GoNintendo Thought: I've fully embraced gyro-aiming, and I don't think I can ever go back

I like to move it, move it

Our features lately have been heavy on video, but that's because there was a lot of video content to cover! That side of things has slowed a bit, so I had a chance to do another written feature! Hopefully it's a topic you enjoy. As always, thanks for reading.

Gyroscopic aiming in games is nothing new, as the feature has been around for years now. A number of games, usually on the Nintendo side of things, implement the unique control feature for first and third person titles. While the control scheme itself years old, there still haven't been too many titles to implement the feature since its inception. Thankfully the Switch seems to be changing that, and numerous devs are recognizing that gyroscopic aiming should at least be included as an option.

To be clear up front, I don't think gyroscopic aiming should be the default option for players, nor do I believe it should be the only one. Almost the same thing can be said for traditional dual-stick controls. Any first or third person shooter should allow multiple control schemes for players. That said, I don't think anyone would argue that standard dual stick aiming/walking shouldn't be the default, as that's the most widely accepted method of controls. It's just equally important for devs to embrace other options, and make sure they're properly implemented.

Back in the day when first person games started using dual stick controls, I thought my gaming days were over. I had no idea how I could handle using two analog sticks at once just to walk and look. It felt like patting my head and rubbing my stomach at the same time. Weeks and weeks of trying to move from what GoldenEye offered to this two dual-stick setup was killer. I just couldn't make it work for me, and I became so worried when I saw that most FPS titles were heading in that direction.

Instead of giving up, I kept plugging away at things. I was determined to overcome my struggles and make this control scheme work for me. I won't say there was a moment where everything clicked and I wasn't having issues, but over time, I started to adapt. I did eventually become proficient with those controls, and then hit a point where I couldn't imagine playing an FPS without them. Thinking of having some sort of other control scheme for FPS/third person titles nowadays is pretty much unfathomable!

Most first and third-person games since those early days have stuck to the same control scheme. It's certainly not broken, so why bother changing it up? Devs do include options to tweak specific elements like how analog sticks handle turning or what buttons do what, but by and large, things have remained unchanged. The dual-stick control scheme is proven to be the preferred method for those type of titles, and I definitely agree with that. That said, I don't think that means there's not room for improvement, which is where gyroscopic aiming comes in.

My first real experience with going all-in on gyroscopic aiming was the original Splatoon on Wii U. Again, there were other games that had some gyroscopic features, but for me, Splatoon was the game that really wanted to show how those controls could not just compliment traditional dual-stick controls, but take them to a new level as well. Even with Nintendo showing off gyroscopic controls leading into launch, I wasn't sure they'd be for me. The control scheme we'd had for years worked fine. Why would I want to throw something else into the mix?

When I first got hands on Splatoon, I decided to give gyroscopic controls a try. Within minutes, I was looking all over the place and getting absolutely lost. Everything I could normally do in games with ease was now absolutely unwieldy. It was like I had never played a dual-stick game before. I felt like someone was yanking the controller away from me, causing the camera to fly all over the place. These moments took me right back to how I felt when the first dual-stick games came out.

I could have given up on gyroscopic aiming right there and used the traditional controls. It's not like Splatoon forced you to use gyroscopic aiming, and other titles weren't going to have the feature either. That said, I started to think about really committing to them. Nintendo felt there was a valid reason to not only include them, but showcase them during gameplay videos. Sure, Nintendo wanted to sell the Wii U and its unique features, but I felt there was more than that. I decided to stick with gryoscopic aiming and see what I could do with it.

Again, just like what happened with me for dual-stick controls, I slowly started to adapt. The more I played, the more I got a handle on gyroscopic aiming. I started to see why Nintendo was so dead-set on showcasing this feature. I also began to understand why other players were singing the praises of gyroscopic aiming. Even the pros that eventually emerged in the Splatoon competitive scene were using gyro aiming. If you ever needed another bit of proof that gyro aiming was worth giving a shot, there it was.

That time with Splatoon cemented gyro aiming in my mind. While I was unsure at the start, I eventually found it to be the go-to way for me to aim. The moment everything came together happened when I realized the disconnect in my mind with gyro aiming. I was originally having trouble because I was using grand, sweeping motions with the controller. That was throwing everything out of whack and making it impossible to control. Gyroscopic aiming is all about fine-tuning what you're doing with the traditional analog sticks. A little nudge in certain directions from your hand, married with joystick movements, makes for the ultimate pair.

I can't express how much easier I find it to fine-tune a shot with gyro aiming versus traditional controls. Back when I would just use two joysticks to aim, I could certainly get the job done. That said, when it came down to lining up shots, the finer adjustments were much tougher for me to do with two joysticks. You'd have to be ridiculously precise with your joystick taps to get that shot where you wanted it. For me, gyro aiming completely takes that away. I can line up where an enemy is in general with a joystick, and then use simple hand movements to lock in my shot exactly where I want it. That natural movement of my hands to line up a shot feels so much better to me. There really is no comparison.

Since both the Joy-Con and Switch Pro Controller allow for motion controls on Switch, developers have had good reason to include gyro aiming schemes for their games. It also helps that the Switch has been quite a huge hit, so developers are more willing to go the extra mile with features like this. There have definitely been more first and third person titles that allow for gyro aiming throughout the Switch's lifespan, and its made those games so much more enjoyable for me. There's really nothing else in gaming for me that feels as good as aiming with gyro controls, and now I get to use them more than ever.

The most recent example for me comes from Rogue Company, which I've been spending a lot of time with. The gang at Hi-Rez deserve an absolute ton of praise for their dedication to implementing gyro aiming. Not only did they include the feature right from the get-go, but they also provide a ton of options for players to adjust. Sensitivity for aiming, inverse options, and more are there for you to dig through. This has resulted in one of the best-implemented gyro aiming schemes on the Switch yet, outside of what Nintendo themselves do.

Playing Rogue Company with gyro controls feels absolutely fantastic, and really gets me more into the action. There's something about those controls that just deepen my fun with a game, and the feeling I get from it. There's something so satisfying to me about lining up a shot with just a few small movements of my hands. I really can't get enough of it!

I'm at the point where first/third person games that don't include gyro aiming feel wrong to me. I've played quite a bit of Call of Duty: Warzone, and no matter how long I play, I can't stop wishing that there were gyro controls. It's not just something I think about, but something I physically do as well. When I'm playing that game, I can't stop from moving my hands as I would in a game with gyro aiming. That kind of control has just become second nature by now, and I feel like I'm at a real deficit when that scheme is not included. I can't tell you how many losses I've suffered and shots I've missed in that game because of my gyro aiming muscle memory!

Going forward, I hope more companies start to realize the benefits of gyro aiming. Things have gotten a lot better in recent years, but there's always more work to do. Devs have figured out how to really utilize the feature, but now it's up to players to show off just how much your skills can benefit from them. The more we use them and sing their praises, the more developers will focus on them and make sure they're not only included, but implemented correctly.

I hope that one day we won't have to ask about gyro aiming anymore. When a game is announced for Switch nowadays, players flood the devs with questions about whether or not gyro aiming is supported. In the not-too-distant future, let's hope gyro aiming as an option is a given.

Categories: Consoles
Tags: wii-u, switch


The only part of the controller that has been obsolete since the Wii360PS3 era is the second analog control. I'm disappointed we're stuck with that for another gen. Not only is limiting, there has been better methods to move a camera. Track pads, gyro, mouse, head tracking.

It's just there out of tradition and familiarity. Which is why at times we're stuck with obsolete stuff, like cents.

We are literally paying extra to keep cents in circulation. Again, makes no cents.

I disagree. Controlling a camera with a stick on consoles is far simpler than using any of the alternatives you listed. Who wants the camera to be constantly moving at the tilt of your controller?
During aiming I’m all for it.

Track pads and mouse are fine for PC, and head tracking really only feels natural with VR.

And my country already got rid of our 1 cent coin ;)

I can buy getting used to something. But if the alternatives are faster, and more precise. I just see the second analog stick as having training wheels, since for one to perform as well as the other methods it needs aim assist.

The comparison with gyro is like comparing centimeters of movement to millimeters.

In regards to camera control it mainly has issues doing the quick turn arounds, which is why a lot of games add that to a button.

I can't tell anyone to play a certain way, but I'll certain express criticism of developers missing chances to make their games more involved.

Yeah aiming is much better with gyro

I do agree options are the best for everyone. I’d rather more control methods than someone’s preferred method be excluded.

Oh so much this (from skimming through the long article)! The joy-cos are great in that way since they are split in two and for Spla2n and BOTW are so good I just can't lay without it. Spla2on so damn sooth like that, trying withut fealt like garbage. Of course this is thanks to the analogue sticks there too. The mix of these features are just damn close to perfect. I got Panzer Dragoon not too long ago, but am eyeballing the remake too and that's a lot for the gyro controls.

Motions controls in general can truly be a game-changer if done well.

(And yeah, I loved SF0's controls, so sue me Smile )

Gyro aiming is the best. I love SF0 and its controls as well.

Tue Jul 28 20 11:45pm
Rating: 2

Gyri aiming with two analogue sticks on a split joy-con setup as I mentioned for Spla2n is something of the best I have tried, really.

I still miss the IR pointer from the Wii though.

I love SF0 and its controls as well

Good I'm not alone, but be careful with what you say... "they" might come after you... Smile

Oh I love SF0 and I'm willing to defend it. It's not the best SF game only because the alternative paths have a lot of recycled content, which was interesting as it gave a new perspective, but not as much as brand new levels.

The all-range mode bosses are by far the most innovative part of the game, including the Carrier, Monarcha Dodora, both from SF1, and Andross, of course. Andross, for instance, took a while to figure out how to defeat him, but once I did figure out, it became second Nature.

I think SF0 suffered from bad word of mouth marketing, and people read a few reviews and heard some saying the controls were not good and all and therefore never tried it. I think the controls and the dual screen setup are very good and functional, but you have to figure out the best way to use it. And many didn't have the patience to learn it (and I don't blame them because most like to fire up a game and play like a pro right away) and also swaping your view from Gamepad to TV and vice-versa is not as seamless as using the DS' dual screens.

Having said that, would love to see a new Star Fox game come to the Switch. But if they decide to rework SF0 and include a few more branching paths it would be awesome as well.

By the way, I have 2 copies of the SF0/SFG bundle, the one I bought back in 2016 and another I bought later on a sale to keep it sealed. Star Fox for life!

Wed Jul 29 20 04:11pm
Rating: 1

Great minds think alike =) I might just have to take SF0 for a spin. HAve to get up up early, so Death Stranding needs to bugger off, but some Star Fox seems great for some missions =)

But SF0 should just stay on the WiiU. It's just so gamepad centric... Nah. A new SF game, from the same team, made for Switch with HD rumble, gyro etc.. Bring it.

Wed Jul 29 20 10:31am
Rating: 1

SF0 reinvigorated my love with that franchise. Since while Assault had multiplayer and story, I didn't felt enjoyment with how the shooting, movement or game's linear structure worked. Command was boring to me, I just played the first route you do and found it very repetitive.

While Zero doesn't beat 64, it's a fast paced and enjoyable shooting game. If there were a Switch version the main thing I hope they could swap is the gyrowing with a roadmaster level.

Assault was good, but left to be desired in terms of gameplay and Control. The arwing levels are the best, but still not as intuitive and fluid as in SF64 and SF0. But since the Arwing levels were so praised back then, I wish they had included a Falco mode. Why? Simply because Falco is always in the Arwing in the 10 stages. That would have been a great unlockable after beating the game once, adding more replayabilty and another perspective in the levels.

Wed Jul 29 20 04:50pm
Rating: 1

I mean, it was another developer which may be why the "feel" is different. I don't know the shooting in a Star Fox game is particular, like Mario's jump or Zelda puzzles.

The story and music were the highlights for me, since that's something Zero didn't do as good.

Replayability is an issue with Assault because some stages shift you from the walking to the Arwing and so on. I think also the levels being too long hurts it. Zero levels have better paced despite being short, but has the Sonic issue of a lot of resources for very short levels, which may be why Venom is less involved than in 64.

Tue Jul 28 20 10:07pm
(Updated 1 time)

A question: as PS4’s DualShock also has gyro feature, why don’t we see the same petition happening for PS4’s games?

It's actually starting to gain favorability among Playstation fans. The PS5 subreddit seems to have a new thread talking up the feature pretty regularly, and while there are still a fair share of motion control haters (who obviously have never even tried gyro assisted aiming based on how they talk about it) people who are in favor of having the option now easily outnumber people who don't. Lots of people have heard how good it is on Switch and PC games and are open to try it.

Requesting it on an Xbox subreddit will of course get you downvoted hard since there's no hope of the feature coming to that platform and the community has to justify Microsoft's poor decision.

Just to comment on your early struggles: the PS2/GCN/Xbox era was rough for FPS! Every developer felt like they had the best control scheme (shoot being square, ADS being a toggle by pressing in the next stick, blech).

It has its downsides, but I'm fairly glad that all got standardized by the original CoD4:MW.

I like Gyro controls, however I still prefer pointer controls best for FPS games.


Wed Jul 29 20 08:38pm
(Updated 1 time)

I find it to be a nightmare to try and play first/third person shooters without Gyro in a controler or mouse and keyboard.
I simply won't bother with a new game if it doesn't have one of those as an option.
Of course pointer controls with light guns and/or the Wii remote remain the ultimate way to play first/third person shooters.


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