Home > Game Design > A Controller Full of Fail

A Controller Full of Fail

I’m playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution right now, and enjoying it quite a bit. There is one thing annoying me, though.

Deus Ex has a wide mix of gameplay modes, including casual conversation, stealth, and all-out gun battles. The controls are the same for every mode, which is good. Unfortunately, this creates a situation where half the buttons on the controller are ‘instant fail’ buttons. Whether it’s accidentally tossing a grenade, pulling out my gun and firing, or knocking out a civilian, a single errant button press can mean a ride on the fast train back to my last auto-save.

This ties into another pet peeve of mine – that we haven’t quite got a standardized control scheme for a lot of gaming genres. Sometimes L1 is aim, sometimes it’s L2. For Deus Ex, cover is L1 and aim is R3. Crouch? Circle in Borderlands, L3 in Deus Ex. Both control schemes are well-suited for their respective games, but when I go back and forth between them, I end up doing things like throwing a land mine at the feet of the cop I wanted to talk to. And that’s never a good way to make friends.

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