After taking a year off, Ubisoft is back with another Assassin’s Creed, and this time the default combat controls are wack. I only just started the Egyptian open-world adventure on Xbox One, so maybe it just takes some time to see the wisdom in putting block and attack on the left and right bumpers, respectively. Moments into the tutorial encounter that teaches you these basic inputs, I remembered that the Xbox One controller has a “correct” way to use the bumpers that makes it a lot easier to use. And I want to share that with you before your index fingers shrivel up and die from misuse.
Let me start by saying that you should use any controller however you want. My “correct” method isn’t a rule — that said, if you don’t use it, you are bad and I will ban you from games!
For me, the issue is that I cannot comfortably depress the bumper buttons with the end of my index finger. Those digits don’t want to leave the “homerow” of the left and right triggers. Reaching in to press the bumpers requires me to twist and contort, and I can feel my hand muscles creaking and straining during that action.
This is bad design, right? Or maybe user error? Shouldn’t I keep my index fingers on the bumpers and my middle fingers on the triggers? Absolutely not. To line up the shoulder buttons with my fingers for the four-finger method, I need to hold the Xbox One joypad at an extreme angle. That hold isn’t uncomfortable … up until the moment that I have to move the analog sticks or reach up to press Y. That feels awful.
The answer to this problem instead comes down to taking advantage of the smart design of the bumpers and triggers. Watch this to see what I mean:
Microsoft designed the Xbox One controller so that you never have to take your index fingers off the triggers. To activate the bumpers, you don’t reach back to press them with your fingertip. Instead, you just roll the middle knuckle of your finger in. Even the slightest roll will engage the actuation mechanism, so it’s this very tiny action that you can do rapidly and repeatedly without putting any real wear and tear on your tendons.
I’m trying this with Assassin’s Creed: Origins, and I like it. I don’t have to move my fingers as much with this method. I can hover my right thumb over X to dodge, and then I can block and do light and heavy attacks with the slightest movements o my pointer fingers. I may prefer this to jumping my thumb back and forth from A, B, X, and Y.
I know some of you think it’s nuts that I need to explain how to use a controller properly, but it’s not that crazy of an idea. For example, a lot of people recently discovered they were wearing their undergarments incorrectly for years thanks to someone posting instructions on social media.
But once you know the right way to do something, you may find that it’s way more comfortable for you. The finger-roll is exactly like that for me, and it’s a key reason that I prefer the Xbox One gamepad over the PlayStation’s DualShock 4. Sony’s shoulder buttons sit separated in parallel symmetry, and you have to either move your finger back and forth or use both your index and middle finger to effectively hit L1, R1 and L2, R2.
Of course, you can also just ignore me completely and change the Assassin’s Creed control scheme or use a mouse and keyboard. Those are probably comfortable options as well.