Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Playing Inverted

Hours and hours of my early gaming life was spent playing Wing Commander, X-Wing, Tie-Fighter, and Stunt Island. (One of my earliest memories was playing the original Falcon on my XT.) In those games, the Y-axis -- the up/down axis -- was always inverted. Pull down on the joystick and the nose of the craft would incline; push the stick forward and the craft would angle downward.

The control method ingrained itself so deep into my brain that when consoles began to come packed with controllers that featured dual thumb sticks -- and even before that with the N64 controller -- I played with the Y-axis inverted. (Playing with mouse and keyboard, this issue just goes away.)

Gears of War, TimeSplitters, Prototype 2, Halo, LA Noire, Batman: Arkham City, Rainbow Six Vegas, Stranglehold, Max Payne, the list goes on... games and series that I've played inverted. It helps to cement that Y-axis quirk that was established so long ago. So, when I come across a game, especially a modern game, that doesn't feature the option to make that switch (or even makes it the default control preference) it's enough to completely stonewall any enjoyment I might otherwise squeeze out of the game.

Right now I'm thinking specifically of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. The PC version of the game.

I place emphasis on the "PC" part because the platform has always been much more open when it comes to reassigning keys or other control inputs.

Ludicrously enough, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier allows the player to invert the Y-axis of the mouse control but not the Y-axis of a gamepad. (For the record: I'm using a wired Xbox 360 controller.) For me, playing with a gamepad makes Future Soldier unplayable. Pressing the stick up and having the targeting reticle move up is enough to completely throw me off. I can't adapt to this and the game doesn't include that tiny thing that could make that game playable, maybe even fun.

It brings me to such infuriated levels, that I haven't played more than about 10 minutes of the game so far. As a non-programmer type person, I can't understand why this seemingly standard convention was completely ignored. It feels like the team(s) were just being friggin' lazy when it came to the controls.

Hey, why should I be getting angry when the keyboard and mouse works just fine?

They do work just fine; however, the input keys are spread across the keyboard thereby increasing my chances of dropping the ball when it comes to managing tight fire fights (presuming the game has these -- 10 minutes is hardly the best gauge for this kind of thing). Why can't a quick patch fix this issue? Is this a problem for the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions?

This isn't a review copy -- Ubisoft didn't supply it -- I picked up the game because I was interested in it and it doesn't feel like I can play it until the damn thing is patched. This isn't some game-breaking bug, but it's enough of an impediment to my enjoyment that I'm regretting the purchase. Something I think is so basic, so intrinsic to a shooter/action game wasn't included and so far the game feels cheap for this one stumble.

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