Cutscenes in Video Games

The past three games I’ve been playing (Wipeout Pulse, Pursuit Force, Luminous Arc) didn’t have any cutscenes. Well, Luminous Arc has these text dialogue moments but I don’t really count them as cutscenes. And you know what I realized? For me personally, a game without a cutscene just feels… empty, and unrewarding.
Say what you will about how interactive storytelling in HL2 is perfect and how boring it is to have a game that’s like MGS4. Me, personally, its just so much more rewarding to watch awesome cutscenes in a game after having worked hard to accomplish my objectives. Especially if the game is really challenging, those cutscenes really make me feel like I earned something. I earned cool cinametic sequences with good voice acting.

Of course, there are disappointments to be had if those cutscenes are terrible but as non-interactive as those scenes are, I like watching them. Sure, games are meant to be played, but I often find it relaxing to take a break from it once a while by watching what the game offers you. Some people may find them boring but me, I find them I’m more immersed into the game’s universe and its characters. It’s also just cool-looking.

As long as the cutscenes are skippable and are entertaining, I really don’t mind them at all. But when they’re not there, especially in an rpg, I dunno why, but to me, it just feels empty. I’m not Yatzee; I actually like playing games AND watching them as well. I also don’t mind it when the cutscenes are pre-rendered cause hey, if it looks awesome that way, why not?

WHAT ABOUT THEM INTERACTIVE CUTSCENES?

Two games instantly pop in my head when I think of interactive cutscenes: God of War and Resident Evil 4. What do I think of them? I think they’re really cool at first but if they’re overused, man, they can be annoying. RE4 was borderline annoying in fact. Sometimes, I’m just lazy and I just want to watch what happens. Must I really press the right button to continue watching it?

Speaking of which, I hate it when I have to do the whole thing again just cause I pressed the wrong button. That really blows. Why can’t it be like in Die Hard Arcade where if you press the wrong button, you just face different consequences, not a gameover screen? For example, you get hurt or you have to face more enemies… Having to watch the whole cutscene again to correctly follow the button prompt… yea, I don’t like that too much.

I’m also not THAT fond of HL2 style of storytelling. It just doesn’t hook me all that much. Silent protagonists can still immerse me into the game’s universe (e.g. Zelda, Dragon Quest VIII), but for some reason, it just doesn’t give me that emotional pull. Maybe I’m not that imaginitive or whatever but I just like watching my characters interact with one another and showing their own emotions with cool camera angles and stuff. And the thing about HL2, when you replay the game, you have to endure the whole dialogue thing again. You can’t skip anything and it can feel just a bit too scripted.

BUT WHEN THE CUTSCENES ARE BORING…

The most recent example I can think of is GTAIV. I’m sorry but for the most part, I thought the cutscenes in GTAIv were boring as well. They were just filler cutscenes, just so you could kill the next person. Most characters lacked that vibe (except for awesome Little Jacob) and the dialogue was thus just uninteresting. By the second half of the game, I was actually skipping through most of the cutscenes. Cutscenes should not be boring and they shouldn’t just show scenery for like 5 seconds (I’m looking at you, FFXII). I like the fact that anything can happen in these cutscenes and anything should happen. They should be beautiful, impressive, but most important of all, entertaining.

So yeah, I’m the type of guy who actually likes games like MGS2 and FFX. I actually like cutscenes as long as they’re entertaining. IN fact, I prefer these non-interactive cutscenes to HL2-esque storytelling. Maybe I’m in the minority here but that’s just me.

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