Control Yourself

A Look at FPS Controls

I was playing Rainbow Six Vegas 2 the other day, and in the middle of a gunfight I ran out of ammo. So naturally I switched to my night vision (which blinded me as I was fighting outside), crouched and back away slowly. Obviously this caused me a huge disadvantage and as such I died. This may cause you to think that I’m terrible at FPS games, and while that may be true, it’s not the main reason I took these actions.

You see, earlier in the day I had been playing Battlefield: Bad Company and if I had pressed the same buttons in this game as I had in Rainbow, I might have survived. The issue here is the different control schemes between the games. Pressing the same buttons as I had in Rainbow in Bad Company would have caused me to switch weapon and then sprint. If I had been playing Call of Duty 4 I would have thrown a grenade and then sprinted and if I had been playing Halo 3 this combination would have caused me to attempt to reload the empty weapon, before crouching.

Battlefield: Bad Company screenshot

I had a look at the default control schemes for each of these four games and found that, aside from the obvious move and look being assigned to the left and right analogue sticks, and having fire assigned to the right trigger, there was no button which performed the same function in all of the games.

I’m well aware that each game needs different controls as they each have different features, but surely common functions such as melee, sprint and switch weapon could be standardised across most games? I know that some games do allow you to change the control scheme, but there are usually a limited number of options and they only allow major changes, rather than letting you change a single button here or there.
Rainbow Six Vegas 2 weapons menu

Personally I prefer the controls used in Bad Company and Call of Duty for sprinting, and Bad Company’s simple system for changing weapons is far easier than that of Rainbow. One of the most annoying things I find about Rainbow is the grenades/gadgets. My normal outfitting contains frag and incendiary grenades, however, if I run out of my primary grenades Rainbow doesn’t automatically switch to my secondary grenades. Instead I have to hold down ‘Y’ until the menu comes up, and then switch the grenades using the (terrible) d-pad.

So is it just me being rubbish at adjusting to control schemes, or have you encountered this problem too? Should there be a standard layout for basic controls? What’s the best control scheme you’ve encountered in an FPS so far?

Tags: , , ,

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 at 10:12 and is filed under Gaming. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.




I agree, but I doubt any agreement will rise as to what button should be used for what function. I just stick to playing shooters on the PC, and re-map to keys for all my games so they are similar, generally with the only difference being if a game has lean controls or not.

It would be nice to see MS/Sony come out with a control scheme design guide or something, but they’d never have the balls to make it mandatory, and so it wouldn’t really mean much.

Rockers Delight


I agree. It gets incredibly frustrating when you’ve got a couple of shooters on the go (for a while I was playing a lot of CoD4 online as well as Rainbow). It takes time for you to adjust to those particular controls, and when you jump to another shooter your brain becomes scrambled again leaving you to completely rewire it.

I do, however, prefer the button used for sprinting in Rainbow. Clicking down the left stick in CoD4 means your finger gets really sore if you’re doing it continuously, a la Mile High on Veteran.



Dan, I guess it is a bit much to hope that there will be any kind of standardisation across these games, but it would be nice. I haven’t done much PC gaming since leaving Loughborough; perhaps more customisation options for controls in console games is the answer?

Rockers Delight, I think the main reason I prefer the location of sprint in Bad Company and CoD4 is because I prefer using LB for using alternate grenades/items rather than having to use Rainbow’s awkward weapons menu.

Leave a Reply