From the early days of first and third-person shooters, a keyboard and mouse has widely been acknowledged as the ultimate way to play. Precision is far finer and you are able to react much quicker than you would with a controller, which is why you seldom see the best of the best in their respective games pick up the sticks. However, this isn’t to say that you should overlook the controller completely — with a little bit of practice with your aim, you could potentially frag out with the best of them.
Compared to a KB+M setup, there aren’t that many options out there to help your controller aim, but as with all things, the best thing to do is to simply practice and practice and then practice some more. A good aim is not the be all and end all either: competitive shooters are as much about positional awareness and playing smart as they are going for a tonne of frags. Don’t overlook the rest and focus solely on improving your aim.
However, there are a few simple tips to help your controller aim that anyone could follow. These won’t necessarily make you a god at the game, but should put you on the path towards having better controller aim. Remember: Shroud was put on this earth by Death himself so don’t expect to be able to replicate his sickening aiming talent in a hurry.
Kovaak’s FPS Aim Trainer is a renowned Steam “game” that allows you to practice your aim with a mouse and keyboard. With Overwhelmingly Positive reviews on Steam, it’s certainly helped a lot of PC players over the last couple of years, but what about the controller gang?
With a little bit of fiddling, you can even get Kovaak’s FPS Aim Trainer to work with your DualShock 4. All you need to do is buy the game and then download software called DS4Windows that allows you to replicate your controller and change its inputs to keyboard ones. There’s an incredible amount of customisation on offer with the software, which includes you even being able to change the sensitivity of the touchpad and macros.
As for Kovaak’s itself once you’re all configured, you will have to just keep fiddling until you find the right sensitivity for you. Once that’s done, Kovaak’s boasts an insane level of customisation for you to fiddle around with, including bots with changeable movement patterns and much, much more.
Kovaak’s is not something you use just once and then become an aim god. You have to regularly utilise it to keep your aim precise and well-tuned. Get your money’s worth (roughly $10) and use it regularly.
Change Your Sensitivity
Without fail, almost every shooter game played with a controller with have sensitivity settings that seem designed to be used by a refrigerator. They are slow, which is basically a handicap when most modern shooters are ridiculously quick.
To give yourself a better fighting chance, you should always fiddle with your sensitivity settings on a controller, likely by increasing it until the sticks feel much more fluid. If you’re playing on high sens, there’s no doubting that the adjustment period may be rocky. Therefore, if you have the option, try jumping into practice modes or the single-player component of a multiplayer game first.
Remember, no two players will have the same sensitivity preferences. It’s all about what feels right for you, and what helps you to frag out the most. We here generally like high sensitivity for our competitive shooters, though there are a couple of us that prefer the precision offered with a slower turn.
Watch Your Dead Zones
If you don’t have expendable money to change your controller all the time, you might have to deal with dreaded drifting, which is when your aged controller gets its wires crossed and starts thinking you have made a movement input that you haven’t due to worn sticks. Signs of a worn controller are sticks that do not return to their central position after input.
To counteract this, a lot of modern shooters have something called a dead zone setting, which defines how much your cursor etc moves based on the force of your thumb movement. If your controller is completely fine and brand new, you will probably be best with a small dead zone to allow you quicker, precise movements. However, making your dead zone teeny tiny can cause issues of its own, like drift.
If your controller has seen better days, a larger dead zone eliminates some of the frustration with drifting and ghosting. It’s worth mentioning, however, that a large dead zone may not be responsive enough for lightning fast gameplay. That being said, it should work okay if you’re just waiting to change to a new controller
Utilise Response Curve Where Possible
Respawn (along with id) have always made their FPS games feel superbly fluid on a controller, and that’s because they try to cater to both KB&M and controller players equally. Apex Legends is a great example of that thanks to its response curve setting.
Apex gives you five different response curves when playing with a controller: Classic, Steady, Fine Aim, High Velocity, and Linear.
Of all of these, Fine Aim is the one most preferred by those who are very serious about the game. Response curve is all about how quickly your sticks reach maximum sensitivity after your input, so selecting Fine Aim gives you precious milliseconds with which to better line up your aim.
However, changing the response curve can feel like quite the drastic change if you have been using the default settings for a long time. For that reason, we highly recommend that you jump into Apex’s bare bones training to weigh it up and practice before you commit.
While pretty uncommon, expect more and more competitive shooters to adopt response curves as we move into the next generation to allow controller aim to have even more customisation.
Miscellaneous Controller Aim Tips
– A pricier controller does not mean better aim. Though the likes of SCUF may be cost far more than the typical controller price, this does not mean you will instantly be able to fire off headshots. Always be wary of a higher price tag with controllers.
– Optimise your reflexes by living well. Studies show that not sleeping or eating well can really impact your reflexes, which translates to sluggishness in competitive gaming. If you really want to succeed with gaming, be stricter with yourself.
– Move your character. A simple tip, but sometimes when it comes to controller aiming, the best (and most comfortable way) to be more accurate is to move your cursor with the right stick to line up the shot before using the left stick to then line up your character.
– Don’t turn off aim assist. You are going to be in for a bad time.
– Practice. An utterly redundant tip, sure, but don’t start a new competitive shooter and get mad when you aren’t the best immediately. Work on positioning, map awareness, and also gun skill and you will gradually get better.