Using controllers, mostly gamepads, or a mouse and keyboard while playing video games can be a very subjective choice. Many gamers rely on only one type of equipment and are ardently defending their choice. Typically, PC games are played with a mouse-keyboard combo, however they commonly and widely support controllers.
That means you can play video games with a use of gamepad, joystick, PS4, or Xbox controller. Is it worth to give them a try? Well, depends on type of the game, its features and type of gameplay.
There are a plenty of PC games with controller support that work quite good with a gamepad or other controller and some that even are better when played with controllers than with a mouse-keyboard set.
Let’s have a look at what PC games – when it comes to type and genres – are better with a controller and what are the best games that are more fun when a mouse and keyboard is swapped for a gamepad, steering wheel, or even fancier equipment.
FPS/FPP versus TPS/TTP
One of the most popular types of games are first person and third person perspective shooter games. In FPS or FPP, as the name suggests, the player sees the gaming world and conducts actions from a first person perspective, seeing through the eyes of the character.
In third person perspective, the whole silhouette of the character is visible, and the player moves around the protagonist’s model. FPP games are easier to play with a mouse and keyboard as the player can take better aim with less effort. Controllers don’t have the ability to stimulate the aiming process so well. With TPP though, the opposite is the case – numerous actions involving fighting, moving around, shooting and others are better conducted with a gamepad or controller.
Controllers are smoother to operate, and the player can make more elaborate moves. Also, the response is faster, which is important in shooting or action games. So, if you have a controller compatible with PC games that are third person perspective – try ditching a mouse-keyboard combo for a gamepad, joystick, steering wheel or Xbox, PS4 controller (depending on the genre) and see if it suits you better.
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What About Specific Genres?
When it comes to games, some genres fit a mouse and keyboard usage, others are working better with controllers. It all depends on how many and how complicated motions are required in the game. Generally speaking, racing, sport, combat and action games are perfect for controllers. Racing is much better when the player has a steering wheel or at least a gamepad. Moves are smoother; thus, the responsiveness – with a mouse and keyboard it can be harder to achieve. Driving is simply easier with a controller.
When it comes to sports games, like football or basketball, shooting and aiming for a goal is much more straightforward with a controller. Also, you can do some advanced moves with the ball. There are more keys on a keyboard than buttons on a pad, but when a motion requires pressing a few buttons or moving a joystick together with pressing buttons, controllers are irreplaceable.
Fighting games work fine with a keyboard-mouse set, but controllers offer easier operation as buttons are closely located – when deadly fights required complicated moves, a gamepad beats traditional PC equipment. Similar case is with games of the action genre, when lots of fighting motions take place.
As for RPG games, it depends on the specific title. Some RPGs are hard to play with a gamepad or other controller, as there are so many actions that there simply isn’t enough buttons. With a keyboard, options broaden. When it comes to other RPGs – simpler, with light and limited number of features, controllers might be of use. In some of them, a controller can make playing simpler, which is not necessarily a good thing for many players—you may like the struggle in your playing experience.
What genres are bad for or can’t be played with a controller?
Strategy – turn based or real time, adventure, first person shooting games. It is also worth to mention that older games – the trend to come back to playing some retro, classic stuff is going strong – work good with a controller. Another fact that can’t be missed: some games were specifically designed for controller support, others were created with a mouse and keyboard in mind.
Better check beforehand if a specific game is at the peak of its abilities and offers the most features when played with a controller or a keyboard-mouse combo. If such information is not available, decide what equipment should be used based on the genre of the game.
12 PC Games That Are Better to Play with a Controller
If you are an ardent fan of a gamepad, joystick or Xbox and PS4 controllers and are looking for some the greatest games out there to try with your favorite equipment, we got your back. Here comes the list of games to play
|Why you need a controller?||keyboard and mouse combo cannot keep up with the pace|
The action game that was specifically designed for a controller. Its producers recommend using it with a controller, as this allows taking advantage of all the features of this game of extravagant fights, supernatural operations, fantastic world.
Bayonetta is the last one standing of the witch clan that comes back to life after hundreds of years, which has vast repercussions of a deadly and catastrophic character. Fighting and unleashing some cruel attacks and graceful motions works better with a use of a controller.
Grand Theft Auto V
|Why you need a controller?||immersing oneself in the world works better with a controller|
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 and focus on the world instead 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. Where will this crime story go?
Tomb Raider (2013)
|Developer||Eidos, Feral Interactive, more..|
|Why you need a controller?||Quick-Time Events are easier to complete, and melee combat feels better with a controller|
An oldie that never gets old; an action game series known to almost every player. Packed with elaborate moves, combat, and an intense storyline, it is much more enjoyable while using a controller like a pad. It is also a third person perspective game.
This instalment of the long-running franchise puts us in the shoe of a younger Lara than most of us are used to. A lass just out of university, pursuing the truth about her father’s research to a mysterious island. There are many quick-time events, failing which means Lara fails to survive in an often oddly graphic way.
Middle Earth: Shadow of War
|Why you need a controller?||combat is smoother and more manageable on a gamepad|
Another action game. It is based on Tolkien’s fantasy books and offers an adventure in a dark and dangerous world that is overshadowed by demonic powers. The player prepares for battles, fights enemies, conquers lands, changes the surroundings, engages in combat, and much more. All this in third person mode, which is much simpler to operate with a controller.
Much like the Batman: Arkham… and the Assassin’s Creed franchises from which they take gameplay inspiration, the Shadow of… games work much better if you have more control over the direction your character is facing, and you can easily press several button without breaking your fingers.
Dark Souls III
|Why you need a controller?||more precise control and better response time|
This is an RPG game but not very complex – though full of action. 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 the Soulsborne (and the later Sekiro, which doesn’t have a syllable in the established portmanteau) games, but seeing how the Dark Souls are to thank to this, let’s make an example of Dark Souls III.
You will find it requiring much less effort to control your motions in this dark fantasy world, especially pacing of your walk or sneaking to attack enemies, when you will have a controller in your hands. The gameplay includes scrutinizing your character’s fighting style, fighting bosses, using different weapons, collecting items and more.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
|Why you need a controller?||better control across the board|
One of the best-known game franchises, the newest title offers players an adventure as the legendary hero who sails, fights battles, and discovers the rich world of ancient Greece.
As in every other part of the series, it is better to take on this fascinating path of myths, hidden treasures, and epic naval and land battles during the Peloponnesian War with a controller.
Thanks to this, your motions would be smoother, and you will have better chances in fights. However, on Steam the game comes with partial controller support, which means a mouse or keyboard would be required at some point.
Mortal Kombat XL
|Why you need a controller?||keyboards aren’t designed to handle fighting games|
Known as one of the best games in fighting genre, Mortal Kombat offers brutal, spectacular duels and 2v2, and 33 characters, each with various traits. The players have also the ability to fight against online competitors, being part of a faction war.
Engaging in violent combat, whether against AI rival or other players, requires quick and smooth moves – playing with a gamepad suits this game much better than a mouse and keyboard set.
|Mortal Combat XL includes|
Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
|Developer||Edmnd McMillen, Florian Himsl|
|Why you need a controller?||Gamepad’s type of precision works great with this kind of gameplay|
The perfect example of a Rogue-Like game, filled with adventures and actions, that works better with a controller. The storyline follows a protagonist who must escape from his own mother.
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 controller a try. You might be pleasantly surprised
FIFA 18 & FIFA 19
|Release year:||2017, 2018|
|Why you need a controller?||fine direction control, and multi-button manoeuvres|
I guess no-one needs explanation on what this game is about as it is the best-known sport game available on the market that has legions of fans. FIFA 18, like other titles in the series, certainly can be played with a mouse-keyboard set.
That equipment will be enough for basic shooting and motions on the pitch. However, if you’re are a pro player and want to show some tricks like Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo do in the real world – better switch to a controller. With a gamepad it is much less difficult to run with the ball, aim at the goal, or fool the opponents with quick dribbling.
The Witcher 3
|Developer||CD Projekt RED|
|Why you need a controller?||The combat system and Geralt’s movement work great with a gamepad|
Following a storyline of Geralt of Rivia, a hunter of monsters and other creatures, this RPG is a wildly acclaimed game with millions of fans worldwide. It is filled with action, combat and drama. The third person perspective means moving the protagonist around and steering him during fights with monsters is handier with a controller.
Regardless of the mechanics of movement and combat, The Witcher 3’s control scheme is simple enough to be easily mappable to a gamepad. Changing and using signs, for instance, is quite simple and convenient.
|Why you need a controller?||Aerial manoeuvres are easier to perform|
This 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.
Street Fighter V
|Why you need a controller?||Like all fighting games, it was designed with a controller in mind|
A standard fighting game, though definitely not a simple one. It takes more than hitting a key on a keyboard – some moves requires complicated combo of buttons.
A controller is a must if you want to show some more sophisticated motions, enjoy the fights better and be able to win jousts. Especially making a rotation or partial circle is almost impossible with a keyboard – a gamepad offers such option.
With the arrival of the tag-team mechanics, advanced reversal, counters, or all kinds of upgraded attacks, it’s simply easier to figure them out by playing on a gamepad. Unless you have a good mechanical keyboard just get a gamepad, your experience will improve.
Twin sticks of success
That concludes our list of games, which are great on their own, but get even better if you have a gamepad to play them. The omnidirectional analogue sticks, the face- and shoulder buttons.