|By Shamus||Sep 17, 2014||112 comments|
I’m always saying that games shouldn’t be so concerned about trying to be movies. A good game should tell its story in the flow of gameplay, and anytime the player can put down the controller and continue to proceed should be looked at as a possible failure of the game to do its jobThe are exceptions. TECHNICALLY you can put the controller down when Sam Fisher is hiding from The Bad Guys, but that's not the same thing.. And no, throwing gotcha quicktime events over a cutscene doesn’t solve this problem, it makes it worse. Now I’m playing a really terrible videogame that’s distracting me from the [marginally] more interesting movie. Gameplay ought to have some degree of human decision-making in it, and “Press X to Not Die” isn’t that. I mean, when you’re watching a movie you’re choosing NOT to pause it, but that doesn’t make it a game.
If you are going to use a game as a delivery vehicle for a movie, then this is how you need to do it: You need to make a proper movie. I am irritated to the point of intolerance with games that interrupt our playtime for movies that are bad, poorly-paced, cliche-ridden, ham-fisted, utterly predictable, filled with glaring plot holes, tonally confused, boringly shot, and completely tediousThe Resident Evil series comes to mind. And Fallout 3. And Assassin's Creed 2. And Dead Island. And Thief 2014. And Watch_Dogs. And Far Cry 3. And Mass Effect 3. And... now that I think of it, this list might be too long for a footnote.. The reflexive defense is, “It’s just a game, you’re not supposed to worry about the story!” Which is kind of my point: If the story doesn’t matter, then why are you wasting my time with it? Why did you waste money making this crappy thing that you didn’t want to make and I don’t want to watch?
Spoiler: I don’t think The Last of Us is that great of a movie. It’s leagues ahead of most videogame stories. It’s got solid cinematography, great environments, expressive models, and a decent story to tell. But if this was in the theaters it wouldn’t be a blockbuster or anything. It would be something like World War Z (the movie) or Daybreakers: Competently executed and entertaining, but otherwise unremarkable disposable entertainment.
Like Chris said: Last of Us is the best possible version of a fundamentally flawed design.
Also, BioWare: Watch this to understand everything you did wrong with your “some kid died” moveSpoiler: Everything. You did everything wrong..