Friday, November 11, 2011

Modern games have too many cutscenes.

Sorry this is about an hour late guys.  Also, despite my current trend of writing articles about what I don't like about modern games, I still love a good amount of games that came out this generation.  I have issues with older games too, it's just these are the topics I've been in the mood to write lately.
I also know that this story and my previous story aren't exactly the most Nintendo related articles on the internet, but I'll get back to Nintendo eventually.  Don't worry.  Now onto today's topic of discussion!

Story is an important part of games.  Without it, players would be confused on why they're even playing the game.  Even in some of the most basic games like Super Mario Bros., there's still some form of story present to motivate the player.  Stories in games started out simple, with save the princess probably being the most famous example, but as time went on, they became more and more complex.  Due to the complex nature of these new stories, cutscenes started to become a common sight in multiple games, especially RPGs.  However, I feel like the ample amount of cutscenes in modern games is cutting into the enjoyment of games.

The genre that's the biggest offender of cutscenes ruining my enjoyment of a game is probably RPGs, especially Final Fantasy.  Whenever I try to play a modern RPG, like Final Fantasy, I find myself getting frustrated that I can't play for long periods of time without the game interrupting me so I can watch a scene that I couldn't care less about. It's especially frustrating when it happens every few battles or every few steps.  There's a problem when I spend more time watching the game than actually playing the game, and that's how I feel when playing a lot of RPGs.

It doesn't help that stories in RPGs generally aren't exactly top notch, especially JRPGs. Sure, they get the job done a vast majority of the time, but that doesn't stop them from being cheesy and corny.  I wouldn't have a problem with cheesy stories if they didn't try to force it down my throat, though, but if I'm forced to sit through a barrage of cutscenes telling a horrible story, then I'm not going to be a happy camper.  In fact, it usually makes me lose interest in the game.

Seriously?  Another cutscene?

Excessive amounts of cutscenes aren't exclusive to RPGs though; many genres in the gaming industry have games where cutscenes bombard you constantly, with the most famous example probably being Metal Gear Solid 4.  While these games aren't as common as their RPG counterparts, they still exist.

I know a lot of you are probably going to be saying, "Adam, if you don't like cutscenes so much, you can just skip them."  Yes, it is true that in many games cutscenes are skippable, but since story is such an important part of games, I don't want to feel like I'm missing out on such an important section of a game.  I like to know what's happening and why I'm doing what I'm doing, and skipping cutscenes would deprive me of that knowledge.

I love story in games, don't get me wrong, but the main reason I play a game is to play the game.  It sounds like common sense, I know, but in the last ten years, I've found that I've been watching some games more than I've been playing them.  I know this is going to sound cliche, but if I wanted to watch a movie, I'd watch a movie.

So what would be my ideal way of telling a story in a game?  I'd say do it like Portal 2.  If you've never played Portal 2, then let me tell you how it tells its story.  The game never interrupts you to tell you a piece of information, and instead, the characters talk while you're solving puzzles and traversing through the abandoned laboratories.  You also get a sense of the background just by looking at the environments.  You can tell that the area the game takes place in was once a state of the art laboratory, but has since been forgotten and left behind.

How to do in game story right.

Sure, Portal 2 doesn't have the most complex storyline ever, but I wish more games would take that route of story telling.  If a game tells a story through the environments and gameplay majority of the time, then I wouldn't mind a few cutscenes.

I guess that's why my favorite game genre is platformer and my favorite game developer is Nintendo.  For the most part, platformers and Nintendo games don't have storylines that require cutscenes, and I appreciate them for that.

1 comment:

  1. That's how i feel too, for me these cutscene are counter productive. There is few game i stopped to play because i had too much cutscene. Plus now few games makes their cutscene unskipable ... so even if i would like to skip it and just continue to play without even bother of the story, i cant.