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The Video Game "Lean" Continues Its Console Invasion

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Say you're coming up on a corner in a hallway. There might be some guys on the other side who. I don't know want to shoot you. What do you do? Put your entire body around the corner really quick just to see what's over there? Of course you don't. You peek your head around the corner. You lean.

About a year ago, I wrote the article below about how thanks to Dishonored's smart appropriation of the Y button, leaning might finally make a comeback in console games. Of course, PC gamers have always been able to lean—but on console, there have rarely been enough buttons to let players do it effectively.


This past weekend, I was trying out the next-gen versions of several multi-platform first-person games and I found that, what do you know, Battlefield 4 allows for leaning. And it works! On PS4, you can lean simply by tilting the controller to the left or right. It might feel awkward for some, but I really like it. It lets me get an angle on a lot of opponents I wouldn't have normally been able to see. I use it pretty regularly.

The Xbox One version of Battlefield 4 uses Kinect. This approach is both A) Pretty funny and pretty cool and B) Not quite consistent enough, at least for me. I like the idea of leaning my actual body to the left and right to lean around corners, and when it works, it works well. (And it makes me laugh, in a good way.) But it isn't compatible with a lot of the ways I sit while gaming—sideways with my legs over the end of the couch, or braced on the coffee table with my knees up. So I mostly leave leaning turned off on Xbox One.


Call of Duty: Ghosts also offers a lean option, though it's called "contextual lean." It's not directly under the player's direct control and I haven't been able to get it to work all that well. I'd rather have complete control over my leaning, thank you very much.

As an avowed leaning-fan, I'm happy to see creative thinking leading to new approaches to video-game leaning. More leaning in console games, please! Let's keep this comeback going!