The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 12
This blog is not about Ryse. Well, in the big scheme of
things it isn't. I don't know why but Ryse: Son of Rome seems to get a lot of
criticism. Some of it is blatant and obvious, and some of it is subtle and
discreet. It's almost like people hear you're playing it and they snicker at
you behind your back. As I play through the game I often wonder if I'm playing
same game as the harshest critics or am I missing something. It's neither the
best nor the worst game I've ever played - it is a fair game though. And it does introduce a change to the
traditional Quick Time Event (QTE) that I believe is a step in the right
direction, or at the very least, adopts a nice little method of making those of
us who suck at Quick Time Events from hating the game for this reason, and this
Before I jump into the fire, I will say this in defense of
Ryse. The combat system reminds me somewhat of the Batman Arkham games - how
you fight multiple opponents at once and can string together these multi-hit
combos. It worked really well in the Arkham games, and it works really well in
Ryse. One of the coolest things I've seen in the game was reminiscent of a
particular scene from 300. In Ryse, the Romans move together in this
"tightly-knit phalanx formation" with you in command. The enemy archers launch
a barrage of flaming arrows, and when you block, your squad takes refuge behind
their shields, leaving you a narrow slit of visibility. I dunno, just hearing the
thwack of the arrows in your shield and seeing the flaming arrows burn, while
you lower your guard and launch your own counter-attack. It was nicely done.
Definitely an "Aw, yeah!" moment.
But we're not here to talk about Ryse, remember. We're here
to talk about how Ryse made a relatively simple change to the traditional Quick
Time Event and vastly improved the experience, at least for me...and who knows,
maybe you too?
Before I proceed, it might be prudent to at least first talk
about what a Quick Time Event (QTE) is and how I really feel about them.
In video games, a
quick time event (QTE) is a method of context-sensitive gameplay in which the
player performs actions on the control device shortly after the appearance of
an on-screen prompt. It allows for limited control of the game character during
cut scenes or cinematic sequences in the game. Performing the prompted action
improperly or not at all results in the character's failure at their task and
often in an immediate game over.
The term "quick
time event" is attributed to Yu Suzuki, director of the game Shenmue which
used the QTE feature to a great degree. They allow for the game designer to
create sequences of actions that cannot be expressed through the game's
standard control scheme, or to constrain the player into taking only one
specific action at a critical moment. While some uses of QTE have been
considered as favorable additions to gameplay, the general use of QTE has been
panned by journalists and players alike, as these events can break the flow of
the game and force the player to repeat sections until they master the event. (courtesy
If you've been a gamer for any length of time, chances are
you have played a game that uses QTE. They're quite popular. Some of my most
recent (and favorite) games that have used them are The Walking Dead and Mass
Effect 2 and 3.
To summarize, a specific button or controller motion flashes
on the screen and you have a split second to mimic the response or something
bad happens. Usually death or serious bodily harm.
You can find plenty of opinions and postings about
QTEs, and certainly this is true of how Ryse implements the strategy. Some gamers
love them. Some gamers hate them. I happen
to like them...or the concept of them. But, if I'm being honest...I suck at them. I
really do. I don't know how many games I've played that use them that frustrate
me to no end because I can't get past a particular Quick Time Event. God of
War, I'm looking at you.
And I don't know what's worse - the games where you fail it
and die, or the games where you fail it and it basically makes you start a particular
sequence over. Either way, you're starting over.
So, while I like the idea of a Quick Time Event being used
to add a certain degree of interactivity to a particular scene, I am not a fan
of them when they obstruct forward progress and punish those of us who might
not be as nimble with the controller.
Ryse uses Quick Time Events as an element of its combat
sequences, specifically when you pull off a "finishing move". But what separates
it from some of the others, it doesn't necessarily punish you if you don't pull
it off correctly...the action continues and all...you just don't get credit (or the
extra points) for pulling off the move.
To illustrate how the game uses this technique - whenever an
enemy sustains enough damage a skull appears above their head. If you pull the right
trigger, it initiates the "finishing move". The bad guy character flashes
either blue or yellow, and you hit the corresponding button. Now if you hit the
right color throughout the move, you get max points and are treated to a Centurion
Execution. If you screw it up, like I tend to do, you get a Recruit Execution. The
best I can tell, the only difference (besides the one to your ego) is the
amount of points you earn. But the bottom line...the important factor to consider...it
doesn't disrupt the flow of the game, yet it still adds a certain degree of
interactivity to the experience. I make every effort to get the combination
right, but I don't want to be blocked when I don't get it.
While this video kind of mocks the QTEs from Ryse, just
think about how much it would suck for those of us who might not be all that
great at them, if we were somehow punished every time we failed one. And also,
the clip shows off the "tightly-knit phalanx formation" I mentioned earlier.
Whether you're a fan of Quick Time Events or not, or you agree
with how Ryse adopted and adapted the concept to fit their game, the fact they implemented
an innovative and fresh approach with this popular feature is praiseworthy,
especially for those of us who enjoy the feature...but just aren't very good at it.