That’s not fair.

That’s the first word that came to my mind the other day while playing Resident Evil 5: Lost in the Nightmares. The dlc where you can visit the spencer mansion once more and see what was going on before the events of the game. There’s a boss fight at the end, and the game throws you a couple of QTE (quick time events) where you barely have a second to react at them. Take too much time and the boss will hurt you and drain your energy badly.

All right, no prob, that’s fine, it’s an action game and it makes sense that the game wants to test your reflects. It is cheap, but i can live with it. Then i started to play Riviera: The Promised Land. Turns out that every time you open a chest with a trap you have to enter a quicktime event code of sorts, press a bunch of buttons the screen shows you in a certain time or you get hit by the trap. Mind you, the game does give you more time to react, but still, some of them can be quick enough to end before you finished pressing the sequence.

Is this really the “ultimate” form of interaction videogames can reach? The best one? The most proper one? A lot of people should think so, because there is a good ammount of games with this kind of gameplay these days. Remember all those lousy sega cd/3do games that made you press buttons in a certain moment in order to advance in the game? Their legacy lives, now is just more shiny and good looking, and with less bad live-action sequences.

Actually, the game responsible for this explosion of “press (x) or die” games is Yu Suzuki’s brainchild Shenmue, the term “Quick Time Event” was coined with that game, and many other games have wasted no time in following this path. Some have done it well, but most of them seem to try to integrate this in the lousiest ways possible. The most infamous example for me, and is a recent one, had to be a game i love and enjoy a lot, Bayonetta. There aren’t many of these sequences, and not all of them are anything to make a big fuss, but there’s a couple that you will surely going to remember for a long time. Some of them are designed following verbatim the “press this or die” mechanism, this wouldn’t be bad per se if the game at least gave you a warning that they are coming, the problem is that some come right out of nowhere, giving the player no time at all to give a proper reaction. Thankfully this doesn’t break the game at all, but it does create a very annoying beginners trap, and is sure to give you the first continue “skull” in your screen, and quite early on.

Why is this happening? Who keeps saying yes to this awful gameplay decisions? Yeah, my post is more of  visceral reaction than a proper reflexion of this kind of gameplay mechanic, but to this day i still fail to see why is there such an obsession with making us behave like trained monkeys that need to press buttons at certain moments, or else we get an electric shock as punishment. They eventually become a memorization thing, not a reflex test, and that just breaks completely their reason to exist, unless game programmers are expecting me to read their minds. Even there some games will throw you a curve ball and keep changing the buttons to press just to keep teasing you. In essence a lot of games depend of memorization, be of enemy patterns, command input or other related actions, all that said i just wonder, what’s the point of forcing me learn when to press a certain button over and over ? Where’s the skill there?  Call me old or slow, but i’m tired of seeing such little imagination in developers when trying to implement this. I’m no damn monkey (who are very intelligent creatures by the way forced to do some stupid stuff)  i’m  just somebody trying to have fun with my games.

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One Response to “That’s not fair.”

  1. Justinzero Says:

    I don’t really mind QTE so much, but it has to be used properly. I’m annoyed with games that rely on it too much for dramatic effect (I’m looking at you Kratos!), or use it as an obvious filler device to move the plot along.

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