A keyboard & mouse configuration is suited for many PC games, yet it is intuitive to use a controller with specific genres such as sports games, racing titles, & fighters. There are pros & cons to both control schemes, depending on what style of game is being played at a given time.
While first-person shooters & real-time strategy are nearly always superior when played with a keyboard & mouse, other genres can be a bit more unpredictable. Generally speaking, computer owners can get by without a gamepad, but some titles might suffer because of it. What are the best controller games for PC?
Updated on November 26, 2022 by Mark Sammut: Nowadays, most Enormous games Approach out on both PC & consoles. Except for Nintendo’s exclusives, long gone are the days when JRPGs or 3D platformers stuck solely to PlayStation or Xbox, & this change should be celebrated. However, this also means that PC controllers are steadily growing in importance. What are the best PC games to play with a gamepad?
22/22 WWE 2K22
3D fighting games & controllers go h&-in-h&, something that WWE 2K22 showcases. Compared to a few of its predecessors, the 2022 wrestling game uses a simplified control scheme that provides an experience that slots somewhere in the middle between arcade & simulation.
All the game’s inputs are perfectly designed for an Xbox controller, while the freedom afforded by a thumbstick allows for improved mobility during matches. Keyboard & mouse users will almost definitely need to swap out WWE 2K22‘s default bindings.
21/22 Forza Horizon 5
Most racing games generally play better with a controller than a keyboard or mouse. For racing sims, a quality wheel is the way to go, but the same doesn’t always hold true for arcade racers. When driving the fastest cars in Forza Horizon 5, players might find themselves most comfortable with a controller as the vehicles tend to be easier to direct.
Forza Horizon 5 is a relaxing game with quite a bit of downtime as players will spend a significant amount of time driving through Mexico while admiring the vistas. A controller fits the tone & pacing of the game well since it allows users to sit back & chill more readily.
20/22 Persona 5 Strikers
Persona 5 Royal is now available on PC, & while not necessarily superior with a keyboard & mouse, the turn-based JRPG is fine without a controller. The same cannot be said for that game’s spin-off, Persona 5 Strikers. The hack & slash title’s K+M setup leaves something to be desired, & users might need to play around with the bindings to find a system that works for them.
With a controller, Persona 5 Strikers is ready to go right out of the box. The battle system requires quick reflexes but not necessarily pinpoint precision, making it a perfect fit for a gamepad.
19/22 Yakuza 0
Yakuza 0 doesn’t hide the fact that it is meant to be experienced with a controller as one of the first things the game does is throw out a disclaimer suggesting as much. A keyboard & mouse set-up should work fine for exploration & most of the mini-games, but controllers are better suited to the beat-’em-up combat.
Yakuza 0 is a delightfully quirky open-world game with a gripping storyline that serves as a strong introduction to this long-running series. So, pick up a controller & step into Kiryu & Majima’s shoes.
18/22 Psychonauts 2
Psychonauts 2 can be seen as a st&-in for platformers in general, particularly 3D ones. For the most part, these games benefit from the more precise movement provided by an analog stick, while they are usually designed to utilize a controller’s buttons as intuitively as possible.
Psychonauts 2 goes one step further by including a combat system that requires quick reflexes & the incorporation of a Psi-Powers wheel, both things that feel better through a controller.
17/22 Final Fantasy 7 Remake
Released on PC in December 2021, Final Fantasy 7 Remake is a polarizing port. Putting aside its other issues, the JRPG works well enough with a keyboard & mouse, in the sense that there isn’t input delay & the characters feel responsive. However, reaching this level requires remapping the keyboard & mouse layout since the default settings are quite unusual. Permitting someone is willing to take a few minutes to remap the buttons, FF7 Remake is entirely manageable without a controller.
That said, it is still slightly better with a controller. The action RPG was designed for the PS4, & it shows. The combat is tailor-made for a controller’s button layout, & it just feels “right.” Most JRPGs that are ported to PC are usually better with a controller.
16/22 Rocket League
With enough practice, any person can master a control scheme; however, some require fewer hours. Rocket League is fine with a keyboard & mouse or a controller, but most people tend to lean towards the latter due to the game’s legacy as a console title.
Beyond that, Rocket League‘s driving is unlocked entirely with a controller as, ultimately, a keyboard can’t quite match an analog stick’s 360° freedom. The controller is also superior for aerial play, which is a pretty Enormous deal in Rocket League.
15/22 Monster Hunter World (Melee)
When playing Monster Hunter World on PC, the best control option is dependent on a character’s build. If playing as a ranged fighter, the keyboard & mouse are generally better since they provide more precise aiming. Conversely, the controller shines when utilizing a melee build, particularly when it comes to dishing out combos.
Monster Hunter started life on consoles, & this legacy influenced World. These are games designed with controllers in mind, although Capcom did a satisfactory job of making the keyboard & mouse a valid alternative.
The same holds true for Monster Hunter Rise.
In another case that is somewhat situational, Hades is better with a controller most of the time. Certain weapons (Adamant Rail) are much better with a keyboard & mouse, especially for those players who wish to remove auto-aim.
When not using ranged weapons in Hades, a controller is the most reliable way to go. Movement & reflexes are critical for survival in Supergiant’s game, & Zagreus’ odds go up when utilizing a controller. Luckily, Hades is awesome with either control method.
Playing Strider with a keyboard & mouse just feels weird. There’s no other way to describe it. This side-scrolling action platformer was built head-to-toe on the premise of the classic Capcom arcade title, & it definitely shows up in the gameplay. Core fundamentals are still at play, & that means using a controller to enjoy them.
The running, jumping, & slashing are fast-paced & sometimes require quick reflexes in order to avoid damage &/or death. With a keyboard & mouse, too many things can go wrong too quickly. It’s best to stick to a controller where reflex & muscle memory are able to keep up with what’s happening on screen.
12/22 Sonic Generations
More often than not, platformers shine the brightest when joysticks are involved. It doesn’t matter if it is a 2D or 3D platformer, a game from this genre should ideally be played with a controller.
Sonic Generations is a prime example of the importance of controllers. While the game is just about playable with a keyboard & mouse, the experience is nowhere near as enjoyable. Sonic Generations is harder on a keyboard & mouse, leading to more mistakes to be made that hamper Sonic’s speed. Just pick up a controller to keep around for whenever it is time to play a platformer.
11/22 Batman: Arkham Series
While playing the Arkham games with a keyboard & mouse is possible (& perfectly fine), it does fall short of a controller in a few key areas. The game relies heavily on auto-targeting mechanics which makes controllers a natural fit for the gameplay, but that’s not all.
Where a controller truly shines is during combat sequences. The free-flowing fighting system relies on memory & reflexes best served by the close-knit components of a controller. It’s a bit harder to pull off complex & elongated combos with a keyboard & mouse.
10/22 Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow
The fast-paced nature of Lords of Shadow means that it’s better suited to gamepad control as opposed to a keyboard & mouse. Since it isn’t a game where combat consists of gunplay & precise aiming, the player can hack & slash at their leisure.
Plus, Castlevania has a long & storied past primarily on consoles where controllers were the method of play. This means the franchise has largely evolved behind that style, even as it branches outward into 3D territory.
9/22 Halo: Spartan Assault & Spartan Strike
Having Halo: The Master Chief Collection & Halo Infinite on PC has been a blessing, if for no other reason than for gamers to take advantage of the coveted mouse & keyboard combo. However, other games in the franchise fare much better on the controller, including both Spartan Assault & Strike.
The top-down isometric view of the game means precision shooting isn’t nearly as necessary as it would be in an FPS title. A controller is a perfect mechanism by which to control the character while taking advantage of its excellent move/shoot system. While a keyboard/mouse combo isn’t the worst thing in the world, it’s also not as good as a gamepad.
8/22 Streets Of Rage 4
This one should Approach as no surprise. After all, the Streets of Rage franchise started out on the 16-Bit Sega Genesis console way back in the 1990s, & there weren’t very many beat ’em up games of its kind at the time. Streets of Rage 4 has proven to be an excellent follow-up to the original trilogy.
Not only does it perfectly capture the feel of the original games, but it introduces several new control mechanics to spice things up. Playing the game on a keyboard is simply not enjoyable, nor should it be. Plug in a controller & experience classic button-mashing mayhem the way it was intended.
7/22 Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered
Most of the PlayStation games that have made their way to PC are superior with a controller. That’s not to say they are unplayable with a keyboard & mouse, but it is obvious these are controller games that have been adapted for those inputs. Out of all the ports, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered might benefit the most from the use of a gamepad.
Or, to be more exact, players gain nothing from using a keyboard & mouse. In the case of Horizon Zero Dawn & Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, the mouse provides more precise aiming while using a bow or a gun respectively. There is nothing like that in Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered.
As one of the most difficult 2D games of the last decade, Cuphead is a challenge because of its speedy animations & grueling boss fights. Inspired by 1930s cartoons, this run-&-gun game is unforgiving, which is part of its charm.
This game may have an antiquated appearance, but it does use modern controls. Parrying, dashing, locking in place, & using Super Art have assigned buttons. Cuphead‘s controls aren’t that complicated, & they feel more natural on a gamepad.
5/22 Rise Of The Tomb Raider
Using WSAD on a keyboard is inferior to a controller’s thumbstick when playing Rise of the Tomb Raider. The game lets the player perform basic movements for swimming, wall climbing, & walking/running. There isn’t a wide variety of spells or weapons to switch between.
Weapons like the bow, shotgun, rifle, & pistol are easily equipped with the directional pad (D-Pad). A keyboard & mouse also work, but many users prefer the controller for its comfort & accessibility.
4/22 Dark Souls
In a difficult game like Dark Souls, players need the optimal peripheral device. Depending on what they are most proficient at using, Dark Souls can be better with a keyboard & mouse or a controller. This is not an MMORPG that requires key bindings or macros. There are enough buttons on the controller for a seamless playthrough.
That said, FromSoftware’s titles have historically prioritized controller setups, with some PC ports failing to include keyboard & mouse button prompts. These are generally controller games, although Elden Ring was a step in the right direction for keyboard & mouse users.
It could be said that most sports video games play better with a controller. A keyboard & mouse is awkward unless someone seldom picks up a controller. FIFA supports most major gamepads & controllers, however, the franchise’s PC releases have a history of not being directly compatible with PlayStation’s DualShock.
The takeaway is that FIFA 20 doesn’t require precise mouse movements, & it can feel counterintuitive to use a keyboard & mouse.
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