When it comes to multiplayer games, shooters are up there with some of the very best. They’re often filled with skillful gameplay, satisfying strategies, and a gameplay loop that’ll suck you in for one more match over and over again. It’s hard not to adore shooters, even if it’s in short bursts, and I want sharper precision, swift movement, and more wins. The PC is the perfect place for playing games like Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Apex Legends, and yet, I won’t be playing any shooters on PC. Frankly, I’m too scared.
It’s not like playing a shooter on PC automatically turns it into a horror game, but for those of us who have adapted to playing shooters on a controller over the years, the muscle memory may have already ruined our PC playing potential. Regardless of what dedicated PC players may tell you, adjusting to a mouse and keyboard isn’t the simplest process, despite the fact that it is definitely the best way to play.
Point and click
I don’t need to explain the benefits of playing shooters on PC to anyone. While you don’t have the smooth acceleration of an analog stick when it comes to movement, your aiming is controlled with the mouse, which depending on your game settings and the DPI of your mouse, you can have virtually unrivaled control over. While your analog stick can only move as fast as you can move it left or right, your mouse doesn’t have the restriction of plastic housing, and you’re able to literally slide it across your entire desk.
This offers the most accuracy possible, period. An experienced PC player can aim shots at a single moving pixel on their screen and nail their target with little effort, while more experienced console players must combine tactical strafing in addition to moving their viewpoint just to attain a barely comparable level of precision. And it’s for this reason that I and many other shooter fans adjusted to consoles couldn’t possibly compete in the PC ecosystem.
That’s certainly not to say that it’s impossible, but it’s not practical. It’s simple enough to plug a controller into a USB port and start playing just as you always would, but that will only decrease your chances. A player with a controller in the PC ecosystem will only limit themselves more than being unfamiliar with a mouse and keyboard setup would. After all, you’ll learn in time, but it will be akin to learning how to play shooters all over again.
But even then, being unfamiliar with the controls is a footnote when compared with the most terrifying aspect of playing on PC: other players. Undoubtedly, the most hardened and determined shooter players in the world do their gaming on PC, and the bar to compete with their skill is intimidating. PC is where you’ll find esports professionals and people who take shooters seriously. They’re playing to win, and if you’re not strategizing with your team, you’re not up to par.
I’ve been loving Apex Legends lately. The battle royale shooter does so much right and has refined the formula to a tight and enjoyable experience. And when you look at some of the best Apex Legends players, it’s an emasculating experience. Shroud is a former esports professional, and currently, an incredibly talented streamer, and his Apex Legends skill is unquestionable. When Shroud plays he almost dances around the map, bunny hopping to maneuver perfectly, shooting with startling precision and always ensuring his health is topped up and his teammates will be respawned. He’s a practical one-man army that always stops to pick up his fallen comrades, and his gameplay is as awe-inspiring as it is fear inducing.
The man devastates teams by himself, and seems to rarely miss a shot. He’s so good that if it weren’t for the very occasional death and flubbed shot, you would assume he’s using an aimbot. While Shroud may be one of the best, he’s a good example of the kind of skill level you can encounter on PC. There are plenty of men and women out there playing shooters who are more skilled with a mouse than an accountant, and if you’re used to analog sticks and restricted acceleration, these games are going to be very difficult to adjust to. It’ll take a ton of practice just to be halfway competent with a mouse and keyboard and starting over with another control method is a hard proposition and huge time sink.
On the one hand, the potential to push a game that far, to become so skilled and so fearsome, is incredibly enticing. On the other hand, it’s one of the most daunting things I’ve ever seen even though it isn’t unimaginable; it’s just seems like a huge, Everest-sized mountain to climb with plenty of failure along the way. While I can win a few matches and give people a run for their money playing Apex Legends on PS4, it honestly seems like playing on PC is either impossible or massively impractical for console peasants such as myself.