-22 Action RPG CAPCOM
FINAL FANTASY VII Remake Intergrade 2021-04-10 JRPG Square Enix Creative Business Unit I
TEKKEN 8 2024-01-26 Fighting Bandai Namco Studios
Hi-Fi RUSH 2023-01-25 Action, Rhythm Tango Gameworks
It Takes Two 2021-03-26 Action-adventure, Puzzle, Co-op Hazelight Studios
Monster Hunter Rise 2022-01-12 Action-adventure, RPG Capcom Development Division 2
STAR WARS Jedi: Survivor 2023-04-28 Action-adventure, RPG Respawn Entertainment
Mortal Kombat 1 2023-09-19 Fighting NetherRealm Studios
Elden Ring 2022-02-25 Action RPG FromSoftware
Street Fighter 6 2023-02-10 RPG Avalanche Software
EA SPORTS FC 24 2023-09-29 Sports EA Romania
Sifu 2022-02-08 Beat 'em up Sloclap
Persona 5 Royal 2022-10-21 RPG Atlus
Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered 2022-08-12 Action Insomniac Games
Overcooked 2016-08-03 Action & Shooter Ghost Town Games
Yakuza 0 2018-08-01 Adventure Ryū Ga Gotoku Studios
Monster Hunter World 2018-08-09 Action CAPCOM
Monster Hunter Rise 2022-01-12 Action Capcom Development Division 2
Graveyard Keeper 2018-08-15 Adventure Lazy Bear Games
Devil May Cry 5 Standard Edition 2019-03-08 Action Capcom Development Division 1
Hades 2019-12-10 Indie Supergiant Games
Grand Theft Auto V 2015-04-14 Adventure Rockstar North
Mortal Kombat Xl 2015-07-22 Fighting NetherRealm Studios
The Binding Of Isaac Rebirth 2014-11-04 Action & Shooter Nicalis, Inc.
The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt GOTY 2015-05-18 RPG CD PROJEKT RED
Street Fighter V 2016-02-15 Fighting CAPCOM

Dragon's Dogma II

Release date:2024-03-22
Genre:
Developer:CAPCOM

Although the controls of Dragon’s Dogma 2 aren’t hugely complicated, having everything ready to use on a moment’s notice can be a bit of a bother, and while many functions are mapped well enough to the general surroundings of WSAD, they become a bit unwieldy if you want to move and do anything else. To some degree, and in especially hectic encounters, having just two hands might not be enough.

With a gamepad, there are no such problems. You can keep moving your character and camera, while easily accessing weapons skills and D-pad functions, although the latter might still require a bit of finger gymnastics. All in all, if you want to never worry about fumbling key inputs during a vicious fight against a shaggy ogre or upset griffin, a gamepad is the obviously superior option.

Key features
  • A massive open world filled with monsters and world-changing plots
  • Ten vocations with very different playstyles and powerful abilities
  • Handy and compact control scheme… as long as you’re on gamepad
  • Excellent monster designs

FINAL FANTASY VII Remake Intergrade

Release date:2021-04-10
Genre:
Developer:Square Enix Creative Business Unit I

Not unlike other third-person melee-range combat-oriented games, the remakes of Final Fantasy VII work a whole lot smoother and more intuitively if you have a gamepad.

It’s not surprising, the games launched first on PlayStation, so being controller-friendly is a given. A gamepad also makes it easier to sit further away from the screen to fully appreciate the flurry of effects making battles more exciting.

As of February 2024, the series features two entiries. The first is FF7 Remake Intergrade, which includes the first act of the core story taking place in the city of Midgar, as well as previously separate Intermission focused on Yuffie Kisaragi. The second is FF7 Rebirth, which open the world up to more locations, characters, and elements of the remake’s increasingly complicated storyline.

Key features
  • An exciting mix of action and ATB combat
  • A massive, multi-part revisit of one of the most beloved Final Fantasy games
  • Many minigames and side activities embellishing the world
  • Spectacular graphics

Tekken 8

Release date:2024-01-26
Genre:
Developer:Bandai Namco Studios

Fighting games can be fairly accepting to many control formats, and you’re mostly limited by how deep and invested you want to be.

Tekken 8 can easily handle keyboard, and becomes smoother with typical Xbox and Playstation gamepads, but why stop there? If you want to try to commit to the genre, you could get specialized arcade controller for fighting games, with or without a stick, as you please.

Of course, the special controllers are more expensive, but if you’re willing to pay the price and learn the ropes, they can make your experience with Tekken 8 much better than traditional options. And given how much crazy stuff is going on here, and the intense input necessary for higher-level play here, it might be a worthwhile expense for dedicated fans.

Key features
  • The next stage of Mishima clan’s internal conflicts
  • Spectacular, fast-paced combat system
  • Revamped graphics and designs
  • Very accessible

Hi-Fi Rush

Release date:2023-01-25
Genre:
Developer:Tango Gameworks

Hi-Fi Rush is a delightful game, and its rhythm-based take on the classical Devil May Cry-like gameplay makes it truly stand out from other games in the genre.

See, everything in the game is synchronized to the same steady beat: all enemy attacks, all platforming sections, and if your actions are on point, they get stronger. This also means timing is of the essence.

Hi-Fir Rush isn’t particularly hard to play on keyboard and mouse, but most of the game is going to be easier with a controller. Sure, one of the team-ups involves some aiming, but it’s a relatively minor thing and usually there’s little time-crunch involved. What you get in return is all the buttons for dodges and attacks and team-ups easily accessible thanks to a gamepad’s compact nature.

Key features
  • Upbeat, colorful, cel-shaded aesthetic
  • Excellent soundtrack, including licensed and original tracks
  • Deep, engaging combat system, with plenty of special attacks and maneuvers
  • Even with gamepad battles can be very intense

It Takes Two

Release date:2021-03-26
Genre:
Developer:Hazelight Studios

Much like its title suggests, It Takes Two requires two players, which if you go for local co-op already means one player is going to need a controller.

ITT features a lot of tight 3D platforming and combat, so a gamepad might be a worthwhile solution for both players anyway. There are, like in Hi-Fi Rush some sequences requiring you to aim, but they are rare enough and reasonably forgiving.

The game puts you in the roles of two soon-to-be-divorced parents, May and Cody, who wound up getting turned into little dolls by a magic book about healthy relationships. Over the course of several areas modelled after their large rural house, they’ll conquer many challenges and learn to be together again. Despite this premise and cute aesthetic, the journey is full of, frankly, messed up moments.

Key features
  • Each area has a different theme and mechanics, making the gameplay incredibly diverse
  • Each zone is full of minigames and detailed interactions
  • As a platforming game with a hefty amount of combat, gamepads are a huge help
  • Cute aesthetic hides complex subject matter

Monster Hunter Rise

Release date:2022-01-12
Genre:Action
Developer:Capcom Development Division 2

Its predecessor, MH World was already miles better on gamepad than KB M (unless you were a bowgun player).

MH Rise, coming o PC from Switch, is much faster than MHW, and the addition of wirebugs makes analog sticks, triggers and bumpers a godsend. Switch skills introduced in the Sunbreak expansion also benefit a lot from gamepad’s tight layout.

Wirebugs are Monster Hunter’s mobility solution, allowing you to zip around the levels like Spider-Man, but also provide a ton of functionality in combat, including the ability to ride monsters for a while. Which is a useful skill, because the giant beasts of the series take a hefty amount of damage before they are defeated, and just your selection of oversized, powerful weapons might not be quite enough.

Key features
  • Plenty of monsters to capture and kill
  • 14 weapon types, each with unique playstyle with a high-skill ceiling
  • Tons of weapons and armor sets to craft and put into specialized loadouts
  • A fast-paced, smaller-scale cousin to the sprawling Monster Hunter World

Jedi Survivor

Release date:2023-04-28
Genre:
Developer:Respawn Entertainment

Jedi Survivor is perfectly playable on the keyboard-mouse mix, even on the higher difficulties, but if you have a choice between that and a gamepad, and feel equally comfortable with both, then the latter would really be recommended. Much like Jedi Fallen order, Survivor enjoys its environmental puzzles, parkour, and multi-button input, so it’s a bit easier to handle with a gamepad.

The game picks up a few years after the events of Fallen Order, with Cal Kestis and his crew of rebels fishing for intel which might help against the Empire. Things go poorly, however, which, through a series of unfortunate events sets Cal up for the next big adventure. JS is a great follow-up with greater gameplay diversity, more customization, and satisfying, Metroidvania-like exploration.

Key features
  • Five distinct, fully-developed lightsaber forms, including a sword-and-blaster one
  • A batch of new planets to explore, with new enemies and challenges to face
  • Expanded progression: now you can acquire useful perks and put them in your loadout
  • Looks incredible

Mortal Kombat 1

Release date:2023-09-19
Genre:
Developer:NetherRealm Studios

The latest instalment, and a kind-of reboot of the Mortal Kombat franchise is, like many fighting games, really benefits from a controller.

As the latest entry in the series, Mortal Kombat 1 has a well-developed and complex fighting system, which makes a controller’s multi-button input method preferrable over a keyboard. That doesn’t mean KB isn’t viable, it might just not be as comfortable.

MK1 is only a kind-of reboot, because while it very much restarts a timeline, it’s also rooted firmly in the ending on MK11, so much so that It might just be a direct sequel, depending on how you choose to define the difference. Despite the new timeline, conflicts are always brewing, of course, and some things never change for long, especially where sorcerers are involved.

Key features
  • Five distinct, fully-developed lightsaber forms, including a sword-and-blaster one
  • A batch of new planets to explore, with new enemies and challenges to face
  • Expanded progression: now you can acquire useful perks and put them in your loadout
  • Looks incredible

Street Fighter 6

Release date:2023-06-02
Genre:
Developer:CAPCOM

We’ve got Tekken 8, we’ve got MK1, it’s only reasonable for Street Fighter 6 to also make the list.

The same arguments apply, especially if you have/can afford a fightstick. SF6 also comes with three different control modes designed for players of different skill levels, including the classic, six-button attack mode for the veterans and a dynamic mode for beginners.

Street Fighter 6 is a fantastic sequel, pushing the story a few years forward, which provided an excellent opportunity to explore new designs for the classic characters, work on an updated aesthetic. It even introduces a new, open-world experience featuring a player-created avatar learning new combat forms from masters living in the city and getting into a silly number of fights in-between.

Key features
  • Revamped graphics and designs
  • Customizable avatar
  • Three control types: Classic, Modern, and Dynamic
  • Real-time commentary

EA Sports FC 24

Release date:2023-09-29
Genre:
Developer:EA Romania

The title of the series might have changed, but what hasn’t is the fact that EA Sports’ soccer simulator is miles better on a controller than it is on KB M.

Executing complex plays, handling 360 degree movement, all of that work much better with analog sticks and all the buttons immediately at your fingertips. Gamepads are also great if you choose to plug in your TV to play from the couch.

The series formerly known as FIFA is going strong, with an ever-greater attention to realism that makes the matches come closer and closer to being completely photorealistic, including accurate animations capturing the style of your favorite players. And if you do decide to play it on TV, from your couch, perhaps with a few friends in multiplayer, it can really look like the real deal.

Key features
  • Tons of licensed teams, leagues, and players
  • Staggeringly realistic
  • Cross-platform multiplayer
  • Great for local multiplayer

Elden Ring

Release date:2022-02-25
Genre:Action RPG
Developer:FromSoftware

It shouldn’t be a surprise that FromSoftware’s open-world, third-person, mostly melee-oriented game is here, especially since its cousin Dark Souls 3 and remote relative Monster Hunter World appear further down the list in the “previously on” section. Keeping your unlucky Tarnished alive is much easier, if you can access a whole bunch of buttons without weird hand contortions.

Guarding, skill use, attacks, weapon switching, all easy as pie. For a game which requires reflexes and precision, a controller is clearly a more convenient option than keyboard and mouse. Controllers are also slightly more resistant to being crushed in frustration after you were two frames too slow to dodge and lost the boss fight again. Still not recommended to throw them at the wall.

Key features
  • Easily one of the best games of 2022
  • World and story revealed in bits and pieces across dialogues, exploration, and descriptions
  • Plenty of diverse weapons for a multitude of possible builds
  • Completing it takes skill and patience

Sifu

Release date:2022-02-08
Genre:Beat 'em up
Developer:Sloclap

Another tough-as-nails game on the list (and not the last one by any measure), Sifu puts you in the shoes of a young Bak Mei adept who sets out to avenge the death of their (the protagonist can be male or female) family. It’s not going to be an easy revenge quest, however, since the combat system is challenging, the bosses supernaturally empowered, and every death makes you older.

While Sifu is quite playable without it, a controller makes action and movement smoother, and you’ll need all the help you can get. The reward for that is quite satisfying, too, since Sifu played with skill looks absolutely incredible in motion, with realistic animations and brutal finishing moves. Without controller support, Sifu would be even harder than it already is.

Key features
  • Probably the most authentic unarmed martial art.’s-themed game ever made
  • Tight and challenging combat system
  • Excellent location design, with many alternative paths you can open
  • Great revenge story with mild supernatural element

Persona 5 Royal

Release date:2022-10-21
Genre:RPG
Developer:Atlus

Seeing how the Persona games are native to PlayStation, it’s no wonder they work best with a controller. It’s no different for Person 5 Royal, the most recent mainline installment of the renown jRPG series. From navigating the menus to moving around mind dungeons, controller offers a better-integrated experience than the classic PC combo.

The story follows a group of teens calling themselves Phantom Thieves of Hearts, who are able to go into a psychic metaverse to steal evil ambitions from adults. They use the eponymous Personas, powerful avatars of their own psyches, to fight against dangers lurking in the mind-dungeons. If you’d love to help stylish teens fight evil to some smooth jazz, give Persona 5 a shot.

Key features
  • A PC port of a critically acclaimed jRPG
  • Lead Phantom Thieves of Hearts on heists against evil adults
  • Live a double life: a high school student and a psychic thief
  • Complex persona management, letting you create a perfect psychic avatar for your playstyle

Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered

Release date:2022-08-12
Genre:Action
Developer:Insomniac Games

Can you imagine playing a Spider-Man-themed action game without the analog sticks? WSAD has many advantages, but it isn’t great for dealing with TPP games which don’t have a camera fixed behind your back. As a result, Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man, which made its way to PC in 2022, works much better if you have a controller on hand.

Insomniac’s game also happens to be probably the best Spider-Man game in ages. It features a great story, a satisfying gallery of Webhead’s villains, and great open world gameplay punctuated with exciting fights showcasing Spidey’s full mobility and web-tricks. The game was welcomed so warmly that it got a sequel-spin-off focused on Miles Morales, which is also playable on PC.

Key features
  • Many famous Spidey villains make an impactful appearance
  • Excellent web-slinging across Manhattan
  • Great semi-sequel
  • Plenty of alternative costumes to discover

Overcooked

Release date:2016-08-03
Genre:Action & Shooter
Developer:Ghost Town Games

Overcooked’s control scheme is very simple and the gameplay takes more teamwork than precise input. However, due to a neat gimmick, Overcooked is just plain more FUN if you use a gamepad, especially if you play with your significant other. See, the thing is that two people can play on one gamepad, each having half a gamepad, which might be odd on an Xbox controller due to its skewed symmetry.

The game itself is a half-puzzle, half-platformer, and half-team-management game, which comes up to a total of 150% fun. A number of cooks is put on a mobile, often dynamically rearranging kitchen and have to complete as many orders as possible. You need good communications, because ingredients must be cut, plates washed, dishes served… it can quickly become quite chaotic.

Key features
  • Save the world by cooking dishes in unsafe kitchens!
  • Two people can share a controller
  • One of the greatest co-op games
  • Each mission has a potential to become joyfully chaotic

Yakuza 0

Release date:2018-08-01
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Ryū Ga Gotoku Studios

Since Yakuza 0 originated on consoles (PlayStation 3, specifically) it was obviously developed with a gamepad in mind. Combat, a major part of the game, uses every button, and all directional inputs: sticks move the character and the camera, while directional pad changes combat styles. That said, even with a sub-optimal controls Yakuza 0 is a fantastic game just by the virtue of its story and characters.

It follows two young men: Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima, both involved in a conflict over a patch of real estate that’s a key to incredible amounts of money. The main storyline is a highly engaging crime drama, but there are also many side stories, fun minigames, and two different business subsystems. The two core maps, Kamurocho and Sotenbori, are also fascinating: detailed, populated, colourful, and feeling lived-in.

Key features
  • Great story with memorable and likeable leading characters
  • Fun combat system with several fighting styles, weapons, and explosive finishers
  • Tonnes of side-activities, including racing RC cars and underground fighting ring
  • Prequel for the rest of the already classic series

Graveyard Keeper

Release date:2018-08-15
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Lazy Bear Games

In Graveyard Keeper you’re, perhaps somewhat predictably, playing the role of a local graveyard keeper in a fantasy world. That means a lot of work involving holding down some buttons to fill a progress bar, and walking around to complete regular tasks and unique quests. There’s no need for precision, and the game is rather slow-paced, so it might well be a more chill experience if you have a gamepad.

Thankfully, slow-paced though Graveyard Keeper might be, there’s a lot to do. You have to tend to corpses and bury them appropriately. You have to write sermons which can provide different bonuses. And you might have to sell some meat to the innkeep for quick cash, he won’t ask questions. You also should work on finding a way back to your own world, which you abruptly and unwillingly left.

Key features
  • Relaxing graveyard management game
  • Pixel-art graphics which will run fine even on an old notebook
  • Despite its theme Graveyard Keeper isn’t very serious
  • There are some things you can do only on a specific day of the in-game week

Devil May Cry 5

Release date:2019-03-08
Genre:Action
Developer:Capcom Development Division 1

In this kind of game there’s really no way to replace a gamepad without sacrificing a chunk of your effectiveness. Nothing that can’t be overcome, but like with Monster Hunter above you should focus on fighting your enemies, not the controls. Especially since certain attacks require specific directional input, which would be a bit of a pain in the neck to execute without an analogue stick.

However when you have a controller DMC5 really shines and flourishes as an intense, stylish action game with a bunch of cool weirdos on the cast. Three of them, Dante, Nero, and newcomer V are playable, and each has a different playstyle: Dante changes weapons and fighting styles on a whim, Nero uses a sword, a gun, and a range of cyber prosthetics, while V has three demons to fight for him.

Key features
  • Very high skill ceiling, go wild with these combos
  • Three characters with different playstyles
  • Challenging boss fights
  • A family story at heart

Batman Arkham series

Release date:2018-11-28
Genre:Action
Developer:Rocksteady Studios

The Batman Arkham games have become famous for many reasons, one of them being their fluid, dynamic combat system which makes Bats (and friends, occasionally) look like the martial arts master that he is. It is also surprisingly pleasant to play on KB M, even if using gadgets in combat can break your pace a bit. It’s still a much smoother experience on a gamepad, as many such games are.

Whether you play on the ol’ reliable KBM or a gamepad, Batman Arkham games let you feel like Batman, fighting villains, smashing goon heads into pavements, using gadgets with a Bat-logo on them, as well as solving crimes and Riddler’s puzzles. The stealth system is also satisfying, especially since you can see how terrified your enemies become. Batman Arkham is a complete Batman experience.

Key features
  • The combat system makes you feel awesome
  • The more gadgets you acquire the more the maps open up
  • You meet many of Bats’ greatest enemies and a few allies
  • A challenge mode for all who want to test themselves

Hades

Release date:2019-12-10
Genre:Indie
Developer:Supergiant Games

Hades doesn’t have a very complicated control scheme, but there’s a lot of diagonal movement, which is famously a problem for keyboards to handle, and precise movement suffers without a gamepad. On the other hand if you go for targeted ranged weapons and attacks, then mouse will make things easier than moving the right stick around. Arguably, using a controller is overall smoother.

Either way, Hades is a Greek mythology-themed roguelite which gives you control of Zagreus, Hades’ son, trying to run from home. On the way to the surface you’ll pass several underworld realms, battle several bosses, meet loveable NPCs, and get stronger with every run, until eventually you manage to escape. It’s an exceptional game, with distinct art style and satisfying gameplay. Go get it.

Key features
  • You get to meet some famous figures from Greek mythology
  • Quite a bit of lore unlocked organically as you play the game
  • Several weapons, each with a few variants
  • Tight gameplay

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Release date:2014-11-18
Genre:Adventure
Developer:BioWare

Dragon Age: Inquisition features a lot (a lot) of real time with pause combat, which, honestly, just doesn’t work too well with a KBM combo. It does, however, work like a wonder with a gamepad, and switching to a controller makes controlling your team much, much more comfortable and intuitive. Even manipulating the camera is easier. Just play the game with a gamepad, it’s worth it.

DAI is a solid, epic-scale fantasy RPG in a setting introduced in DA: Origins. Your protagonist happens to be in possession of a magical… talent which can save the continent from a mystical disaster. As usual in a BioWare RPG, there are memorable companions, exciting sequences, and a chance to prove your character is the coolest person in the room. Just don’t get stuck in Hinterlands.

Key features
  • A fun fantasy story with many great moments
  • Great cast of companions and allies
  • Some of the best dragons in video games
  • Rich lore

Bayonetta

Release date:2017-04-11
Genre:Action & Shooter
Developer:Nex Entertainment

Bayonetta shares it lineage with Devil May Cry, so it’s absolutely no surprise that it benefits from using the controller in the same way DMC does. Bayo’s moves are infinitely easier to execute using a gamepad, and it’s easier to keep up with the hectic pace if you use a device designed specifically for gaming. In the words of the prophet “it just works”.

As for the story, you play as a newly reawakened Bayonetta, an Umbral Witch, who literally woke up one day and chose violence, because many powerful people and creatures in her world decided to be huge holy jerks about a lot of stuff. Thankfully, she finds some reliable allies, including some who supply her with stiletto guns, because if you have to kill angels, then do it with style.

Key features
  • Intense action game from the creator of Devil May Cry
  • Spectacular combos and over the top finishing moves
  • Two sequels
  • Memorable characters

Grand Theft Auto V

Release date:2015-04-14
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Rockstar North

GTA V was originally designed for consoles, which means an obvious focus on making controllers work like wonder. Driving has always been much better on an analogue controller thanks to finer speed and direction controls, and the game’s simple on-foot controls map neatly to the gamepad. Being able to tune out the control scheme to focus on the world works wonders for immersion.

And there’s a lot to get immersed in. Los Santos and the surrounding area is huge and full of activities. The criminal protagonist trio of Michael, Trevor, and Franklin each have their peculiarities, and switching between them every so often lets you find them in potentially interesting situations. GTA offers hours of great gameplay, no matter the control scheme you go for.

Key features
  • Crime story for the ages
  • Interesting Online segment
  • Three excellent protagonists
  • The open world feels alive

Tomb Raider (2013)

Release date:2013-03-05
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Eidos

The Tomb Raider games can go either way, but there definitely is a strong argument to be made about them working better with a gamepad, ever since the first in the series. Once Quick Time Events came it, ditching the KBM mix became an obvious direction, and as of the latest installments, gamepad is the best choice, especially if you’re determined to go melee, rather than ranged.

The 2013 reboot is a three-part Lara origin story, taking her from a frightened young woman trying to survive, to a determined adventurer trying to raid some tombs and prevent evil mercs from accomplishing their objectives. Great graphics, polished gameplay, and interesting stories are what you’re in for if you choose to give the new TRs a shot.

Key features
  • An interesting reboot of Lara’s adventures
  • Two fun sequels
  • Large, fun to explore maps
  • Brutal combat

Middle Earth: Shadow of War

Release date:2017-10-10
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Monolith Productions

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War (and its predecessor, Shadow of Mordor) are based on the world created by J.R.R. Tolkien, but present it in a way closer to Peter Jackson’s adaptations, and carve their own little slice of alternative history. As Talion, an accidentally immortal ranger, you’ll face many dangers mundane and magical alike on a quest for vengeance for the death of his family.

Shadow of War is much like Assassin’s Creed and Batman Arkham, with third-person movement, omnidirectional combat, and parkour-ish traversal. As a result, gamepad is advisable, especially if you really want to get good at using various tricks in your arsenal while fighting buffed-up orcs. You could use KBM, but it won’t be as intuitive.

Key features
  • Interesting take on JRR Tolkien’s setting
  • Fluid, fast paced combat
  • Death is an integral part of the experience
  • The Nemesis system is a ton of fun

Dark Souls III

Release date:2016-04-11
Genre:Adventure
Developer:FromSoftware

As an action RPG franchise, the whole series, not only its third installment, works best with a controller. FromSoftware’s games are notorious for their difficulty levels. Death comes easily in all the Soulsborne (and the later Sekiro, which doesn’t have a syllable in the portmanteau) games, but let’s make an example of Dark Souls III.

You will find it takes much less effort to control your motions in this dark fantasy world, when you will have a controller in your hands. In a game where making a mistake at a bad time can send you back to the last bonfire, bereft of your souls, it’s important to have comfortable controls, so you can focus on analyzing your enemy’s attack pattern and exploiting any openings.

Key features
  • The third instalment of an excellent action RPG series
  • Challenging combat
  • Great map design
  • Subtle storytelling

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Release date:2018-10-05
Genre:Action
Developer:Ubisoft Québec

The Assassin’s Creed games, with their reliance on parkour and melee combat with several enemies at once sure benefit from a gamepad. Having several buttons pressed at the same time in addition to free control of camera and direction make the game much easier, and this remain true in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, one of the latest main chapters in the series.

This time, the story takes you to the Ancient Greece during the Peloponnesian war. As the Misthios, a mercenary with a complicated family history, you’ll uncover your own legacy, deal with the remnants left behind a forgotten civilization, and rub elbows with a few famous historical figures from the period. So pretty much the gold standard experience for an AC game.

Key features
  • A trip back in time to the Peloponnesian war
  • You get to fight some mythological creatures
  • Satisfying parkour and impactful combat
  • Two playable characters to choose from

Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

Release date:2014-11-04
Genre:Action & Shooter
Developer:Nicalis, Inc.

A perfect example of a rogue-like game that works better with a controller which makes it easier to move in one direction, and shoot in another. Sometimes this kind of manoeuvre is awkward on keyboard and mouse setups.The storyline follows a protagonist who must get through a gruesome dungeon he escaped into to run away from his mother following a mysterious and murderous voice.

On top of that, the Binding of Isaac has a very distinctive aesthetic, which makes some of the utterly horrible, nightmare-inducing things happening to the protagonist a little more bearable. It’s a great game over all, and if you’re struggling on a keyboard mouse combo, give a gamepad a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Key features
  • Thematically dark and gruesome roguelike
  • Unique art style
  • Several unlockable characters
  • Genre icon

The Witcher 3

Release date:2015-05-18
Genre:RPG
Developer:CD PROJEKT RED

This RPG filled with action, combat and drama is a wildly acclaimed game with millions of fans worldwide. The Witcher 3 (with expansions) is the final chapter in the story of Geralt of Rivia, a professional solver of monstrous and magical problems. The unlatched TPP camera means that moving the protagonist around and steering him during fights with monsters is much handier with a controller.

In addition to the mechanics of movement and perspective, The Witcher 3’s control scheme is simple enough to be easily mappable to a gamepad with no loss of fucntion. Changing and using signs, for instance, is quite simple and convenient. Sustained abilities, like the Igni sign are much easier to manage on a gamepad, but if you want to go wild with a crossbow, keep a mouse handy.

Key features
  • Worldwide action RPG hit
  • Hunting deadly monsters is rarely as fun as in TW3
  • Gripping story
  • Large open world split into several massive maps

Rocket League

Release date:2015-07-07
Genre:Indie
Developer:Psyonix

This car-sport game offers players quick matches in various modes like hockey-styled one, basketball-alike, football-themed etc. Matches are really fast-paced and lasting mere minutes. Before you realize, your opponent can grab the ball and score. The high-level play of Rocket League relies to a large degree on aerial evolutions, which are much easier to manage using a gamepad’s twin sticks.

The game has a very high skill ceiling, limited only by the moderately high actual ceiling placed over the stadium. You can move completely independently from the direction the camera is pointing, and the eight directions available on a keyboard are woefully insufficient for a game about cars which move in 360° in every axis.

Key features
  • Unique premise: rocket powered cars playing futbol
  • There’s no limit to how good you can get
  • Several non-football modes
  • Cosmetic customisation of your car

Twin sticks of success

That concludes our list of games which are great and worth playing on their own, but get even better if you have a gamepad to play them.

Controllers were designed specifically to fit comfortably in human hands, so if your favourite games don’t really benefit from the large number of keys of a keyboard, or the precision and speed of a mouse, give controllers a chance, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Ultimately, of course, the victor of the Mouse and Keyboard vs Controller battle is decided by personal preference, which trumps all advantages and features. And that’s perfectly okay. For all our trying to explain why you should use a controller for this or another game, you actually should just play in the way that makes you happy!