It’s not uncommon for a cutscene to present us with a different perspective. These sequences can illustrate events through the eyes of several different characters, whether they’re the main protagonist or not. Seeing things from a new angle can not only increase the impact of storytelling, but open up new threads entirely.

When all is said and done, we’re usually returned to our playable character with useful information in tow -– but not always. Sometimes we remain in a different perspective, controlling the actions of a new character, continuing on a different path than the one we felt comfortable with. Sure, it’s jarring. You’re not sure if you have the same abilities, or even whether your path is the same. If you’re thrown into the shoes of a villain, should you assume evil motives? Are there going to be completely new tutorials for this character?

Often, this shift is only temporary, giving you a brief glimpse at the grass on the other side of the fence. Other games keep you in the new shoes for the remainder of the story. It’s not something any other medium can do. You can watch a new main character continue a film narrative, or read from a new character’s perspective in a book, but games allow you to actually dictate events from a completely different perch.

This shifting perspective is a two-headed beast. While in one instance it may give us valuable insight into the mind of a villain or compatriot, another might make us miss the former character all the more. The line between dynamic storyline and critical misstep is a thin one. However, good writing can widen that line, and the games that have are hard to forget.

[Warning: The Following Page Contains Heavy Spoilers For Metal gear Solid 2, Chrono Trigger, Red Dead Redemption, Assassin's Creed, And Halo 2]