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Quick enough for quick time?
Posted on Wednesday, February 25 2009 @ 04:30:20 Eastern

So what's everyone's thoughts on quick time events?

Personally, I'm not very fond of them, unless they're done right. How they're done right though is a good question because everyone probably has different opinions as to how it should be done. I've got my opinion on how they should be done.

When Resident Evil 4 first came out to the Nintendo Game Cube back in 2005, I thought this game was absolutely amazing. I had been following this game for a good two years, watching it's development process and ogling any screenshot I could get my eyes on. When I received a DVD of actual game play footage of the game (in a gaming magazine I bought), I did as The Lonely Island's one particular song says, I "jizz, in, my pants".

When watching the footage of the game, what particularly impressed me was the action commands. Approach a gate and a green "A" icon appears on screen, press it and Leon jumps right over. Approach a window, the same icon appears and you can jump on out. An enemy is stunned before you, the same icon appears and Leon can deliver a quick but devastating spinning roundhouse kick.

This appealed to me so much because it added so much more action and diversity to the game, and all it was, was simply pressing a button at a certain point. Later on, you might have to press A+B, or L+R, or one of the L or R buttons by themselves. It really just added more to the game, making it more action packed and faster paced.

But as of late I notice a lot of video games of today try and do these "quick time events" but are usually criticized for it by reviewers and gamers alike. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Spider-Man 3, 007: Quantum of Solace, Batman Begins, the God of War franchise, the list really goes on.

Some of these games should be criticized for using such mechanics. In a way, it just feels extremely lazy on the developer's behalf. It's as if they are trying to remove gameplay by adding in fancy visuals and animation at the sequence of a certain scripted button being pressed, hopefully to make the player(s) "ooh" and "aah" instead of actually playing.

We all know The Force Unleashed had difficult boss battles, but I felt it to be really annoying and in a way, disrespectful that I spend so much time kicking the crap out of a certain boss, only when they reach a certain amount of health I have to press buttons in a certain correct order so I can watch Starkiller kick the crap out of them with unique abilities that I'm not able to do in actual gameplay. If I fail to press one of these buttons the boss counters and oh noes, I have to repeat the entire scripted sequence, move for move, animation for animation.

Another bad example I can recall is Spider-Man 3, fighting the Sandman in the tunnels. I'm beating the crap out of him and I jump about, I don't know, maybe five in-game meters away from him and suddenly the game tells me to press A. I press A and suddenly, Spider-Man is in Sand Man's face (like, teleportation style yo) to grab Sand Man and slam his head against a moving train. It didn't even look cool and the transition to it just felt stupid. Lazy design in my opinion.

I'm probably going to offend someone here (I don't mean to) but I'm also not too fond of the God of War series because of these quick time events. I stun a boss or something and then I get to perform these moves by pressing certain buttons in a row. I will admit, it looks pretty damn awesome to stab a giant monster in the eye and then follow up with a devastating attack to his throat, but at the same time it doesn't really feel like I'm playing the game if that makes sense, but more or less just watching an awesome sequence.

[Edit/Update] How could I forget? The new Prince of Persia, ah yes, that game was full of quick time events. From grappling with enemies, to blocking, to the combat itself. The combat looked insane (as the developers said in a development video, inspired by Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children) and in such development video the developers claimed no quick time events would be in this game. But the combat itself felt extremely "quick time", pressing a single button to do radical moves. Press circle to toss the enemy up into the air, press triangle to have Eleka jump up after them with a powerful magical attack. Indeed, it looks cool, it looks very cinematic, but it just doesn't feel like gameplay.

I think Resident Evil 4 is probably the only game which I believe has perfected the use of quick time events. Sure, there are cases in RE4 which look like we're just watching stuff, but I think the point of a "quick time event" is it has to be "quick". Stun an enemy, press A to quickly kick him in the face. Open window or ledge? Press A to jump or drop down from it. A ladder nearby? Press A to kick it down.

It seems simple but at the same time, it's quick, it doesn't really interrupt the gameplay and it feels like it's actually a part of the gameplay. That's the genius of it, really.

 

 

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