Up For Debate - Fallout 4 Mouse And Keyboard Versus Gamepad

Written by Jon Sutton on Wed, Nov 11, 2015 4:00 PM
System Requirements Optimum 1080p PC Build Low vs Ultra Screenshots GPU Performance Chart CPU List That Meet System Requirements GPU List That Meet System Requirements

I had a chat with Felix this morning about Fallout 4, which has already occupied a huge chunk of my life, and I said aiming was sometimes a bit difficult with the gamepad. To which Felix was pretty incredulous I was using a controller at all, particularly for a PC-focused series like Fallout.

In truth, it’s how I do the vast majority of my gaming these days. There’s nowhere decent for me to set up a desk, so comfy couch gaming it is. I didn’t even contemplate using a mouse & keyboard for Fallout 4, but logically you’d expect the PC-enamoured folks at Bethesda to make this the best setup.

My first impression when playing Fallout 4 was that this was a game built for gamepad control from the ground up, however. From the poor mouse support to the strange FOV and a UI geared to a controller, everything screamed console - and console controls - focused. Which is a little bit strange for a massive RPG like this which made its name on PC.

To put it to the test I abandoned ship and had a go with a mouse and keyboard. First things first, aiming is a damn sight easier on PC obviously. You can pop off more accurate shots and aim much quicker. Get VATS on the go however and there’s no discernable difference.

There are some oddities to the control layout though which it feels strange Bethesda overlooked. Primary to this is weapon switching. On a gamepad you can have three weapons assigned to each direction on the gamepad, like you can see when you assign them a favourite slot in your Pip-Boy. So tap left twice to get the second weapon, for example. This means I can have a big pile of weapons sorted into melee, ranged, explosive, etc. With M&KB I’ve got to try and remember where they’re assigned on the top row from 1-0. When I’m constantly switching them out this is a bit of a headache. It would certainly have been nice to use the scroll wheel to change weapons, but that feature is conspicuous by its absence.

Lastly there’s the design of the UI and the Pip-Boy. Look at the size of it and you can tell it’s been designed for someone who’s sat about 80 feet away, gawping at television screen. Everything’s massive and split off into bite-sized sections. Designed strictly for PC the Fallout 4 Pip-Boy features could have probably been crammed into one or two screens. Instead you’re constantly tabbing between menus, a feature basically designed for gamepad triggers.

Which leaves us with a quandary. Is Fallout 4 better on gamepad or keyboard & mouse? Has Bethesda sacrificed some UI functionality to cater for console players? Let us know what you think!

Which is better for Fallout 4?

Login or Register to join the debate

Rep
9
Offline
01:28 Nov-26-2015

Steam Controller :)

0
Rep
769
Offline
admin approved badge
11:57 Nov-13-2015

Thinking about football game with keyboard + mouse ?
Well, that's not a good idea. :D

1
Rep
4
Offline
11:23 Nov-13-2015

Cant believe someone is actually going for gamepad over M+K ahahahaha

0
Rep
7
Offline
16:37 Nov-13-2015

Personal preference there, mate. Not everyone likes being hunched over a desk while gaming. Especially with a game that's been controller optimized for consoles.

0
Rep
2
Offline
14:33 Nov-14-2015

I and my brothers like to use PC resting on our beds with KB/M.

1
Rep
0
Offline
02:12 Nov-20-2015

I use a controller for pretty much every game I play, the only games that I use M+K for are the ones with bad controller support.


I'm well aware of the advantages of M+K but I play games for fun, not to be some holier than thou dick.

0
Rep
7
Offline
17:46 Nov-20-2015

You ever use XPadder? I use it for every game without proper gamepad support. It works great. Sometimes you can even get it setup better than the built in support by using button modifiers, etc. :)

1
Rep
9
Offline
08:42 Nov-13-2015

Personally, Steam controller is going great for me with Fallout 4 :)

1
Rep
0
Offline
02:12 Nov-20-2015

Tempted to get one, what are they like?

0
Rep
3
Offline
08:07 Nov-13-2015

hello every one!!! ..........i am an FPS big fan, and also an RPG fanboy, and Fallout 4 in my opinion is a Mix between those two genre, so for the best shooting experience , the mouse and keyboard are the best

1
Rep
3
Offline
08:09 Nov-13-2015

and for the the exploration in 3rd view , i find it more compfortable to do with an xbox 360 or xbox one controllers

1
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
18:29 Nov-12-2015

It's a shooter, so M/KB and hardest difficulty all the way. The Witcher 3 became easy on Death March after a while as do most games and I wouldn't play it any other way.

1
Rep
6
Offline
17:56 Nov-12-2015

I would usually use kb/m but as a leftie who uses the arrow keys not being able to map the numpad is bollocks so am using a controller.

2
Rep
7
Offline
17:37 Nov-12-2015

I just plain find KB/M uncomfortable.. I use Xpadder for every single game I own that doesn't have built-in controller support. The only game I've ever preferred mouse aiming in is ARMA III, and the only time I use that is for sniping someone from a long distance, the rest of the time I also use a controller in ARMA III. I haven't played Fallout 4 yet, but I can guarantee you I'll be using gamepad

0
Rep
383
Offline
senior admin badge
14:24 Nov-12-2015

Just to add to this, I had a go at Fallout 4 with the Steam Controller last night. Very tricky to use and difficult to see it being better than either normal gamepad or kb&m but it might just take some getting use to.

4
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
14:43 Nov-12-2015

I bet it will be better than a regular analog controller after you get use to it & tweak the sensitivity enough. However I am sure the learning curve will be steep. I haven't tried one myself yet, but I am sure it feels awkward. I remember how awkward analog controllers felt ages ago when they first started being used. Now picking one up & using it feels natural. ;)

2
Rep
383
Offline
senior admin badge
15:49 Nov-12-2015

The hard part is having six buttons on the back! Having to destroy my muscle memory to adjust. Once you get used to the trackpad it seems quite good though. I had a brief go in Portal 2 and can instantly spin the camera round 180 as if you were using a mouse.

2
Rep
386
Offline
admin approved badge
16:11 Nov-12-2015

I've seen many people use it and they just prove what I thought, it's worse than both an analog stick controller and Kb&mouse. It's basically a laptop track pad.

0
Rep
2
Offline
14:42 Nov-14-2015

Is a total new input, of course it need a curve learning, no one born knowing how to use Steam controller.


1st time users obviously will sucks, is common sense... I guess you don't know it.

1
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
17:44 Nov-14-2015

Yeah & it will be a steeper learning curve the older you are. It seems to me like once you have a long term motor memory of a certain style of device that it makes it harder to adjust to something new.

1
Rep
9
Offline
08:43 Nov-13-2015

I'm thoroughly enjoying playing with the Steam controller, yeah took some time to get used to but it's a whole new ball game to me and I'm loving it. A new learning curve is nice.

2
Rep
-1
Offline
12:59 Nov-12-2015

I think both are fine. Some shine better than others in certain areas. But placing those wire fences was rough for me on both.

0
Rep
8
Offline
11:27 Nov-12-2015

keyboard and mouse for F4. Didn`t even try to use the controller. Witcher 3 on the other hand was unplayable with keyboard and mouse and ofc Rocket League is only legit via controller. In the end as soon as gunplay comes to the table its keyboard and mouse for me. Funny was GTA 5 though where i would switch back on for

0
Rep
27
Offline
12:34 Nov-12-2015

For me Witcher 3 was unplayable with the controller.I played for 300+ hrs with M&KB and I easily got used to the controls.

2
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
14:02 Nov-12-2015

Exact opposite for me. There was no enjoyment from using a KB&M in Witcher 3 for me. Way too awkward imo. Same goes for Fallout 4.


For multi player KB&M is a must, but in single player (cross platform) games like this there is no reason to be so uncomfortable.

1
Rep
319
Offline
admin badge
16:17 Nov-12-2015

on witcher 3 I played all of my first playthrough with mouse/keyboard without any problem at all. Now I am playing new game+ with the controller and its more convenient that I dont have to be over the desk on the keyboard but menu navigation is A LOT slower. I have a huge inventory. And I cant quicksave too.. But aside from these 2 factors the controller is fine for the job too.

1
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
17:44 Nov-12-2015

Yeah a controller is almost always slower, but it sure is nice to be able to just kick back & enjoy the game. :D

2
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
18:26 Nov-12-2015

Witcher 3 unplayable with M/KB? You must have arthritis or something. Clocked in tons of hours all on M/KB and love it!

1
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
20:09 Nov-12-2015

Yeah I do have arthritis. I am nearly 40 years old. :(


Even a controller makes my hands hurt after about 45 minutes

1
Rep
3
Offline
13:11 Nov-13-2015

I'm right there with you brotha, same age with 15 years heavy equip operation and under grnd utilities, I get about 45 minutes aswell weather im gaming or playing piano. Getting old sucks lol.

1
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
01:32 Nov-14-2015

Yeah my hands are beyond wore out. I grew up on a 2000 acre rice & soy bean farm. I have been working since I was 9 years old. I am 39 now so I have 30 years worth of work related damage on my hands. Not to mention the sports I have played, the different game controllers I have used for hours on end, or all of the special alone times with porn. XD

1
Rep
27
Offline
05:39 Nov-13-2015

Don't be rude man even I play with M&KB but everyone have their own preferences.

1
Rep
3
Offline
10:25 Nov-12-2015

Look. some of my favorite people are paddlejockey's. That being said, F them (cough cough), I can't aim with a paddle to save my life, so its wireless logitech G602 for me with 6 bindable thumb buttons for weps or diolog.

0
Rep
3
Offline
10:39 Nov-12-2015

As for keyboard I make sure I have one with E Keys (extended keys on the left) that you can quick Macro to anything you desire, this is what i use. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823126299

0
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
14:05 Nov-12-2015

I have a Logitech G602 as well, but I still prefer a controller for single player games like Fallout 4 & Witcher 3. The Logitech G602 really shines in RTS & multi player FPS games though. ;)

1
Rep
3
Offline
13:24 Nov-13-2015

You know i must admit its nice to kick back with a paddle for racing, RTS, platformers. Maybe i just need more practice and Fallout does have VATS system! Hell lets see how far i can get. Thx Leadstardude, now if my hands will hold up?

1
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
17:49 Nov-14-2015

It seems a lot easier for me. I mean this is Fallout. We are not in competition & we have VATS. There is never any real danger of a controller stopping you from being successful & it does allow you to kick back & actually enjoy the game more.

0
Rep
47
Offline
09:26 Nov-12-2015

I have hardly ever used a controller for rpgs and fps games.but platformers like ac definitely feel better with controller.I just like having more control so it has to be mouse and keyboard.

1
Rep
23
Offline
09:10 Nov-12-2015

Keyboard/Mouse.... Because of "ALT+TAB"..


Unless you're using console, use a gamepad

0
Rep
385
Offline
admin badge
08:11 Nov-12-2015

Well I tried controller first but the controls were pretty bad, the "change view" button is also the "edit settlement button" and on PC you can just use the mouse wheel instead of mouse button 3, adjusting the view distance on controller is far too fiddly too.


To Quicksave you need to enter the start menu .... not very quick then (F5 on K/M) and no Quickload (F9).
Changing weapons is awkward as well (tapping the d-pad followed by A) on K/M you can assign to 1-0.


The right analogy stick just isn't good enough for aiming compared to mouse.


Finally, the Pip Boy isn't as easy to access and the navigation is tedious on controller.


The only positive on controller is the analogy stick for movement :)


.... To be honest, these points usually apply to most games.

6
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
14:16 Nov-12-2015

I use my phone as my pip boy, & no I did not get the pip boy edition. I just prop my phone up right next to my laptop. So far I have barely even looked at the in game pip boy.

2
Rep
3
Offline
13:29 Nov-13-2015

Wow, thats cool.

1
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
02:08 Nov-14-2015

Yeah I was amazed the first time I realized that the map in the PIP BOY app on my phone was following my character in game in real time. I stated just spinning circles in game back & forth watching the arrow spin on the map on my phone. Then I started swapping out armors & weapons on my phone to see them instantly change on my character in game. After seeing all of that I was hooked on the PIP BOY app. There is a bug with the map though. So far I can't get the zoom to work.

1
Rep
157
Offline
admin approved badge
05:23 Nov-12-2015

Yesterday i answered this question under Overwatch comment section. Before this article came up. I think you can guess my answer.

0
Rep
11
Offline
22:46 Nov-11-2015

I endup with Keybord and mouse only for multiplayer games and gamepad for singleplayer..

1
Rep
10
Offline
00:32 Nov-12-2015

Same here haha, i play Fallout 4 with gamepad, and feel wierd trying to play with mouse and keyboard dunno why

2
Rep
38
Offline
04:57 Nov-12-2015

Maybe it's time for a change for PC gamers ;)

0
Rep
2
Offline
08:07 Nov-12-2015

Bethesda focus in consoles:
Same models & textures in consoles & PC, not PC ultra models or textures.
K/M layout is nonsense, menus is control pad friendly limiting K/M.
4 button dialogs options is a blasphemy for fallout.

2
Rep
2
Offline
20:25 Nov-11-2015

FallOut 4 is total console friendly and KB/M support is garbage but still better than gamepad.


The four button dialogue options is a sucker punch from gamepad and destroy one of the better stuff in this saga.

4
Rep
76
Offline
20:19 Nov-11-2015

I find myself fumbling for the alt key in close quarters, so I need to reassign that, but overall mouse and keyboard is fine for me. I also don't like the hotkeys, I usually go to my pip-boy instead. It would be nice if someone would mod a weapon wheel a la GTAV or something similar.

1
Rep
16
Offline
20:11 Nov-11-2015

i would vote but my specs

6

Can They Run... |

Core i7-11800H 8-Core 1.90GHz GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile 8GB
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
Core i5-6260U 1.8GHz UHD Graphics 620 12GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i3-9100F 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1070 Gigabyte Windforce OC 16GB
| 30FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i5-2500 3.3GHz GeForce GTX 750 8GB
| 30FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-3470 3.2GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Inno3D Compact 3GB 12GB
| 30FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i7-10750H 6-Core 2.60GHz GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile 16GB
Core i7-10750H 6-Core 2.60GHz GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile 16GB
| 30FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i7-3770 4-Core 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1650 MSI Ventus XS OC 4GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i3-9100 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB 8GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Radeon RX 470 Sapphire Nitro+ 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-10300H 4-Core 2.50GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i3-1005G1 2-Core 1.20GHz UHD Graphics 630 4GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 720p
Core i3-1005G1 2-Core 1.20GHz UHD Graphics 630 4GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3500 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Super Zotac Gaming AMP 6GB 16GB
50% Yes [6 votes]
| 30FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i5-7300HQ 4-Core 2.5GHz GeForce GTX 1050M Ti 4GB 12GB
Core i7-10750H 6-Core 2.60GHz GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 720p
Core i5-4440 3.1GHz Radeon HD 6670 v2 Gigabyte OC 1GB Edition 16GB
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
Core i5-10400F 6-Core 2.90GHz Radeon RX 560 4GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
Ryzen 5 2600X 6-Core 3.6GHz Radeon RX 5600 XT Gigabyte Gaming OC 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-10700 8-Core 2.90GHz GeForce RTX 2060 6GB 16GB