Why a game controller helped me completely rethink mobile gaming
I have been playing video games for over twenty years, most of my life. This whole time has been on consoles, from the NES and Nintendo 64 up to the PS5 and Xbox Series X that I have now. Despite the rise of mobile gaming over the past decade, I have never been able to dive into it. A lot of it is because I hate touch controls. They are not conducive to the types of games I want to play, mainly AAA experiences that can be found on Xbox Game Pass for Android. I’ve spent more time with some of the best mobile controllers like the Razer Kishi and GameSir X2 recently, I’ve found myself enjoying mobile games more.
Controls are the cornerstone of a good gaming experience.
A game can live or die depending on how you interact with it. Controls are the cornerstone of the experience. If you’re using the wrong controller, you won’t want to play it no matter how good the game is. I’ve always thought that was true even for consoles, and that’s another reason why I didn’t. played a lot on PS3 or PS4 – the DualShock is garbage (the DualSense is awesome, though). And I never wanted to pair my Xbox controller with my phone for two reasons: 1. I didn’t want to keep fixing it with my Xbox, and 2. I didn’t like mobile games. It’s changed. Reason # 2 was resolved with Xbox Game Pass. Reason # 1 was solved most recently, for me, with mobile controllers.
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Controllers like the Razer Kishi and the GameSir X2 are designed specifically for mobile gaming, effectively turning your phone into a Nintendo Switch. I don’t have to worry about pairing them with multiple devices as I only use them with my Galaxy S10. Activating my GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller will not accidentally turn on my Xbox or PlayStation. It might seem like a very trivial complaint – and I can admit it is – but it was also constant annoyance for me and something I didn’t want to continue dealing with.
I played Fallout 4 for dozens of hours on my Xbox, and worried about how it would play out on my phone through Xbox Game Pass. If you thought that would be nearly impossible with touch controls, you’re probably right – it doesn’t even support them (thankfully). Using my Razer Kishi, however, it’s almost like playing it on console, minus the small screen. The biggest difference, I think, was the sensitivity of the controller. It took me a while to get it right so that it felt natural and I didn’t miss my goals. Scrolling through my Pip-Boy, however, is as easy as I imagined.
Things are a little different with games like Genshin Impact and Call of Duty: Mobile. Genshin Impact doesn’t actually have controller support on Android, which I think is a glaring omission. I said so in my review, and while I think its touch controls are surprisingly competent, I know it would play better with a controller. That’s why I keep playing it on my PS5. If most of the games were like Genshin Impact on mobile and didn’t support controllers, I don’t think I would play them too often.
The ability to play with touch controls or a controller highlights the stark contrast between the two control schemes.
With Call of Duty: Mobile, you have the option of playing with touch controls or a controller, which really highlights the stark contrast between the two control schemes. It’s like night and day. Call of Duty: Mobile requires you to go through the tutorial with touch controls before you can connect a dedicated controller, and that’s no fun. It was by far the worst experience I have had with Call of Duty: Mobile, other than being full of bots. Once the tutorial was finished and started with my controller, I immediately felt more comfortable. I don’t think it can necessarily replace the console experience, but it’s a pretty close approximation with a controller, and it complements console gaming in a way mobile games with touch controls can’t.
When it comes to these controllers, you’ll also want to find the one that’s right for you. For me, as nice as the GameSir X2 controller is, I noted in my review that its face button layout was a frequent annoyance as I was constantly pressing B when I wanted to press A. facials are slightly offset on the Razer Kishi, I didn’t have that problem. It immediately made it easier for me to use.
And if you don’t want to turn your phone into Nintendo Switch, you can always take a good phone holder and attach it to your PS5 or Xbox controller. I highly recommend trying a few options to see what works best for you, as you’re missing out on a ton of the best Android games if touch controls are what’s stopping you from having fun.
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