A keyboard and 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, and fighters. There are pros and cons to both control schemes, depending on what style of game is being played at a given time.
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There aren't any first-person shooter (FPS) games on this list, since they are (arguably) easier with a keyboard and mouse. That being said, we have updated this list with 5 more titles that are better played using a controller, as opposed to a mouse and keyboard.
Updated on December 24, 2021 by Mark Sammut: Once upon a time, console games, especially those hailing from Japan, stayed on their home devices. As the years rolled by and publishers realized that maybe they shouldn't ignore a huge potential audience, PC ports started to become commonplace. Nowadays, it isn't that unusual for a JRPG or even a Sony exclusive to make its way to PC. While these games usually implement keyboard and mouse support, that doesn't mean they provide an equal experience to a pair of joysticks. In some cases, a PC game is just a controller game.
23/23 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 and pacing of the game well since it allows users to sit back and chill more readily.
22/23 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 and mouse set-up should work fine for exploration and 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 and step into Kiryu and Majima's shoes.
21/23 Psychonauts 2
Psychonauts 2 can be seen as a stand-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 usually are designed to utilize a controller's buttons as intuitively as possible.
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Psychonauts 2 goes one step further by including a combat system that requires quick reflexes and the incorporation of a Psi-Powers wheel, both things that feel better through a controller.
20/23 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 and mouse, in the sense that there isn't input delay and the characters feel responsive. However, reaching this level requires remapping the keyboard and mouse layout since the default settings are quite unusual and unintuitive. 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, and it shows. The combat is tailor-made for a controller's button layout, and it just feels "right." Most JRPGs that are ported to PC are usually better with a controller.
19/23 Rocket League
With enough practice, any person can master a control scheme; however, some require fewer hours. Rocket League is fine with a keyboard and 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 big deal in Rocket League.
18/23 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 and 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, and this legacy influences World. These are games designed with controllers in mind, although Capcom did a good job of making the keyboard and mouse a valid alternative.
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 and mouse, especially for those players who wish to remove auto-aim.
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When not using ranged weapons in Hades, a controller is the most reliable way to go. Movement and reflexes are critical for survival in Supergiant's game, and Zagreus' odds go up when utilizing a controller. Luckily, Hades is awesome with either control method.
Playing Strider with a keyboard and 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, and it definitely shows up in the gameplay. Core fundamentals are still at play, and that means using a controller to enjoy them.
The running, jumping, and slashing are fast-paced and sometimes require quick reflexes in order to avoid damage and/or death. With a keyboard and mouse, too many things can go wrong too quickly. It's best to stick to a controller where reflex and muscle memory are able to keep up with what's happening on screen.
15/23 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 and mouse, the experience is nowhere near as enjoyable. Sonic Generations is harder on a keyboard and 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.
14/23 Batman: Arkham Series
While playing the Arkham games with a keyboard and mouse is possible (and 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 and reflexes best served by the close-knit components of a controller. It's a bit harder to pull off complex and elongated combos with a keyboard and mouse.
13/23 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 and mouse. Since it isn't a game where combat consists of gunplay and precise aiming, the player can hack and slash at their leisure.
Plus, Castlevania has a long and 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.
12/23 Halo: Spartan Assault & Spartan Strike
Having Halo: The Master Chief Collection on PC has been a blessing, if for no other reason than for gamers to take advantage of the coveted mouse and keyboard combo. However, other games in the franchise fare much better on the controller, including both Spartan Assault and 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 the 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.
11/23 Streets Of Rage 4
This one should come as no surprise. After all, the Streets of Rage franchise started out on the 16-Bit Sega Genesis console way back in the 1990s, and there weren't very many PC fighting 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 and experience classic button-mashing mayhem the way it was intended.
10/23 Any Assassin's Creed Game
The Assassin's Creed franchise isn't known for its sophisticated control design. A keyboard and mouse are unnecessary when playing a game series like Assassin's Creed. It's neither a first-person shooter nor is it a role-playing game with complicated controls. Combat is simple, and many of the missions involve basic tasks like trailing or assassinating. After trying both peripherals, it becomes abundantly clear that Assassin's Creed is best played with a controller.
9/23 Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War
In a game that requires precise movements for stealth, controls have to be its strong suit. It's a shame that fighting someone near a wall creates camera issues that take away from the game. Middle-earth: Shadow Of War's controls are less complex than Batman: Arkham Knight, but more complex than Batman: Arkham City.
Putting the bow's aiming aside, a controller undoubtedly works better for Middle-earth: Shadow Of War.
8/23 Grand Theft Auto 5
It is debatable which peripheral is better suited for Grand Theft Auto 5 because it depends on the task at hand. When shooting and driving at the same time, the feel of the keyboard and mouse is superior.
If a player is driving a vehicle or flying an aircraft, however, a gamepad is the better peripheral for GTA 5. In most cases, the controller beats the keyboard and mouse, unless someone is playing with certain mods.
7/23 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, and walking/running. There isn't a wide variety of spells or weapons to switch between.
Weapons like the bow, shotgun, rifle, and pistol are easily equipped with the directional pad (D-Pad). A keyboard and mouse also work, but many users prefer the controller for its comfort and accessibility.
6/23 Dark Souls
In a difficult game like Dark Souls, you need the optimal peripheral device. Depending on what you're most proficient at using, Dark Souls can be better with a keyboard and 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 (excluding all the times you die).
If you're like MezzPlays, you beat Dark Souls using a Guitar Hero controller without taking damage! Don't blame Dark Souls because of your controller, but rather its painstaking difficulty.
It could be said that most sports video games play better with a controller. A keyboard and mouse is awkward unless someone seldom picks up a controller. FIFA supports most major gamepads and 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, and it can feel counterintuitive to use a keyboard and mouse.
As one of the most difficult 2D games in the history of the PC, Cuphead is a challenge because of its speedy animations and grueling boss fights. You'll be dumbfounded by this 193os inspired run and gun video game.
We know Cuphead is difficult, but which is better; a keyboard and mouse or controller? This game may have an antiquated appearance, but it does use modern controls. Parrying, dashing, locking in place, and using Super Art have assigned buttons. Cuphead's controls aren't that complicated, so it doesn't require a keyboard and mouse. It boils down to preference for this game.
What games are better to play with a controller? ›
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, because even a simple analog stick offers gradual control over speed or turn angle.Is playing with a controller on PC better? ›
Controllers may have fewer input options to work with, but those inputs are sometimes more precise than the binary input of a keyboard. Analog joysticks may lack the precision and speed of a mouse, but if you press forward slightly the character might walk, and if you push harder, they might run.Do most PC gamers use a controller? ›
In the Steam Year of Review for 2021, some interesting data regarding controllers was shared. According to Steam, as noted previously, the vast majority of PC gamers are opting to use a keyboard and mouse rather than a game controller. That's not to say that they don't own game controllers, though.What PC games have full controller support? ›
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- Rocket League.
- Mortal Kombat 11.
- Forza Horizon 5.
- FIFA 22.
- Hollow Knight.
- Street Fighter V.