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Veteran Member - Level 14
I'm pretty well worn out mentally and physically after working 10 1/2 hours with a heat index of 103. So my blog tonight is a little bit on the short side tonight. However, it is about an issue that has been bothering me with games I have been playing recently.
I've been a gamer for more than 20 years. I've seen nearly every imaginable control scheme, play mechanic, or interactive sequence games have utilized over the years to bring a game to life. Yet, I have to tell you, there is one that has popped up in the last 10 years that irritates me beyond belief. That mechanic is the QTE, or quick time entry, sequence.
Now, don't get me wrong, the idea of what QTEs are meant to do is fine by me, and that is to keep the player involved in extended sequences and give the player a sense of having control of what happens. However, this mechanic is one that only works its magic in small doses, where its use does not become the focus, rather an enhancement to what is occurring. A good example of QTEs being implemented in a good way would be Mass Effect 2 and 3, where options for paragon or renegade sequences present themselves in cut scenes and allow the player to change what transpires. I can handle minimalistic usage such as this.
The problem I see is that every developer seems to be utilizing this mechanic nowadays. It first picked up in popularity with Shenmue, then into other action oriented games such as Resident Evil 4 and God of War. Later, it made its way into Call of Duty 3 and caught fire with the FPS genre, with several games utilizing it. Now it seems that I cannot escape the usage of QTE sequences. In fact, of the five games that I am presently playing through (Lego Batman 2, Spec Ops the Line, Bayonetta, Tomb Raider: Legend, and Lollipop Chainsaw) only one does not place a high emphasis upon QTEs.
Again, this wouldn't be such a bad thing if these sequences were nuanced and failure only meant taking a little bit of damage, but in three of the five games, failure in a QTE means death and having to restart a section over and over again until the sequence is completed to perfection. Not only is this a dreadfully annoying experience, but now QTEs are detracting from the game because I am unable to watch the cool action sequences since I must watch for the stupid input command to flash and hope that I can quickly enter it before it's too late.
I honestly could care less about having "control" over how bad ass my character is as they make some Hollywood style jump across a massive gap and need to utilize their surroundings to complete it, or if an enemy is attacking me and I must avoid their attacks in a beautifully scripted manner. The fact of the matter is, the completion of the sequence is the inevitable outcome, so why can't the sequence just play out, avoiding crappy input sequences and allowing me to enjoy the scene that has been so intricately choreographed? If my playing has no real effect on the outcome has no effect, is there a reason for me to be doing it? When did it become taboo for an awesome scene in a video game to be allowed be nothing more than an awesome scene?
I just feel wish that developers would re-examine this mechanic rather than spamming it every chance they get within games. I feel like many games would benefit from a streamlined process rather than extended QTE sequences. Perhaps it could just be me, but I feel as if I am being QTE'd to death.
What is your opinion on QTE sequences?
Well, I actually like QTE on games like bayonetta where the focus is in action and perfectly timed combos, but you are right when you say that it's a gameplay style that seems to be getting into every cutscene of most games.
In my experiences, QTE sequences are melded into a cinematic of some sort. I, for one, enjoy watching cinematic sequences. Watching. The QTE's take my focus away from the "good stuff" of a game. When I sit back to watch, a prompt pops up and I have to quickly grab my controller before time runs out or I die. Its silly, really.
I don't mind them in-game though. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance does it pretty good with the Silver Surfer/Galactus fight.
I hate QTEs for those exact same reasons. Especially the ones that end up in death if you fail. Shadows of the Damned was notorious for this. One of their hard monsters, if you let it catch you, instigated a QTE to free yourself. If you failed, it was instant death. It was bloody annoying!
I think it depends on how it's implemented, like you said. I'm playing Spiderman: Web Of Shadows and there are scenes like this during each boss fight. I thought they were way cool for a bit, but they get old pretty quick.
I don't mind them when they're done well (Resident Evil 4, and Spider-Man 3 have some of my favorite QTEs). What drives me crazy is the way Battlefield 3 does it. "Push X to punch, then watch three more punches, push A to kick, then watch more 2 more punches".
It really takes away the feeling of control when you're only pushing a button for 3 out of 10 moves.
QTE in Heavy Rain was pretty crazy, I'm not used to reading anything as fast as I did there, I can't make quick decisions, I need time to think of different possible scenarios, and the best choice!
I agree with you. I can't stand QTEs. I would much rather pay attention to an exciting and impressive cutscene than watch the screen for button prompts, thus missing all the action. Final Fantasy XIII-2 added prominent QTEs for the first time in the series, and they just made me angry and frustrated.
Developers think that they are giving us more control by including them, but I find QTEs to be distracting and in no way fun. I'm aware that there are some people who have no problem with them, but for me, I'd much rather enjoy watching the cutscenes they worked so hard to make. When will developers realize this.
When done right, I don't mind. Resident Evil 4 implemented them perfectly so I never had a problem with that. On the other hand, while I loved Bayonetta, I despised the fact that in the middle of a cutscene a QTE would pop up out of nowhere and I would die. The big difference between Bayonetta and RE4 was that it was no surprise to me when RE4 did it, they used it throughout the entire game, but Bayonetta's cutscenes in which it did it always caught me off guard.
One type of quick time event thing has always annoyed me for some reason: the fact that God of War and a few other games have you press the exact same button for about ten seconds repeatedly.
Don't get me wrong- some qte portions of games can be exciting- as for example, are most of the God of War ones. However, even that excitement dies when you must repeatedly mash the circle button forever.
If you're gonna put a qte in something, at least be like some other games and make the button sequences different and varied each time. Sure, you can only so so much with about seven buttons- but that's six more than one, eh?
I love those pictures.
Great post, and I completely agree; I'm chugging through FF XIII-2 and I can't help but be annoyed that I can't watch the QTE scenes, really...I'm just staring at the bottom of the screen waiting for a picture of a brightly coloured button to pop up. Takes away the impact a bit.
QTEs have definitely worn out their welcome in most instances. I wouldn't mind them if they were used to do some of the amazing cinematic things that happen in God of War 3 (Cronos, anyone?) but other than that they need to go. The one genre that has definitely abused QTEs is the open-world genre (looking at you, Prototype 1 & 2, as well as all Spider-Man games since Spider-Man 2). I'm definitely burnt out on them too though.
I'm all for them in games like God of War (where they exponentially gained in popularity) and the Mass Effect games as you mentioned, but I feel they are unnecessary in FPS, TPS, or open world games. I haven't played too many games lately due to some stuff going on in my life - and maybe it's a good thing if QTEs are dominating many genres.