I think games need to get back into offering gameplay that sucks you into the story and graphics and sounds of the game instead of all of the work looking as if it's been put onto making the countless cutscenes look as cinematic as possible.
Posted on Monday, July 9th, 2012 at 9:52 PM by Guest
With the announcement today that Resident Evil 6 will feature over four hours of cut scenes (compared to the slightly more reasonable 1-2 hours in the previous 2 games), it got me thinking… Are games becoming less interactive as the narrative starts to steal the focus?
Role-playing games (such as the Final Fantasy series) have always been reliant on a heavy narrative to drive the gameplay, and have always been fairly beautiful to look at. Bioware and Bethesda on the other hand, have always attempted to make lengthy conversation a little more interactive, but aside from the option to change the narrative slightly (often with very little change to the overall plot) they remain thinly-veiled interruptions to the action of the game. Un-skippable cut scenes are the worst culprit though, and although they often disguise loading screens and serve as a necessary distraction, they are often longer and more involved than they need to be.
Another interruption to the standard gameplay includes mandatory “tutorial” missions. I recently played Yakuza: Dead Souls (a zombie themed rendition of the Japanese mobster game), and spent the first two hours watching cut scenes, and taking part in tutorial missions that had me repeating the same action for a finite number of attempts, only to have the results of that not count towards anything, and to have to repeat the same actions again to clear the room. Is this an attempt to make the game last longer, so that the hours invested in it seem impressive?
I do understand that games are trying to compete with other media in an attempt to become more mainstream and respected by a wider audience, and it is clear that more money is being spent on script writers and reputable actors in an effort to kick-start a “Golden Age of Gaming” as the industry struggles in the current financial climate. Any additional interest in the gaming industry (especially positive) can only be seen as a good thing.
Heavy Rain seemed to find it’s place in this rocky territory, and was critically acclaimed (and rightly so), but it really lay without a genre of it’s own, becoming an interactive story that immersed you and involved very little user interaction, but the interaction required was intuitive and well realised. Previously, we had to settle for the abysmal Night Trap on the Sega Mega CD if we wanted an interactive story to play.
So is “More Story – Less Gameplay” the way forward? Certain developers seem to think so, and with more sequels and remakes being produced over the past couple of years, anything that breathes fresh blood into the industry can only be seen as a good thing. There needs to be balance though; we can’t be expected to play a 40-hour game when we have spent more than half of it simply “watching” the game, rather than playing.
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