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One solution to Camera Screw is a designated Freelook Button which switches the player from their normal gameplay controls to a player-view perspective of the gameworld (from either a first-person or over-the-shoulder view), allowing them to look around using the same controls that would otherwise be used for their player movement.

Engaging Freelook mode has one notable side effect: Since the player's normal movement controls are now adjusting the camera instead, the player character becomes essentially fixed in place until it is released, and they may be vulnerable to enemy attacks. Some games will switch back to normal control if the player takes damage during Freelook mode, or allow limited evasive maneuvers without interrupting the Freelook. Other games may even allow the player to use their weapons/attacks in Freelook mode, enabling this function to provide precision aiming with projectile weapons (like everyone's favorite, the Sniper Rifle).

While the inevitable Camera Screw makes this a common feature in 3D games, it actually predates the development of 3D: Some 2D games provide a dedicated "look" button that allows the player to scroll their view of the level in a given direction (often with an accompanying sprite animation), and sidescrollers sometimes allow the player to hold Up or Down to scroll their view vertically (assuming the player is standing still first), as those directions are otherwise of little use in the sidescrolling genre.

This is not to be confused with games that provide player movement and "free" camera control on separate analog sticks so the player can adjust them simultaneously; a Freelook button is a means of toggling between player movement and camera control, usually because simultaneous control over both is not otherwise allowed (or in some cases, even possible).

Compare Camera Lock On, Camera Centering, Free Rotating Camera.


2D examples Edit

  • Aero the Acro Bat: Holding the X button enabled the player to look around in any direction while Aero stood in place, with accompanying sprite animation.
  • Commander Keen: Keen could look Up or Down while standing in place, with accompanying sprite animation.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic could look Up or Down while standing in place.
  • The SNES Shadowrun game, which was isometric.

3D examples Edit

  • Dragon Quest VIII: Around towns, dungeons, and other non-combat areas.
  • Epic Mickey: A first-person perspective with greater precision for using Paint and Thinner.
  • In the trilogy of Jak and Daxter games, this doubles as a means of precision aiming for projectile attacks like Yellow Eco or the Sniper Rifle.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and all 3D Zelda games since then, have had a freelook function that also doubles as a means of precision aiming for tools like the Bow or Hookshot. Holding the shoulder button at the same time allows Link to sidestep left or right without leaving the freelook mode.
    • In Skyward Sword, Link can maneuver in any direction in Freelook mode, as the freelook is handled exclusively by motion control.
  • In the Game Cube Metroid Prime titles, the R button provided this function, allowing the player to look/scan/shoot vertically, at the cost of Samus not being able to move around. Metroid: Other M provides similar functionality by pointing the Wii Remote at the screen, allowing the player to look around (and shoot missiles) from a first-person perspective.
  • Kingdom Hearts: A first-person perspective, but the player cannot move or attack while using it.
    • In Kingdom Hearts II it was possible to move in the first person view, but attacking returned the player to normal third-person view.
  • The world maps in Mario Party and New Super Mario Bros have a button that enables the player to scan the board without moving their piece/character.
  • Spyro the Dragon: An over-the-shoulder perspective.
  • Super Mario 64, and Super Mario Sunshine, the latter allowing the player to aim FLUDD's spray nozzle at targets.
  • Tomb Raider: An over-the-shoulder perspective.
  • Metal Gear Solid
  • In Banjo-Tooie, the "Amaze-O-Gaze Glasses" are an optional item that allows first-person view to zoom in or out.
  • Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., at least in the PC version, requires the player to hold the camera-mode button to look around.
  • Operation Flashpoint and the later Arm A games allow the player to look away from where his gun is pointing with the Alt key.

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