Login | Signup

OPINION | Titanfall feels better with a controller - don't knock it 'til you've tried it

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
PC, PC games, Titanfall, Xbox One, Xbox One Games

OPINION | Titanfall feels better with a controller - don't knock it 'til you've tried it

I'm currently putting the finishing touches to our Titanfall review (spoiler alert: it's really rather good), but during the hours I spent scampering over rooftops, rodeo-riding massive robots and pulverising squads of panicky grunts with a titanic war machine, I kept feeling that something wasn't quite right. Something just felt... off... somehow, and I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

Then I plugged in a wired Xbox 360 controller and everything suddenly clicked. It's hard to put a personal feeling like this into words, but I'm going to try - because I'd urge you to try when the anticipated shooter launches tomorrow.

OPINION | Titanfall feels better with a controller - don't knock it 'til you've tried it

Before we begin, I suppose I should make a few things very clear - in the interests of full disclosure and ensuring that overly precious fanboys don't get the wrong end of the stick. Titanfall works perfectly well using a mouse and keyboard. Of course it does. There's no denying the extra precision that a mouse affords, especially when hanging back and sniping from rooftops, while the well-oiled gameplay is fantastic fun regardless of your control scheme of choice.

I'm also not suggesting that the Xbox One version is superior to its PC counterpart on the merits of its peripheral... because I'm actually talking about the PC version here. All clear? Good. Then let's commence.

Titanfall is eminently playable using a mouse and keyboard, which is testament to Respawn's undeniable skill, but it's specifically designed around a controller. Like Modern Warfare, Titanfall is very much a console game, built to embrace the more limited inputs of a gamepad's triggers, face buttons and D-Pad. Everything is streamlined to perfection, from weapon selection to movement and even the big friendly menus (that annoyingly lack drag and drop functionality for Burn Cards), putting all of the commands directly under your finger and thumbtips. Regardless, setting melee to 'C' was a horrible idea - rebind that ASAP before your first match.

In short-to-mid ranged combat, Titanfall's bread and butter, the spot-on sensitivity allowed me a range of motion that often felt like an advantage against my opponents. Despite favouring mouse/keyboard in every other PC shooter, from Planetside 2 to Quake and Battlefield 4, I found that Titanfall just feels that little bit more at home with a gamepad in hand.

OPINION | Titanfall feels better with a controller - don't knock it 'til you've tried it

The all-important parkour also feels much more natural on a controller. It's a platformer in many ways, using familiar elements we've grown used to over years of console gaming. Double jumps. Wall runs and grabs. The slick and fluid mechanics are designed to be generous and effortless to chain together, and hang together so brilliantly on a gamepad, like any great platformer does. Again, it's hard to describe, but for me it's a little like trying to play Rayman Legends with the arrow keys; perfectly possible yet not entirely ideal.

And then we have to talk vibration. The only thing more satisfying than watching your Titan thunder through the atmosphere and slam into the ground, or shredding SPECTRE squads to pieces with a machine gun the size of a family sedan, is feeling it too. Trust me on this.

OPINION | Titanfall feels better with a controller - don't knock it 'til you've tried it

The best thing is that you don't have to choose one or the other. If you have a wired Xbox 360 controller or even a Dualshock 4, you can plug it in and experiment with both over the course of the same match, switching between the two to suit your combat role. On the rare occasions I use a Longbow sniper rifle, I put the pad to one side during the respawn process and grab for the mouse, then leap back onto my controller after swapping to my preferred silenced carbine loadout.

At the end of the day, I'd just urge you to try it. Have a go. See what you think. And once you do, get back here and blast my opinion wide open if you want to. Our full review will be going live very soon - but until then, don't knock it 'til you've tried it.

That said, if you've played the beta, get involved right now and tell me what you think!

Add a comment7 comments
Late  Mar. 13, 2014 at 16:37

Which interface were you using when you fell off the side of the evac building instead of boarding the ship, in yesterday's "bite"? :p

imdurc  Mar. 13, 2014 at 16:52

This is the second time I've seen someone say this about Titanfall on the PC. A couple of weeks ago, I read someone say it was better to play the PC version with a 360 pad. But I put that down to his personal choice/feel as, no-one else agreed with that idea. But now I see it mentioned here on Dealspwn.

And for that alone, I'm very curious to try it now.

JonLester  Mar. 13, 2014 at 18:51

@Late: mouse/keyboard, interestingly enough. The parkour seems -- to me -- to be much more fluid and natural on a controller.

Only a shoddy workman blames his tools, though, so bear in mind that human error plays a much greater role in my many Titanfails. I might actually slap a quick montage together.

@imdurc: It's very much a personal thing, but I'd suggest giving it a go and seeing what you make of it. Using a controller against mouse and keyboard players is usually suicidal in most PC shooters, but not so here - at least in my experience.

Let us know how you get on!

Last edited by JonLester, Mar. 13, 2014 at 18:55
MattGardner  Mar. 14, 2014 at 00:34

Tried out controller myself for the first time tonight. The Smart Pistol immediately made no sense at all and the carbine I loathed before became my new best friend. I also located a hitherto undiscovered capacity for mowing down pilots. Feel my awareness is better with M&KB but, man, using a controller made me better! On PC!

Anarchist  Mar. 14, 2014 at 14:20

Tried out controller myself for the first time tonight. The Smart Pistol immediately made no sense at all and the carbine I loathed before became my new best friend. I also located a hitherto undiscovered capacity for mowing down pilots. Feel my awareness is better with M&KB but, man, using a controller made me better! On PC!


Well, theres a statement for the books! I never thought I would ever hear that said about an FPS on PC!

automat  Mar. 17, 2014 at 17:09

Are you sure it's not the aim assistance that clicked? :)

JonLester  Mar. 17, 2014 at 19:02

@automat: Perhaps! ;) I can't rule it out. Though I generally don't like aim assist on PC, and I still use mouse/keyboard for the Hemlock and Kraber, what little of it there is feels subtle and natural.

Last edited by JonLester, Mar. 17, 2014 at 19:03

Email Address:

You don't need an account to comment. Just enter your email address. We'll keep it private.