Quick Time Events. Ever since God of War and Resident Evil 4 exploded
onto the scene with button-prompt sequences of gore and horror, the
industry has shown its sheep-like nature and incorporated these Gotcha!
moments into games without thinking about how they make an
interactive experience better. Many gamers have adjusted to the fact
that every cutscene now has an awful series of play buttons throughout, but I
personally would like to cram all the QTEs in the world into a space
shuttle full of cobras and launch them directly into the sun if it meant
I'd never have to see another one again.
That said, it's not impossible to come across decent use of QTEs. Indeed, before Resident Evil 4 set the standard at the advent of 2005, the mechanic was most prominently-used by the Dreamcast's crown jewel, Shenmue. In fact, it was Yu Suzuki, that game's director, who coined the term "Quick Time Event." Suzuki put the gimmick to good use throughout Shenmue, allowing protagonist Ryo Hazuki to do everything from tossing drunkards around in bar brawls to saving little girls from incoming soccer balls. One of the reasons the game is so beloved today is that it allowed the player to engage in such a wide variety of scenarios, many of which were supported with smartly-designed QTEs.
Good QTEs didn't end with Shenmue, however, even though sometimes it seems that's the case. Like God of War, other Playstation heavyweights have managed to use QTEs to enhance a game experience. I think it's only fair that we look at a few of those, as well as some alternatives to these timed button-prompts for cinematic flair in games.
I recently had the chance to sit down and play some Heavy Rain while my brother-in-law (who had already beaten the game) provided some running commentary. Heavy Rain is one of a handful of games on the PlayStation 3 that makes me jealous of those who own one. In 2007, I played the first hour of Indigo Prophecy (the fourth first hour review ever!), also be developer Quantic Dream. I really enjoyed it and went on to beat the game within a few days. While the game had plenty of flaws, I thought it was still a fun experience that brought me on a slightly hilly ride of emotions (that basement level in the precinct was so creepy!).
Without knowing anything about Heavy Rain I wanted to play it. I guess that's the most any developer could ask for, Heavy Rain isn't a sequel to Indigo Prophecy (commonly known as Fahrenheit outside the U.S.), it's not even on the same set of consoles, but I still counted down the weeks until it would arrive.
Heavy Rain's arrival came and went though and it wasn't until last weekend that I finally sat down and played it. I wish I could have set aside a solid hour along with a notepad or voice recorder to do a proper first hour review, but alas, sometimes you just take an opportunity when given it.
Night Trap was a controversial full-motion video game released on a variety of CD-based systems in the early 90's. It serves as a great reminder to people who wish to defend against video game censorship in the United States as the game's leading opponents: Joe Lieberman and Herb Kohl, are still serving in the Senate 15 years later. Night Trap is pretty timid compared to some games nowadays and mostly attracted attention because it used real actors (if you could call them that) in pajamas and had a vampire blood sucking scene. There have undoubtedly been hundreds of scenes of vampires sucking the blood of a young woman out in film and even on TV over the years, but Night Trap gets targeted because why?
Anyways, a little about my experience with the game. I actually beat Night Trap a few years ago, it was an epic moment in my video game career and a story I'll be able to retell for ages. I first played it when it was initially released on the Sega CD back in 1992. Even then I realized how bad this game was, the control is simply horrid and the full motion video is anything but that. My friend and I played it because we were young and intrigued about the notion of the possibility of breasts in a video game. Of course, there isn't any nudity but we liked to think that if we beat the game, we would be duly rewarded. If you consider the opportunity to kill Dana Plato a great reward though, well, you will love this game. Now on to the first hour review of Night Trap for the PC!