How to Play Battlefield 3 on PC With an Xbox 360 or PS3 Controller
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Before I get excoriated in the comments, let me issue a disclaimer: Mouse/Keyboard controls are and will always be superior to controllers, and people who play FPS’ with their mouse and keyboard are playing the games as they are meant to be played, and they will pwn the living daylights out of any roflcoptar dickless CoD n00b who dares to step into their crosshairs while wielding a console controller.
Now that that’s out of the way, let me take this moment to point out that there are actually some good reasons to use a console controller while playing Battlefield. They’re good for flying helicopters, for example, and the game makes it easy to switch seamlessly back and forth between the two control methods. Keep reading as I explain how to make that happen.
Provided that you have a USB dongle that will recognize your Xbox 360 controller, using it in BF3 is a cinch. It’s really a matter of plug and play; you won’t even need to re-map the keys, but if you do want to, simply go to the “Joystick” settings in BF3 control configuration screen.
Using a Dualshock 3 controller to play BF3 is a good deal harder. In fact, I wouldn’t even recommend trying. With no official Sony support for using the controller on a PC, you’ll have to resort to a Chinese software program called Motion in Joy. We’ve got a detailed guide on how to use it, and the client is hosted on GameFront’s fast free servers.
Unfortunately, even though Motion in Joy does what it says it does (makes your PC recognize the inputs from a Dualshock 3 controller), that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be good for playing BF3. Start with the fact that every action in game must be individually re-mapped. Once this is accomplished, you’ll have to contend with weird, unpredictable bugs. Having mapped “Fire main weapon” to R2, for example, I was distressed to learn that the R2 button could only fire single shots — holding it down didn’t result in automatic fire, even though I was holding a machine gun.
Long story short, if you must use a console controller, stick to the Xbox variant.