l guess ‘Dead Space’ refers to area around my mouse

The mouse controls in Dead Space are absolutely horrible.  At first, I thought it was just me, but apparently not.  In the game’s menus, the mouse is way too sensitive and jumpy.  In the game itself, the camera control is exceptionally slow and imprecise.  You’ve got to move the mouse halfway across your desk to get the camera to turn 90 degrees.

I tried cranking up the mouse sensitivity to the max, but it was still too slow.  So I plugged in a high-DPI mouse, using hardware to compensate for an obvious software problem.  The faster mouse allowed me to control the camera properly when my character is standing still, but get this: the mouse tracking rate changes when you’re in “aim mode” or whenever you press a movement key on the keyboard.  In both cases, the mouse slows back down again to nearly unusable speeds.  Worse, perhaps, is just the disconnect between when you’re moving and when you’re not.  One tends to make that transition constantly when playing a game like this, sweeping the camera with the mouse while maneuvering one’s character in the world.  Letting off of W, A, S, or D in mid-camera-sweep here, though, means a sudden transition to much different mouse tracking rate.

Which is a complicated way of explaining that I can’t frickin’ move right.

Obviously, this was a game designed for game consoles and dual-stick gamepads, and everything about it just screams “bad PC port.”  You’d think that moving from a gamepad to a vastly more sensitive and precise form of analog input, a game developer would want to take full advantage of the improved control of the new platform, especially in a shooter like this one.  But that doesn’t seem to be the case here.  Also, the game’s entire interface, from the initial setup menus to the in-game controls over HUD items and weapons, are obviously designed for a gamepad with a small number of buttons.  This game has so many nested menus where a single keypress would suffice—like it does in almost every other PC shooter.  Ugh.

Having read through various forum threads on the matter and experimented with it myself, I’m pretty well convinced Dead Space‘s controls are just broken.  Our best hope now seems to be a patch, but given the amount of care given to the PC port, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

And don’t tell me to use a gamepad.  I’d rather drive a railroad spike into my temple.

In fact, I’m moving on to Fallout 3, and I may just leave Dead Space out of our next round of video card tests.  PC gamers deserve better.

Update: Much love to Games Radar, whose review says:

This would have been a much more compelling horror game if not for the bizarrely sluggish mouse movement, which feels strangely slow and floaty. This is not a sensitivity issue, and occurs even in the main menu. You get used to it eventually, but it makes pinpoint-accuracy abnormally and unnecessarily difficult in a game that demands it more than the average shooter.


Comments closed
    • Vandyl
    • 11 years ago

    Eww. What little curiosity I had for this game has been killed.

    • rohith10
    • 11 years ago

    Thank you TR. I’ll make sure that I’ll stay off of it.

    (Was thinking of getting it)

    • Metalianman
    • 11 years ago

    Personally I have a trackball mouse (yeah, those weird ones) and I had no problem playing the game, since it’s much easier to rotate the camera with a trackball. But I have to admit that it’s a bit slow!

    • Forge
    • 11 years ago

    My issue here is that PC gaming is being PENALIZED for not being as innacurate and generally lousy as the major console inputs.

    The PC mouse is NOT the problem. The controller thumbsticks ARE the problem. Make Xbox3 have a trackball. Make PS4 use a mouse. Don’t port games and add an auto-jitter ‘feature’ to make the mouse aim like an epileptic palsy victim’s laser pointer. I’m looking at GoW and Dead Space in particular here. The mouse IS NOT THE ENEMY.

    • odizzido
    • 11 years ago

    I agree that the controls are crap….huge crap. But they have to be to make the game artificially harder, otherwise it would just be a shooting gallery even more than it already is.

    Once you get used to the garbage controls you will find that the game is actually okay, almost good even. almost.

    • ClickClick5
    • 11 years ago


      • Chrispy_
      • 11 years ago

      Designed on a PC for a console. Ported from a console to a PC using BASIC on ZX spectrum in under two minutes.

      I like my XBox360 gamepad but this reeks of inexcusable sloppiness a la Bioshock (PC). Bioshock was even based on Unrealtech which is one of the game engines I would say has the most precise input of them all. How 2K could take something so right and break it so hard is beyond expletives!

      It’s just another example of the sorry state games are in at the moment when designed for multiple platforms.

    • HurgyMcGurgyGurg
    • 11 years ago

    Okay, I’m four hours into the game right now and absolutely loving it, the first hour was crap for exactly the reason you mentioned and more.

    I start the game and once the beginning cut scene is over and I gain control of Isaac, the camera slowly begins to pan to the right at I’d say 30 seconds to do a full 360.

    Tried fighting it for 10 minutes and gave up. Turns out having any other controlling device plugged in screws with controls when using a mouse.

    Scott, make sure you don’t have a joystick or ANY other control device plugged.

    After that, was fixed (I had my joystick plugged in) I had the same control problems as you. I turned off the in-game VSynch and it got better, slightly.

    Continued to play and got frustrated again by the imprecision.

    So then I hear about forcing VSynch out of the game in Nvidia or ATI’s Control Center. I do this and it works perfectly, no more weird main screen mouse controls or in-game menus either.

    Sure it still feels a little rough but its still very enjoyable once you get more used to it. I actually find the controls to be better than Fallout 3’s 3rd person shooting, and I’ve played 70 hours of F3.

    Be warned, on the PC, when you use 3rd person for shooting in a tight area, the cross hair that indicates where the shot should go, is off. The closer the enemy is, the more it is off by. Its not bad since most weapons already don’t shoot that accurately, but at melee distance you could be aiming at the super mutants head and your shot goes to the left of his head every single time. (This is when you use the right trigger zoom option)

    Again, its not bad but its still annoying.

    I’m beginning to think this is more a problem with 3rd person in general, not a specific game, adding this to the fact that Assassins Creed was 3rd person and had less than perfect controls as well, I wouldn’t take my anger out on a single game.

    I don’t know if you just expect very precise controls by default, but in Dead Space I seem to be able to shoot limbs off pretty easily with only 4 hours experience.

    Try forcing VSynch out of game if you haven’t already it, hopefully, will help.

    I won’t yell at you to give it another chance, or rip you apart because I’m a fanboy, sure I like Dead Space and its definitely not perfect.

    But to be honest going so far as to say:

    l[<"and I may just leave Dead Space out of our next round of video card tests. PC gamers deserve better."<]l Look, if your going to protest, this is not the way to do it. We (As the consumer) still need this kind of information, and if reviews (As biased and corrupt as they are these days) are anything to go by, the majority still view Dead Space as a good game. A personal grudge does not bode well on the website if you choose, out of spite, to withhold a game from benchmarks that in many ways deserves it. Especially considering you already mentioned you would benchmark it on the podcast. (I think) Why not get active in other ways, as hopeless as it may seem. The time for protesting this game is long gone, as the press, go talk to EA and get some answers, express your concern over a sloppy port, if you enjoyed the other features of the game, tell them that, just find out whats up with it. Sure if they feed you EA bullsh*t, go ahead and rip Dead Space apart in a news article or blog post, but the point is you do that AFTER you get their story. Let's be honest here, PC gaming certainly needs all the support, financially and critically, it can get. Hopefully you managed to read this ridiculously long comment. I'm just a concerned 15 year old who gets a little too vocal with his opinion. I don't know maybe I just see these blog post as more than just personal opinions. I'm trying to be reasonable. Hurg

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 11 years ago

      Hurgy is on point.

        • willyolio
        • 11 years ago

        i disagree. when testing video cards, one should be testing them on games that are both relatively demanding and popular.

        dead space, apparently, is only one of the above.

        choosing not to review a game that is not even a recommended purchase? now that’s a disservice. it’d be as useful as standardized benchmarks like futuremark- with the exception that it’s not standardized.

          • HurgyMcGurgyGurg
          • 11 years ago

          Okay, I’m not here to shout YAY Dead Space!

          But again this is where I have my problem. The game sold quite well almost 500k units in its first month. Sure, its not an amazing sell out but it beat EA’s own estimates of 400k units by far, and the fact that its a new IP its very good.

          It has a critic average score of 8.7 and a user rating of 8.6 for over 2k votes.

          Going through those votes only 1 in 8 seem to have the control problem.

          This is the PC version.

          Again, its not bad to complain about Dead Space but going so far as to effectively banning it on ones bad personal experience is to far.

            • clone
            • 11 years ago

            I’d mentioned this problem when I played the game, the controls are a mess and the solutions provided minimise the issues but do not fix them……. the truth of the matter is that this game is a patch away from being much better and if that patch is not released then EA and Deadspace will continue to get exactly what they deserve which is to be panned.

            I could go on to bash the game on it’s own as being little more than a fresher version of Doom 3 but it’d be offtopic when 90% of the issues are in the interface.

            Deadspace is a decent game with an exceptionally poor interface, it’s really that simple and it’s messed up enough to be panned.

            after an hour of gameplay I was finding it formulaic and little more than parlor tricks but had the interface been even barely average it would still be an ok game….. currently it’s crap.

            I’ve got it sitting on the shelf awaiting a patch but it won’t be seen until it’s released.

    • b_naresh
    • 11 years ago

    I’m enjoying Dead Space so far inspite of the said mouse problems…currently playing Chapter 5 which should be about halfway through

    • Fastfreak39
    • 11 years ago

    The PC port may be bad but it’s still a great game. Usually I’d be just as upset as everyone else but I had a great time playing it on my 360 so I’m letting it slide.

    • TurtlePerson2
    • 11 years ago

    I had the same problem with Lost Planet (another rushed port) the menus were all designed for a 360 controller and the sensitivity was crazy.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 11 years ago

    Ouch! Geoff, care to comment? Were you playing it on PC or the 360?

    Maybe Scott is “doing it wrong” by insisting he plays on the PC :/

      • Dissonance
      • 11 years ago

      I played on the 360. No problems there…. or rather, no problems above and beyond the lack of precision inherent to thumbsticks.

    • glacius555
    • 11 years ago

    Haha, the forum mentioned in Scott’s post says that IT IS a game feature! Best excuse ever, developers are simply hilarious!!!:)))

    • yogibbear
    • 11 years ago

    No, just no no no.

    Turn V-Sync Off = Perfect Mouse Controls.

    Scott i wholeheartedly disagree with this blog

    Dead Space represents the very first ever half decent EA game ever ported to the PC ever. We should not be getting angry at it, but rejoicing that maybe, just maybe, EA might be changing direction. It runs perfectly here.

    • Pachyuromys
    • 11 years ago

    As much as I love seeing Damage & Co. lay the smack down when the product deserves it, I think this particular blog post’s title could have better reflected the position of its content.

    Something like §[<https://techreport.com/discussions.x/12098<]§ :-)

      • DrDillyBar
      • 11 years ago

      Great example

    • DrDillyBar
    • 11 years ago

    Avoid Dead Space. Duly Noted.

    • zqw
    • 11 years ago

    Even after vsync off?

      • Damage
      • 11 years ago

      vsync or not makes no difference on my X58/i7-965/GTX 260 SLI test rig.

      Believe me, it’s the game’s mouse handling. Has to be.

        • glacius555
        • 11 years ago

        Strange… I did not seem to have any trouble,while using Razer Copperhead. However, it should be mentioned that I forced V-sync through driver panel, not the game menu.

        • spuppy
        • 11 years ago

        Try enabling triple buffering and leaving vsync on? Try increasing the amount of pre-rendered frames in the nvidia control panel?

          • Meadows
          • 11 years ago


        • Meadows
        • 11 years ago

        I’d like a test rig like that.

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