I do not complain often, but today I assault you with two of my least favorite things in gaming; Mini-games and Quicktime events. There are exceptions, of course, but these two concepts usually never fail to annoy the hell out of me.
First, mini-games. Slots, roulette, puzzles, hacking, driving sections, and the most recent scourge, poker. These add variety to games, according to designers, but they only divert my attention from the true amazing story and game play. The game was designed with a certain play type in mind, and I buy a game intending to play that type. Frustration results when I am forced to play thirty minutes worth of poker to progress further into my game investment.
It doesn’t irritate me as much when the mini-games are optional, even for achievements, but I still think about all the people that will miss out on the main game and its wonderful experiences. When the mini-game actually impedes your progress, so much that you have to try for hours or look it up online, it becomes a horrendous problem. I do not pay for games so I have a reason to bang my head against a wall.
Then there are Quicktime events. Wherever they are, they detract your attention from the amazing output the game is producing through your screen and speakers. You miss amazing moments and wonderful renders because you are focused on a tiny image telling you what to press next. Especially during cut scenes, when I am trying to think about it’s impact on the story and let any realizations or revelations set in. I would love to have an “all quick time events off” button but I realize this will probably never occur in games.
But there are those exceptions, and they do it right.
Take Fallout 3/New Vegas. Although they do suffer from attention stealing mini games, lock picking is an example that should revered by all. It is seamless, fun, and most importantly, quick. It requires just enough thought to produce a challenge without impeding on your grand quest in the wasteland.
On the matter of quick time events, Modern Warfare 2 pulls out all the stops in the finale to make an incredible experience. Obvious SPOILERS, as this examines the ending of the game. You watch Price fighting to the death for you and the truth for your country, and you can see he is making a hopeless attempt. I thought “I should be able to tear this thing out of my chest and help one of the greatest soldiers of all time!” And then, it happened. It was an amazing moment, and I almost put a hole in my controller hoping to save Price from martyrdom sooner and help him to glory. Anyways, there was only one button to press for quick time, allowing you to watch the events unfolding. Also, it returns to normal controls as you throw the knife for victory, allowing you to experience Modern Warfare 2 in it’s ultimate moments as what it is meant to be, a first person shooter, not a button prompt.
thanks for reading,