Angry Robot

You Don't Play it You Watch it

I won’t bore you with the “Great blah blah, Awesome blah blah . By now you can probably tell I can get on their jock pretty quick when I’m ready. But in reading other reviews, I have to agree that the number ratings kinda don’t work for this game. The sum of it’s parts create a strong cinematic effect.
There are so many video games that try to attain this. Why not? It’s the reason why games like Halo 3 end up making more bread than most box office blockbusters. The most obvious way for a game to create this effect is with ever present, but often misused “cutscene”. Gameplay will always be the “make or break” for a title, but if game play were a cake, cutscenes would definitely be the sugary, trans-fatty ulcer inducing, icing.
(God, I love icing)

Some developers use cut scenes as a way to sweep dead carcasses (ahem).. I mean under developed games under a rug of slick FMV sweetness. Like false advertising, there should be a be a law against this.

How many games used their cutscenes to create a whirlpool of buzz only to settle into a dead calm of horrible gameplay. . But when it’s done right a cutscence can suck you in, make you care and invest in a game. Here are few that did that for me…

Final Fantasy 7

Who can forget the time and effort spent leveling up and equiping Aeris.
Who can forget all the diolauge choices you had to make so she would be the love interest for the games protaganist Cloud. All that only to have her get the business end of Sephiroth’s sword halfway through the game. Throw in some tear jerking music and you got one crazy climatic moment.


You can never beat the first one and this is one of the reasons why. Despite its sci-fi roots, the introduction for the flood in original Halo created a suspensful thriller moment that would give any Resedent Evil game a run for its money.

Star Wars KOTOR

There are many examples why the first Knights Of The Old Republic is held in the same caliber as the better half of the movies. For me the perfect example of this was the opening. Of course I know Its hard to screw up a text crawl, but it’s what comes after that puts you in the vain of what you loved about the movies while also setting you up for something new and unknown.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance

Loki is one of my favorite comic villians so to see him and his army of troll tear into Asgard was just a guilty pleasure for me.

3 comments on "You Don't Play it You Watch it"

  1. D says:

    Great post. I agree.. loved the cutscenes in Mass Effect, thought they were the best part of the game – esp. the dialoge wheel and how it worked. every game should have that. And yeah, FFVII and the Halo flood scene… those were great moments! Thanks for adding the YouTube vids, it’s great to see them again.

  2. Nigel says:

    Thanks. The dialouge wheel really does help individualize each game.

  3. Nadine says:

    I am a cutscene whore! I think cutscenes are such a large part of why I love all these new games coming out. For me it’s all about playing a story so I want to have nice juicy bits in between when I play to help me remember that and crave more. Like in Heavenly Sword, I had to force myself to continue just to see the cutscenes because I was so impressed with the graphics, but if there were shorter scenes that game would have been out of my PS3 so fast…

    Thanks for bringing this type of thing up!

Comments are closed.