To say that a visually stunning game is automatically great because of the graphics is wrong – gameplay is just as if not more important as you want the player to feel like they need to play the game.
A lot more emphasis is put on how visually appealing a game is. With some games it is necessary to develop this aspect, primarily fighting games, the game world is such a small focused area that the characters and arenas have to look up to scratch or they’ll lose out to another game.
It does take a lot of effort to make the game look shiny and polished and it can improve the experience but its not always enough. While graphics have developed from the fat 2D little plumber side scrolling his way through the countryside to save a princess, to a highly detailed 3D plumber with shiny buttons on his dungarees to keep them up and even the inclusion of stitching for realism is a big step up. For example take a look at the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and compare it to Twilight Princess: The game world is the same but with updated graphics (and yes it is mirrored so that you swing your sword right handed instead of link being left handed again). Not really a bad thing except for the fact that it felt as though you were playing the same game with a few differences. I’d much prefer to replay Ocarina of time over Twilight Princess.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think that the graphics can really add to a game as long as it makes the whole thing more immersive. Its when you have to suffer a cut scene for an interaction with an NPC.
My main gripe, and the point of this post is the amount of time cut-scenes take up in games nowadays. Cinematics used to be used to bridge a gap between the games standard graphics and the story. In Final Fantasy VII it was very well done. It was able to show the game world with that extra level of detail to really impress. Each FMV sequence lasted – at most – around 2 minutes and would have looked crummy in the standard graphics. When Sephiroth drops in on Aeris it wouldn’t have quite the same effect if he was his normal blocky self.
But when the game play ties the cut scenes together you are no longer playing a game.you’re watching an interactive movie. Fable 3, Tekken 6 and Metal Gear Solid 4, I’m looking at you. The cinematics often last longer than the amount of play time you’ve just had. I remember starting up Tekken 6 and the 360 pad had turned itself off due to how long the cut-scene was. Before you finally saw some action. The fight lasted around five minutes with waves of enemies running straight for me…then more cut scene. Another 20 minutes or so. The pad turned off again. Balls to that.
Fable 3 had so much promise….start a revolution, become king, destroy evil. But once again you cant just play the game. You have to go through the cut-scene as you cant skip through and get to the action. The game wasn’t even that good, it was way too over simplified on the RPG front as character customisation allowed you to up all of your stats regardless of how you played. Bring back the old Fable with your skills develop depending on how much you use them, just like it would in real life. Goddamn you Molyneux.
MGS4 took so much time to install each disk just for the cinematic sequences.
Granted they were excellently done but Id like to play the game, and it had more breaks than American Football – Why? The game series is brilliant and I can understand that you want it to look all fancy with your camouflage actually blending with you surroundings.
But the graphics are pretty much the same you’ve just taken away control from the player for no reason.
I don’t mind it when games will take a pause to see out a set piece, and still allow you to have control and witness it while retaining the fact that you are that character. I loved Bioshock for it, the cinematic sections amount to around 7 and a half minutes and that includes the ending. The rest is all in game and looks fantastic.
All in all, you don’t need to break up the players game time that much, its just irritating. If I wanted to watch a movie I’d just watch a movie!! – Mr Bubbles