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The Witcher 3: Keyboard vs Controller

A controller is comfortable to play with, but it can limit your potential as a player. In The Witcher 3, it means that playing on harder difficulties may become a problem. But honestly, do you play Witcher for competition? Committing yourself to the mouse and keyboard setup doesn't make much sense if you want to sit back and relax, and playing on Just the Story! or Story and Sword! difficulty levels don't trouble you.

If you have no particular preference, try out the controller should you have one. Many players find it natural and more relaxing. If you tend to stick to your keyboard and mouse, then play The Witcher 3 this way, you won't be disappointed.

Let's overview the major features of playing with different setups.

Pros and Cons of Keyboard and Mouse in The Witcher 3

  • Easy camera control: see with your mouse who's going to hit you from behind and use the keyboard to dodge and counterattack. A major advantage over controllers.
  • Lots of inputs: bind a key to a particular Sign without having to bring up the Sign wheel every time you attempt to cast magic. Assign shortcuts to specific menus to instantly reach the quest log or bestiary.
  • Keyboard + mouse setup needs you to concentrate, and it'll keep you sitting at your desk. Your actions in the game are all precise, but not as intuitive as with a controller, so it might take some time before you get accustomed.

Pros and Cons of Controller in The Witcher 3

  • Limited camera control: you probably won't be able to use fighting and camera controls at the same time, which is going to constrain Geralt's movements and you'll be getting nasty surprises from behind more often.
  • Limited inputs: you'll have to list through your Signs every time to choose that particular Axii or Igni, which slows down the pace of combat. The same is true for menus: they can be harder to navigate than with the keyboard and mouse setup. Also, different actions may be bound to the same button. You may find yourself doing something you never really intended to do at the moment, like mounting Roach amid the battle instead of rolling away to safety.
  • Lean back on your couch and enjoy: a controller may feel more natural, especially in terms of camera and combat controls, and it doesn't take a lot of effort to master, which is good for immersion—it's definitely one of the pros.

All in all, the mouse and keyboard setup can be superior if you're willing to take some time and practice. Even more so, if you intend to complete the game on a higher difficulty level, you're advised to stick to this setup. Bear in mind that the enemies receive a +130% damage bonus should you choose the Blood and Broken Bones! setting. This is challenging, and you'll need to be fast and precise. The Death March! setting is the ultimate test: you're going to be severely punished for every poorly-timed move. You'll have to train a lot to complete the game on it.

Auto Aim and Manual Aim

Note that you don't have to manually aim your crossbow in The Witcher 3, though it's still an option. You can shoot with auto-aim by tapping the attack button. Hold it to enter manual aim mode. In Skellige, manual aiming can be a pain when collecting all those smuggler caches, more so if you use a controller.

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