Spider-Man Part 10: The Vertical Slice

By Shamus Posted Thursday Apr 4, 2019

Filed under: Retrospectives 76 comments

Next up we get to play through the E3 demo from last year. This scene hasn’t changed very much since that demo. I mean, aside from the silly puddle controversy.

The only notable difference between the E3 demo and the final game is that the E3 demo had Mr. Negative participating in this sequence. In the release version, Mr. Negative doesn’t show up and you just fight his mooks.

I can see why this mission was chosen for the E3 Demo. The entire sequence serves as a vertical slice of the game. We sample a little bit of all the gameplay features in a short time, in a situation where the viewer doesn’t really need to know the story to follow the scene. There are a lot of spectacle-heavy cutscenes, yet the plot doesn’t really progress here and the whole thing could be removed from the game without the player missing out on any exposition or story beats.

The Vertical Slice

Mr. Negative's goons are 'taking over' the Kingpin's property by shooting all of his mooks. I think Mr. Negative needs to read up on how property ownership works, because it doesn't work like this.
Mr. Negative's goons are 'taking over' the Kingpin's property by shooting all of his mooks. I think Mr. Negative needs to read up on how property ownership works, because it doesn't work like this.

Spider-Man arrives at a Fisk Construction building to find Demons wandering around the half-built skyscraper, systematically murdering Fisk’s men.

We get a stealth section where we can pick off the Demon goons. Then we get some straight combat with the Demons. Then we get a few cutscenes to show off how the game can seamlessly transition from cinematics to gameplay. Then we do a bunch of quicktime events to stop several tons of flaming wreckage from landing on helpless civilians below. Then we show off the city and the swinging gameplay in a helicopter chase, which ends with a big action climax that’s about 90% cutscene and 10% gameplay.

This mission is so superfluous to the story and yet so perfect as a trade show demo that it makes me think this section was designed specifically for this purpose and wasn’t part of the story as written. I really dislike showy sequences that show off the cinematography at the expense of gameplay, but I’ll be the first to admit this is an excellent example of the form.

It’s a fun sequence full of slick moments, and I really enjoy playing through it aside from the…

Quick Time Events

Spidey tries to stop this helicopter from taking off by webbing it to whatever this thing is. Instead he winds up with the helicopter flying around the city, causing havoc with this wrecking ball of machinery.
Spidey tries to stop this helicopter from taking off by webbing it to whatever this thing is. Instead he winds up with the helicopter flying around the city, causing havoc with this wrecking ball of machinery.

I know I’ve been whining about this for over a decade. In fact, let me just repeat some of the things I said back in 2009 in my very first column at the Escapist:

Quick time events are those little in-game interludes where the game pops up a prompt for you to PUSH THE BUTTON PUSH IT NOW OR LOSE!  in the middle of an action scene.

From a game design standpoint, I can understand the appeal of the QTE.  They can provide a mild skill-based check for pretty much anything. We have established gameplay conventions for things like shooting, fighting, and jumping. (And now, farting. Thank you so much Peter Molyneux.)  But there’s no established set of mechanics for using webs to wrap up an industrial crane before it topples over and kills hundreds of New Yorkers. A QTE lets you insert a movie scene and dress it up as if it was gameplay. But quick time events aren’t real gameplay in the same way that a picture of a hamburger is not food. It might look tasty enough, but it’s not going satisfy you.

It should be noted that quick time events are first and foremost a memory test, and a reflex test second. As luck would have it, my first experience with several console systems was with games that used quick time events.  If you’re familiar with the Playstation controller then you probably reflexively reach for the top of the gamepad whenever you see a picture of a triangle. But to someone who is new to the system, they might think of that as the “inventory” button, or “enter vehicle” button. If you ask them to hit triangle, their eyes will flick down to the controller.  A QTE doesn’t allow for that sort of thing, which means the new player has to stop playing the game and slam up against this arbitrary challenge until they can identify all the symbols in 250 milliseconds or less. This wouldn’t be bad if this led to them developing an interesting skill, but a QTE has all the depth of playing Simon Says. Because that’s what it is.  Knowing the buttons by heart is a “skill” that comes naturally over time, and there’s no real reason to arrest newcomers until they acquire it.

One thing leads to another, and this enormous construction crane begins to fall over.
One thing leads to another, and this enormous construction crane begins to fall over.

To me, the point of playing videogames is to give the player some sort of authorship over the world. It’s not much, but it’s usually at least as interesting as, “Do I kill this dude using my shotgun or my rocket launcher?”  Players have freedom to make tactical and strategic decisions, to decide how and when to use the abilities at their disposal. They can decide how aggressive they want to be given how much health they have and how terrible they are at this particular game.  There is a gradient of failure (the health bar) that allows them to accumulate and pay off small mistakes without bringing the game to a grinding halt.

But QTEs have none of these features.  The player has no control over the events beyond a simple binary pass / fail. Successfully completing a QTE has the same payoff as not pressing the rewind button when you’re watching a movie.  If you pull it off, you get to see what happens next. And that’s it.

Consider that if a player can hit a quick time button with 98% accuracy, he has an 85% chance of beating an eight-event sequence. (0.988 = 0.85) But if another player is just a little slower and can only hit the buttons 88% of the time, then he’s only got a 35% chance of success. (0.888 = 0.35) A slight difference in skill becomes a massive disparity of outcomes. This is great if you’re trying make one of those games the really separates the hardcore gamers from the filthy casuals when it comes to gaming skill. That “35% chance of success” player is going to be very frustrated and want to quit if there are a lot of chained quick time events in your gameThis is particularly true if each attempt means they have to listen to the same Resident Evil 4 dialog repeated over and over again.. This is terrible and self-defeating game design if you’re trying to make a game to appeal to a large and diverse audience.

These QTEs are very tame, so I've never failed one. I don't know if failure results in a setback or a game over.
These QTEs are very tame, so I've never failed one. I don't know if failure results in a setback or a game over.

But even if you are making a game for the ultra-competitive tryhards of the gaming community, QTEs are still a horrible way to go about it because they’re such mundane tasks that nobody cares if you’re good at them.  Lots of people are bad at parallel parking, but no matter how awesome a parking job your do, people aren’t going to line up on the sidewalk to give you high-fives afterward. Big deal. It’s just a stupid, routine task. It’s either frustratingly difficult or an easily overcome nuisance. Neither of these leads to all-important sensation of having fun through system mastery.

This frustration is exacerbated by the fact that the QTE is usually associated with a pre-set action sequence. The player would love to watch all the spectacular fireworks going on, but they have to keep their eyes glued to one section of the screen in anticipation of the next random button prompt. When the sequence is over they focus back on the action and realize that whatever they missed must have been pretty exciting, and that they weren’t a part of it because they were playing Simon Says at the time.

I think QTEs are a lame crutch and I’m always hoping they’ll go out of style. Having said that, Spider-Man’s QTEs are largely inoffensive thanks to the fact that you can disable them entirely.

They’re Optional so They Don’t Have to be Good, Right?

Oof. The speed-based QTEs require you to flutter a button REALLY fast. So fast I can't really do it reliably. Even when I get it, the action is really uncomfortable on my poor hands.
Oof. The speed-based QTEs require you to flutter a button REALLY fast. So fast I can't really do it reliably. Even when I get it, the action is really uncomfortable on my poor hands.

The QTEs are all over the place in terms of difficulty. Some of them drop into slow motion and show the symbol you need to hit long before the moment comes. It might feel like you need to wait until just the right moment to press the button, but actually you can just tap the given input again and again until the moment comes. There’s no penalty for hitting it early and no penalty for hitting it multiple times.

At the other extreme are the timed “test of strength” moments where Spidey has to (say) stop a speeding car. The game wants you to hit the button really fast. So fast that my old-man hands could only meet the game’s demands about half the time. It was uncomfortable and unpleasant, not to mention putting a lot of wear and tear on a fairly expensive little gizmo.

Thankfully the game has accessibility options to let you disable these button-mashing exercises and instead simply hold the button when prompted.

While I appreciate that we have options to turn this nonsense off, I’m worried this means that QTEs will become even lazier in the future. No matter how stupid or pointless they are, the designer always has the excuse of, “You can disable it if you want.”

This is like complaining to the chef that you found a shoelace in your burrito. “Don’t worry,” he tells you, “I won’t force you to eat it.” Yeah, I get that. I’m not complaining that you’re forcing me to consume something bad, I’m complaining because I wanted you to make me something good.

What’s A Cutscene Without a QTE?

Here the QTE seamlessly transitions back to normal gameplay. I still don't like QTEs, but this one is really well done.
Here the QTE seamlessly transitions back to normal gameplay. I still don't like QTEs, but this one is really well done.

These action sequences look pretty strange if you turn off the QTE system entirely. Apparently the slow-motion moment where you’re supposed to hit the button is built into the cutscene. Which means that without the button prompts there are all of these odd slow-motion moments inserted where they don’t make sense. You might expect a filmmaker to occasionally insert a bit of bullet-time when something fast and exciting happens, but since these slowdowns are for QTE prompts they precede the moment of intense action. Imagine if The Matrix dropped into bullet-time as soon as Neo spotted the agent pointing a gun at him and held that moment for several seconds, but then had all the bullet-dodging happen in real time.

It’s not wrong per se, but it really shows that these cutscenes don’t work as standalone cinema. At the same time, the QTE doesn’t really work as gameplay. This just drives home the point that quick time events are a horrible system that ruins both the gameplay and the cinematics in the name of uniting them.

Mr. No-Name

Your call is important to us. To learn the name of the apparent main villain, press 1. To make a fat joke about Kingpin, press 2. For all other options, PRESS X REALLY FAST TO NOT DIE.
Your call is important to us. To learn the name of the apparent main villain, press 1. To make a fat joke about Kingpin, press 2. For all other options, PRESS X REALLY FAST TO NOT DIE.

The other curious detail about this chapter is that the writer passes on an opportunity to name Mr. Negative for the majority of the audience that doesn’t follow the comics. Like I said earlier in the series, the name “Mr. Negative” is never said or acknowledged in the storyMaybe it’s mentioned in one of the Jameson podcasts? I turned those off once I got tired of the joke.. At one point Spidey is having a phone / Skype conversation with the incarcerated Kingpin and he asks about the leader of the Demons. Kingpin could easily have replied with “Mr. Negative”, but instead he evades the question.

I really don’t understand this. Mr. Negative is Dan Slott’s character. Dan Slott was one of the lead writers on this project. Mr. Negative has only been around for 10 years and has never been adapted for other mediums, which means the vast majority of people don’t know who he is.

Why would the writer not tell us his name?



[1] This is particularly true if each attempt means they have to listen to the same Resident Evil 4 dialog repeated over and over again.

[2] Maybe it’s mentioned in one of the Jameson podcasts? I turned those off once I got tired of the joke.

From The Archives:

76 thoughts on “Spider-Man Part 10: The Vertical Slice

  1. John says:

    Quick time events suck. I don’t run in to them often because I don’t usually play the kinds of games with QTEs in them, but when I do it’s awful. They were the worst thing about Shadow of Mordor when I played that last year. Yes, even worse than, y’know, all the other stuff that’s wrong with that game. Shadow of Mordor is surprisingly systems-driven for a game with pretentions to cinematic-ness, so it’s unfortunate that they chose to make so many of the end-game missions QTE-dependent. This is a game with a complex and, I think, reasonably good combat system, and yet the designers chose to make the final boss fight a series of QTEs. Baffling.

  2. Jack says:

    Just a note that if you pass a QTE 90% of the time, you have only a 43% chance to pass eight consecutive ones. To get a 85% chance of beating eight, you’d need to pass each one 98% of the time.

    1. Baron Tanks says:

      Glad I made sure to check the comments before I double posted :)

    2. tmtvl says:

      Interestingly, you need a 92% accuracy to have a 51% chance to pass.

  3. Gargamel Le Noir says:

    Man, to hell with QTEs. I’ve never met anyone ever who liked them, the most positive reaction I ever heard was along the line of “I don’t mind them too much”. They’re so clearly something to impress the parasitic suits who don’t know enough about videogames to understand actual gameplay.
    Fortunately QTEs seem to be mostly going out of style. Thank the gods for that.

    1. Abnaxis says:

      *raises hand*

      I like them…

      1. Gurgl says:

        It’s bad form to answer a long argument with “I don’t know, it just works”, so QTEs get a bad press by default. Let’s not forget that videogames are an illusion and we all make sacrifices to game design, to varying degrees, in the name of brain-tickling entertainment. QTEs are largely a visceral thing, and you can’t argue visceral.

        Inserted into general gameplay, QTEs are very effective at conveying a sense of effort, panic or urgency: opening a heavy door, pulling a stuck lever, breaking out of a grapple, etc. If charging up the super-attack in Amalur *feels* powerful, then a superb prose of legitimate arguments as to why it’s braindead game design will still be irrelevant.

        We all have examples of otherwise good games / sequences / cutscenes being ruined by QTEs, but nothing is immune to being done or timed poorly.

        1. Abnaxis says:

          The way I see it, QTEs are videogames’ version of shake-cam–good when used properly to convey a sense of chaos, panic, and/or surprise, but they’re easily misused and even if they’re done properly they’ll give 20% of the audience motion sickness.

          1. Mattias42 says:

            Kinda like that analogy, honestly. A tool that does a specific thing, but some people just cannot stand.

            Like…. motion blur, lens flares, film grain or any other of the bunch of graphical tools developed as a direct result of aping cinema. Doesn’t bother everyone, but I know there’s a decent sub-set out there that loathe the entire concept of, well, adding intentional graphic ‘flaws’ like that.

    2. Urthman says:

      The only QTEs I can think of that I’ve ever really enjoyed were in Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones. What made them work was:

      1. The prompt was just a flash, no icon for a game controller button.

      2. The system only ever used one button, it was simply about timing. Hit the button when you see the flash and the character pulls off a cool move.

      3. The penalty for failure was never “reload and try again.” If you missed the timing, all you missed was the quick stealth kill. You’d then just have to fight the enemy normally (which was also fun – key point there as well).

      4. Then they used the exact same system in boss battle cut scenes. Just a flash telling you when to time your special attack, and if you miss you don’t go back to the beginning, you just have to keep fighting until the window of opportunity appears again.

      What was really great about it was that giving you the option of using platforming to sneak up on your enemies and then take them out with a quick finishing move brought together the combat and platforming more successfully than any of the other PoP games.

      1. Gurgl says:

        Let’s not forget that gaming commentators sort of collectively agreed to shit on Call of Duty first-person events, even though the CoD series mastered the idea of player input in cutscenes. Each time there is a scripted sequence where the player must do something real quick, it’s always something obvious and telegraphed that the player would instinctively want to do, using the same inputs as the rest of the game (in before “Press F”).

        So unless the problem is the very idea of a scripted event, unless there is something irreparably wrong with a sequence that really cannot be done in regular gameplay but that you wouldn’t want to happen without the player participating and risking failure, even in a very limited capacity, then we aren’t really allowed to bash QTEs in cutscenes until we stop mocking Call of Duty scripted events.

      2. Echo Tango says:

        The one set of QTEs (or at least that’s what I’m calling them) that are inoffensive, are ones that are built into normal gameplay, using normal buttons for actions that resemble their normal behavior. In Spider-Man itself, Shamus mentioned previously, that if you web-sling to a ledge or other thing, then hit the jump/launch button with good timing, you immediately jump off of that ledge without the normal delay that would come from landing and fully squatting on the ledge in a “neutral” state. If a game normally has one button for attacks, one for parrying, and one for shields, then using those same buttons in a quick-reflex dialog scene for the “aggressive”, “evasive”, and “defensive” speech options, would also count for me. These aren’t obnoxious like normal QTEs, because the player already has muscle-memory from the rest of the game, for what each button does. Sadly, it’s pretty rare that any games do this. :S

        1. Mousazz says:

          I remember Alpha Protocol got quite a bad rap for having a quick-reflex dialog system. Even though all the dialogue options were usually the same (‘professional’, ‘suave’, ‘aggressive’, and sometimes, ‘[do action]’) and mapped to the same buttons… The problem was the same Shamus noted in his Mass Effect: Andromeda retrospective – the player has no way of knowing what exactly Michael Thorton is going to say.

          There was also controversy over one dialogue in The Wolf Among Us, which also had the same timed system, but the prompts were unique summaries in each dialogue segment (just like Mass Effect). The scene had Bigby talk to the lumberjack (I think) in a bar, and the player had one of the dialogue options be to “[glass him]” – a lot of people were surprised when, instead of Bigby offering the lumberjack a glass of alcohol to drink, the character instead smashed the glass over the lumberjack’s head.

    3. Scampi says:

      I didn’t encounter many QTEs at all, and the ones I did, I wasn’t offended by.
      There are only 2 that I remember, though: One are the speed kills in Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, which I liked, because it’s up to the player to decide on activating them (they are obligatory for the boss fights, though, which might be more offensive to some people).
      The other are the sequences in Ninja Blade, where the occuring action is so absolutely balls to the wall insane that it wasn’t even too bad failing one, as it was really fun to watch them, even multiple times.
      For people who don’t know the game (which might be a majority?): There are, among others, sequences where the main character bombs a giant alien worm by blowing up a motorcycle hundreds of feet over ground level after climbing it over falling debris, and another where he lands a plane on a inner city highway using only his (apparently REALLY stable) feet and a grappling hook to brake the machine’s speed.
      Else, there’s not much QTEs I remember at all.

    4. Echo Tango says:

      One way to make QTEs or QTE-like things less bad, would be to fix the multiple-successes-in-a-row thing. Like, if a game has you jumping over normal obstacles that come from the side of the screen with fast reflexes and your normal health-bar, nobody complains. So, keep the health-bar (or an equivalent) in the cutscene, and use it as a soft-failure mode for the QTEs. Maybe if you fail five individual QTEs out of 15 in a cutscene, you fail. Or maybe the number of failures during the cutscene lowers your health by a fraction of it’s pre-cutscene amount, so that you really have to watch out after cutscenes, if you fail many of the actions.

  4. Erik says:

    Ugh, one of the worst perpetrators of QTE’s, for me, was Resident Evil 5. Not only do they have some cutscenes without QTE’s. and some with, but they CHANGE THE BUTTON every time you fail!

    QTE’s arent that bad if you expect them, and they should at the very least match contextually what your character does. I dont mind it as much if I have to push the shoot button to make the character shoot in the cutscene. Or the dodge button to make him/her dodge. But changing the button every single time to something nonsensical?

    It also doesnt help that RE5 also lowers the amount of time you have to press the button on higher difficulties. And during the final boss fight, you have to pass a series of QTE’s first, and then do the fight. If you fail the fight, you have to do the QTE’s again, with the buttons changed! And in co-op mode you and your buddy *both* have to pass the QTE’s. God, I watched that Wesker guy say “Uruburos will be released into the atmosphere, ensuring complete.. global.. saturation” so many times its etched into my brain..

    1. Teltnuag says:

      I just played through RE5 last weekend, and my sole attempt at trying the co-op ended with the other guy bailing after one or the other of us failed the awful QTE sequence before the final fight half a dozen times. Truly awful things.

    2. Gurgl says:

      It would have been better to require *at least one* player to succeed, instead of both, but at that point that’s just applying bandage on a pegleg; the constant escape sequences that require super-precise timing would still ruin your day.

      Revelations 2 is infinitely superior as a plot-driven RE, and Operation Raccoon City is what you want is you prefer straightforward action. I have no idea why they are among the least-liked of the series, I found them both to be excellent.

  5. Rack says:

    I’m still most frustrated that Shenmue did QTEs right back in 99 but no-one else has bothered to do so. In Shenmue a ball will suddenly rush towards Ryo’s face alongside a flashing X button. X is the ingame block button so even if you don’t know where X is it’s just the right button to press. And if you fail Ryo looks slightly silly and the game rolls on. In situation where passing QTES is required you get several chances to mess up, you have to be really bad at them to fail absolutely all the second chances the game throws at you. The reward for success is feeling like a badass. Other times it’s a little more important and you miss out on a clue by failing the QTE but you can still progress you just need to find another solution.

    And then everyone and their grandmothers translate this to “press X to not die”

    1. Daimbert says:

      I like how Marvel Ultimate Alliance did it. You need to complete the actions that trigger the QTEs to advance, but you have to do that multiple times. That means that you can fail one and all it means is that you’ll have to make up for that one later. You don’t die if you miss one. Should you miss one, all you’ll have to do is kill mooks for a while until you get another chance. Most of the cool stuff happens after the event or the prompts are in the action itself. And if you pass them 50% of the time, if you have to do four of them successfully to advance then you’ll have to trigger it eight times, which isn’t terrible.

      1. Hal says:

        I played Ultimate Alliance on the Wii; as I recall, it was one of the launch titles. So I don’t know whether the QTEs were included in the game on other platforms, but I recall playing the game and thinking, “These things really only seem to be here to show off the motion controls.”

        I stand by that assessment. “I guess if we’re going to be a Wii launch title, we ought to at least try to use the motion controls somewhere.”

        On an unrelated note, of that whole Marvel action RPG genre, the first X-Men Legends game remains my favorite (despite having none of my favorite heroes.) The story really sold it for me; the conflict between Magneto and the military, the body horror of walking into the Sentinel labs and realizing they were turning soldiers into non-metallic Sentinels . . . it worked for me. None of the other games really connected that way, despite having arguably grander scales of conflict.

    2. ElementalAlchemist says:

      That one near the end (before the 70 man battle?) where you have to avoid a giant spiked club (or whatever it was) pretty much was exactly “press (insert appropriate DC button) to not die”.

    3. Geebs says:

      Most of Shenmue 2’s gameplay consisted of awful PXtnD-type QTEs. Something about running up and down highrise buildings? My memory has mercifully blocked it out. Anyway, I’m not sure we can really give Shenmue’s developers a pass here.

  6. Bubble181 says:

    Just a minor point of criticism: you’ve blow mentioned that the name Mr. Negative isn’t mentioned anywhere twice or thrice. Yet you’ve also acknowledged that you’ve turned of the Jameson podcasts. Perfectly fine choice if you’re just playing for fun, but I have to question that choice if you’re doing a long-form review. You’re leaving yourself open for very easy criticism, especially if it is mentioned there. It’s like someone critiquing ME, but who says they didn’t read any codex entries. A valid choice for a way to play the game, but you lose the option of complaining that some stuff wasn’t explained in the game. It might’ve been, but you chose not to interact with an important part as far as lore dumps go.

    1. Wangwang says:

      Shamus already said his opinion about codex in his ME retrospective. Basically, codex should serve as extra info that expand, but not required to understand the main story. For example, I may be fine not knowing Sauron, Gandalf and Saruman are maiars, but I wouldn’t want to spend the entire book calling them the dark lord, the grey wizard and the white wizard. Similarly, players should know the name of the villain they are fighting directly from what they are playing, not from some extra channel that they may or may not turn on.

    2. GoStu says:

      I think it’s perfectly valid to criticize when important details are shunted to some secondary or tertiary source of information. A codex is fine for clearing up minutiae that probably won’t come up in character discussion but major information like the villain’s NAME should be pretty inescapable.

      Maybe the information IS presented somewhere, but if it’s being done so in a format that “[can be turned off], and is a Perfectly fine choice if you’re just playing for fun”, then that’s something wrong. It may be technically correct that the guy gets namedropped in a podcast but that kind of technically correct doesn’t really fly with me.

      1. Syal says:

        I kind of liked Nier Automata putting its entire plot in a post-game codex entry, that people might never see because they get to ending E too early.

  7. Matthew Downie says:

    I would have thought that if they were doing QTE prompts on a Sony system, they’d show the four Square/Triangle/Circle/X buttons in their normal layout, with the relevant one highlighted. That way you shouldn’t need to look down at your controller even if you don’t know which is which; you just need to see that it’s the top one of the four buttons that you need to press.

    But I guess they just assume that everyone in the world knows Playstation controllers already.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Even that’s a poor way to let the player know what to press, because they need to notice the icons on the side of the screen, instead of watching the cool-looking cutscene. It’s much better to use buttons that correspond to the action you’d do if outside of a cutscene. For example, the block button blocks the enemy attack in the cutscene, and the attack button punches in the cutscene. If it’s a non-combat cutscene, like a romance or something, just map the actions to their closest counterparts – attack is overtly flirtatious, parry is coy, and block is acting uninterested in the person’s romantic advances.

  8. Christopher says:

    Insomniac have a lot of skip functionality in Spidey. You can disable QTEs and all of the various hacking minigames, which to my mind makes them entirely pointless. Why would I bother then? I did like a couple and then never touched them again.

    This spring I’ve played the HD Trilogy Ratchet & Clank games, which all feature a hacking minigame or two each, and in those games they’re required. I can see why you might not want to do that, ’cause they’re there for variety, but it’s not exactly fun to go through an exciting action bit and then sit still for a minute and play sudoku. But since there’s no longer any need to do any of it, I do feel like they’re basically pointless. I 100% agree that the preence of QTEs only worsen the scenes, since even if you disable them, as you mention they only make those cutscenes weirder with how they slow the action during odd parts of it. QTEs are fine to me if they’re a major part of gameplay in something simple like a modern adventure game or something expected of every cutscene, but in Spidey they add nothing. It’s weird, right? I can’t think of any other major game I’ve played lately that uses them. They seem to have fallen out of favor a lot.

    I agree that this vertical slice is probably one of the first parts of the game they made. I think that might be why it fits a little strangely into the plot. At the beginning of the next major cutscene, Pete kinda acts like Mr. Negative is done now, like the mook in the helicopter he just beat was him. Then ten seconds later the actual Mr. Negative shows up and reveals his identity on his own the first time he’s onscreen, despite having a power that hides his identity. It didn’t ruin the game for me but it was a little “whu?? we’re doing what?”

    On another note, in case we jump forward a little next time, I think this is the last time Fisk speaks in the whole game. Dude just sits on his butt in prison and rides out the events of the game and DLC.

    1. Hal says:

      There are a few side quests that touch on Fisk trying to flex his quickly diminishing strength to get out of prison, but he does fade from the foreground pretty quickly. Probably for the best; the game isn’t really about him.

      As for the Mr. Negative stuff, I think that can be attributed to Peter not understanding the nature of the Demons or their goals. So far, he understands them to be just another gang trying to take center stage in the absence of Fisk. It seems, to him, like he’s dealt them a major blow in this situation, and the rest will just be mop up. (Which is actually a common trope in this sort of story, though I don’t think it gets emphasized hard enough in this case.)

    2. Lars says:

      There is Detroit: Become Human, which gameplay consist entirely on QTEs, like Heavy Rain.
      Yakuza Kiwami 2 was heavy on QTEs, but without the game-over consequence (except the final boss battle, – just awful), mostly you just lost a little health.

      The only genre I accept QTEs are rhythm games like Guitar Hero. Everywhere else the drive me nuts.

  9. BlueBlazeSpear says:

    My initial introduction to QTEs was in a form that was reasonable. That is to say that they were more integrated into combat instead of cutscenes. They might not even meet your definition of QTEs because they weren’t there to make us feel like we were “playing” cutscenes and having to stare so hard at the screen that we miss the art that we’re supposed to be watching. These first forays into the form were, indeed, timed button mashes, but they were designed to keep us into the combat specifically – because they were turn-based RPGs and these were attempts to make the combat a bit more exciting than picking attacks on a menu.

    The first experience was with a PS1 game called The Legend of Dragoon. It was such a good game in my book, and I say that as someone who would’ve also been playing Final Fantasy VII and Chrono Trigger at around that same time. But with The Legend of Dragoon, the timed button mashes came in the form of combos. Each character had a unique combo and landing each hit of the combo would inflict more and more damage with a big hit at the end. And you also had to pay attention in case the bad guy could counter a combo and you had to press a different button to counter the counter and continue the combo. Even if you messed up the timing, you’d still land all the hits that you time right, even if it was just the initial hit. But also, after doing it enough, you could hit the combos just using muscle memory alone and you were free to just watch the game instead of staring at the prompts.

    The second experience was with another game that I would consider a gem that got lost in the fold, the Xbox 360 exclusive Lost Odyssey. Again, the timed button mashes were in combat with the game’s “aim ring system.” What was different with this battle system was that you did have to hit the timing on the money to land the initial shot. It wasn’t as complicated as the Legend of Dragoon system, but it was more vital to be successful at it.

    Then I took a break from gaming to do whatever one does in their 20s, and when I came back to gaming, the QTEs just seemed designed basically to make us turn pages in a book. And I’m all about games with a deep story and interesting characters. I’m even pretty okay with cut scenes if they’re transitional and not hijacking gameplay. But the last thing I want to do is have a game throw a cutscene at me and pretend that it’s gameplay by making me mash buttons at the right moments.

    1. Abnaxis says:

      Did you ever try to turn the combo prompts off in Legend of Dragoon? Man, that made it super hard…

      1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

        No – I didn’t even know that was an option. So, would everyone just land that first hit and that was the end of the turn? That sounds like it would draw out even the most tedious of battles.

        1. Abnaxis says:

          No, you just have to learn the combos by timing

          1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

            That seems rough. And amazing.

    2. ElementalAlchemist says:

      Lost Odyssey was a great game (especially given the 360’s RPG selection was extremely thin). The ring thing added nothing of value. It’s actually a perfect demonstration of how pointless and unnecessary QTEs are.

      1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

        What was interesting about the system was, if I recall correctly, you don’t have it at the beginning of the game and you have a couple of battles without it, then it gets introduced as part of the game trickle-feeding the player the combat mechanics.

        I don’t remember what those first battles were like, but I know that those later battles became a real pain if you didn’t/couldn’t land those QTE shots.

        At the time, I appreciated any RPG that asked a bit more from me in the battles than just choosing “attack” on a menu. And as I recall, it was only with the physical attacks that the ring system was employed and the magic and whatnot still worked like old school turn-based RPGs. And the different rings added different stats, so if you landed the QTE, there was a chance you could poison the target, or steal from them, etc. Maybe I enjoyed it because it was new at the time and it wouldn’t hold up now, but I remember feeling that it was pretty engaging.

        1. Daimbert says:

          The aim ring sounds a bit like Shadow Hearts’ ring mechanism, which you used for pretty much any action in the game, including combat. That being said, that one worked pretty well because it was generally — unless you were under a ring status — pretty easy to get in an initial hit, but where you pushed it was to get the criticals which did more damage but had a very small area to hit, and if you missed late you’d miss that hit entirely. Also, as it was used for everything and not just hits, it changed based on which character was attacking to focus on their strengths. For example, Alice Elliot had few and smaller ring areas for physical combat but to cast a healing spell was one huge one that you pretty much couldn’t miss. After a while, the timing just happened, and it added a bit of randomness AND player control beyond simply picking an ability and rolling a die to see if it hit.

          1. Abnaxis says:

            One of my favorite all time games is a game for the original XBox called Gladius, a turn based tactical RPG where pretty much every action involved some variation of this (a bar, not a ring, but still..).

            I definitely feel like I’m in a minority for liking mechanics along these lines.

            1. Gautsu says:

              Gladius was amazing and never got a prerelease or port. Thanks Disney

              1. Abnaxis says:

                You are literally the first person I have encountered who has even heard of it D:

              2. The Wind King says:

                Nah, it got ported to the Gamecube (if it’s the TRPG about colliseum fighters in a sort of ancient Rome / Celtic / Viking era)…

                The game is pretty sweet.

        2. ElementalAlchemist says:

          I appreciated any RPG that asked a bit more from me in the battles than just choosing “attack” on a menu.

          This sort of thing is on the edge of the divide between ARPGs and more traditional RPGs, i.e. anything where you start relying primarily on player skill (timing, dexterity, etc.) instead of character skill. Obviously the popularity of things like the Witcher, Mass Effect, etc. show that ARPGs are probably what the majority prefer, but if you must go that route then QTEs are an absolutely terrible way to go about it. Although I question the wisdom in stuffing that sort of stuff, regardless of its form, into a game that was ostensibly meant to be a return to the older style of Final Fantasy before they went down the action route.

    3. tmtvl says:

      I will second the appreciation for LoD, back then Squenix were the masters of their craft.

      1. Boobah says:

        Legend of Dragoon was Sony riffing on Final Fantasy, not Squenix.

        Not that you’re wrong about Squenix’s games of the time, but LoD isn’t one of them.

  10. Abnaxis says:

    I’m actually going to be THAT guy and put it out there that I actually like QTEs. They get me a lot more emotionally invested in scenes that are supposed to be tense and make it feel better when i see the hero do hero stuff in cutscenes.

    I’m glad they made it optional in Spider Man since so many people seem to loathe them, but I would be sad if they were dropped entirely

    1. Echo Tango says:

      If implemented well, QTEs can make everyone more invested in cutscenes. It’s just that most people get frustrated with the crappy way they’ve been built, more than the extra emotional investment is worth.

    2. Zak McKracken says:

      I quite liked them the first time I encountered them (Fahrenheit), but I will not try to defend the latter half of that game, nor will I claim that the QTE stuff was all very good.

      (But at least some of the time, they did work, and sometimes they were actually quite good)

      …I mean, Guitar Hero and Rockband are basically pure QTE games if you view them that way. I am not their biggest fan, but those are definitely successful implementations.

  11. Hal says:

    Why would the writer not tell us his name?

    The writers probably really liked the Jameson podcast where he comes up with the name “Mr. Negative.”

    It’s understandable, too. “Mr. Negative” has this Silver-Age campiness to it that doesn’t really fit too well with modern sensibilities for the genre. It doesn’t seem like a name Martin would choose for himself, and I couldn’t see his own followers using that name for him, either.

    Not saying those are good reasons, all things considered. This part of the story would have been a great time for that name to reach us; then the villain could still be sitting mysteriously, menacingly out of reach. Putting a name to him would ratchet up the dread and mystery.

    Heck, just having Kingpin reveal him to be Martin Li would have been some good drama. Spider-Man would have a bunch of angry denial, but then he could see Martin in the next bit at the mayoral rally where they blow everything up and realize that if he’d believed Fisk, he might have been able to stop this. That’s good superhero pathos right there.

  12. Hal says:

    Related to the topic of QTEs is the chase sequences employed in the game. You chased Shocker around the city. You chase the helicopter. At various times, you chase fleeing vehicles. You’ll even chase pigeons for a side quest.

    The shared feature of all of these events, besides the QTEs, is the use of rubber-banding like you’d see in a racing game. No matter how skilled you are at webswinging, or how cleverly you navigate the city to cut off escape, the game will put your target a certain distance ahead of you and speed or slow them to keep a set distance. You can’t even get the prompt to jump on the car/latch onto the helicopter/grab the pigeon until you’ve participated in the chase for a sufficient period of time.

    That’s really frustrating. I get that it exists for the players who might not be as skilled at the webswinging, but it does cut off any sense of satisfaction for mastering the navigation. You can get really good at webswinging, and it doesn’t do anything for you. These sequences don’t resolve faster because you can catch the bad guy faster. (In fact, in certain instances it can be harmful to you, because if you’re pursuing too closely you might get shot without sufficient opportunity to dodge.)

    The game does a lot right, but this is definitely one of the things I didn’t appreciate.

    1. Christopher says:

      It’s certainly a bit annoying. I didn’t notice it during the Shocker chase, but I definitely noticed it during the Black Cat chase in the DLC and some of the car chases. At some point it’s like, I get it, but I appreciate them more when the illusion works.

      I think the worst one I’ve played was in Mass Effect 3. There was that early mission on Mars where you’re chasing the robot that becomes EDI’s body, and she always runs ahead of you. But this is in a game where you have the ability to instantly dash across the room and charge into enemies if you’re a vanguard. So I’d hit her ass several times from across the room and whenever it happened she just speedwalked 5 metres in front of me herself, completely shrugging off my charge and putting the “right” distance between us again.

      1. GoStu says:

        Oh man I despise that sequence.

        DEV: “No goddamn it, you are GOING to have an exciting chase scene that ends in the injury of a squadmate!”

        VANGUARD: “But I have abilities that immediately move me to the target! Can’t I catch her?”
        SOLDIER: “I have a sniper rifle. I got it on this mission. Can’t I just shoot her?”
        ADEPT: “I can pull targets to me, or levitate them helplessly into the air. Can’t I stop her?”
        ENGINEER: “I make drones that fly, at enemy locations. Can I drop one on her head?”
        INFILTRATOR: “Yeah, I’d just like to snipe her. Or cloak to get the element of surprise.”
        SENTINEL: “I have most of the abilities of all the other guys. Can I use any of them?”

        DEV: “She’s impervious to bullets, immune to your powers, sees through your stealth, and runs real fast.”

        Players: “Bullshit.”

        (Bonus joke: In a New Game Plus, the final pistol sequence can be impossible if you’re using that fun little pistol that launches sticky grenades. They don’t go off fast enough to stop her from slamming your head into a wall.)

  13. Mephane says:

    At the other extreme are the timed “test of strength” moments where Spidey has to (say) stop a speeding car. The game wants you to hit the button really fast.

    Those are the worst. And while we are at it, Anthem has a particularly annoying incarnation of this type of QTE. Now some may ask “wait a minute, where does Anthem have QTEs?” – when you are frozen from enemy attacks or an exploding barrel of cryo-whatever, you can either wait for the effect to wear off after ~10 seconds, or you hammer that space bar really fast to get out in 1-2 seconds, followed by the most useless and awkward vertical jump because you were just spamming the jump key… there’s one section in a particular stronghold (= dungeon) where you have to face multiple enemies which all have large shield and health bars and spam ranged AoE ice attacks, so you might get to enjoy that QTE multiple times in a row.

    1. Sartharina says:

      You just explained one place where QTEs are appreciated – Allowing a player to recover from a mistake. If you’re frozen, you fucked up. The game gives you an out.

  14. kdansky says:

    Sekiro does QTEs correctly. Whenever you can kill a boss, you get a red “kill” marker instead of your usual lock-on icon. So you press the attack button, and get a fancy killing blow.

    However! This works because the very same kill marker is used all game long whenever you can backstab or kill any enemy in the game. So it is technically a QTE, but it’s really just the exact same prompt that was used all throughout the game as a basic combat mechanic.

    And yet I still don’t like it much, because it feels worse than if it had been just in-engine, without doing a bullet-time and camera move _before_ the actual attack. Revengeance does the same.

    1. tmtvl says:

      FromSoft has played around with QTEs in Ninja Blade and they did it really consistently and sensibly. Too bad the industry didn’t steal the idea.

    2. Lars says:

      What you describe doesn’t sound like a QTE to me. Maybe I get it wrong (I didn’t play the game, or any souls like).
      A QTE is a video sequence with PRESS THIS RANDOM BUTTON NOW OR DIE/LOOSE HEALTH. What you describe is gameplay: Press the attack button to kill the wounded enemy.
      Else every game is just a QTE. Like: There are blue lightning boldes over Batmans enemy heads. Press counter button now or loose health/combo counter.
      Like: There is a left-corner up ahead. Press stear-left or drive into a wall.

      1. Syal says:

        Depends what other actions you can take. QTEs give the choice between “follow the button prompt” or “don’t follow the button prompt”. For the driving example, the QTE version gives you a binary choice between turning left or not turning left, while regular gameplay gives you the choice to turn left, hit the brake, go straight into the wall, or turn right and hit the wall even harder.

        So if the choice is between “land the finishing blow” or “do nothing until the prompt disappears”, it’s a QTE.

  15. beleester says:

    The best QTEs are the ones that add style but don’t cost you anything for failing. Assassin’s Creed 2 had QTEs like this. E.g., if you press the attack button in time, then Ezio stabs the guards holding him and looks pretty badass, but if you miss then he just sort of wrestles his way free.

    Bulletstorm also had QTE pop-ups for “look at the cool setpiece thing that’s happening right now”, which gave you a small bonus for reacting, but no penalty.

    1. Joe Informatico says:

      Assassin’s Creed 2 also had like 3 of them across a few dozen cutscenes, with no warning whatsoever, so it was easy to say, get up and stretch and wander over to your coffee or whatever during the cutscene and miss the prompt entirely, and yes I’m speaking from personal experience. The price of looking badass is eternal vigilance, apparently.

      1. Christopher says:

        I left Leonardo waiting forever for that hug. Sorry bro

  16. Sartharina says:

    QTE’s are the sudden “Make a DC 15 skill check” the DM throws in to a TTRPG campaign when the player wants to do something cool (or series of must-pass skill checks to do something comolex, even if they should be trivial). The DM isn’t thinking “how do I screw him over – it’s “how do I make the game acknowledge the player’s action and resolve it meaningfully”. Cutscenes aren’t engaging, but basic game mechanics don’t always fit the tone.

    The developer/DM isn’t thinking about the math – he’s thinking about the feel

    1. GoStu says:

      I don’t think that’s a great comparison.

      The GM in a TTRPG game would assign a check/roll to an action of the player’s choosing, and often the skill of the player’s choice. The player has chosen to do that thing and it’s not forced on them. Given that players in TTRPGs are pretty much always rolling die to do anything, it maintains the consistency of mechanics which is missing with QTEs in video games.

      Even if it’s a bad ad-hoc improvisation by the Game Master, the mechanics are still consistent and should come as no surprise to the player.

      1. Sartharina says:

        And players in a video game are always pushing buttons. It’s how they stay engaged. QTE’s are throwing in the most basic mechanic of playing a game into a situation where the game can’t adequately handle the situation. Yes, they’re usually because the game is forcing someone to do something… that the game can’t normally allow them to do at all.

        However – when you take the QTE out, you’re left with a completely uninteractive cutscene that takes you out of control of the character you’re supposed to be playing as. It’s like describing an action to a DM (Or him describing something going on).. and then nothing. No specific action to take, no dice to roll, nothing to have the players actually interact with the description. When you say “I jump off the guard rail, grab the chandelier, swing across the chasm to leap onto the upper balcony”, then “Okay.” is underwhelming… and a lot of DMs/players call for three skill checks – one to jump, one to grab the rope, and one to swing – without realizing that it’s creating a compounding chance of failure that shouldn’t exist. (And 4th Edition got a lot of flak for daring to suggest that a single failed roll in a complex endeavor shouldn’t blow the whole thing up). QTE’s are pretty much the same – without the interaciton of hitting buttons to make your character do the thing he needs to do, you’re not enaged with what’s going on – it’s just an ‘okay. Stuff is happening’.

        Also – I think you missed the point I was making with the DC 15 Skill Check. These things are generally disruptive to the game when they fail (It might be because I spent way too much time over on GiantitP) – People are bad at math in TTRPGs – we always assume we’ll roll 10+ 90% of the time, and use a die roll, resource expenditure, or other Game Term (Like defined actions – Spending a Swift/Standard/Move action) to represent ‘player input’ – with dice being the default, even if we don’t actually want a random result. However, doing without that sort of interaction makes the game feel less of a game, and just a conversation.

        Intellectually, QTEs are bad. Emotionally, not having them is worse.

      2. Hal says:

        There’s something to be said here, though.

        A GM should really only ask for a roll when it’s a meaningful challenge to the character’s talent, and if success or failure can both be meaningful. The classic example is a locked plot door; the players absolutely have to go through the door to advance the game, but it’s locked. You could ask the players to roll to get through, but what happens if they fail? Nothing. The game grinds to a halt until someone rolls high enough to get past, which is not interesting in the slightest.

        This is a reasonable comparison to the QTEs, in the sense that there’s not really anything interesting about the decisions being asked of a player. It’s “Press X not to die,” and if you fail . . . well, it sends you back to try again (or Do It Again, Stupid, as Shamus termed it.)

        1. GoStu says:

          When I DM, I have a mantra: Killing players is easy, to challenge them is hard.

          You’ve got the contents of the entire monster manual, plus any nastiness you can home-brew off the top of your head. You have absolute control over the rules of the game and can do anything at any time. If you want five Tarrasques with a couple ancient red dragons for air support, you can do that. Congrats on your “win” over your players I guess.

          Similarly, you can come up with a tight railroad that is THE ONLY ROUTE TO SUCCESS, but likely nobody will enjoy that.

          In videogame terms: It’s easy to slip a cheap death by QTE into a cutscene. Just make the button prompt tiny, unexpected, short and away from the interesting bit of the screen – and BAM, they’re done. But other than “treating” the player to a second helping of your cinematic (or third, or fourth), what have you accomplished? Are your players having fun? Are you engaging them in your story? If not, why are you doing this?

          QTEs are at best a short-term case of railroading. You WILL press exactly at these buttons at these EXACT times or you’re going back to repeat the scene until you do. Brutal.

          1. Sartharina says:

            As I said – the thing about QTE’s is they aren’t expected to be failed. The Developer does not want the player to fail the QTE. The point of a QTE is to validate the player’s control over the character where the game normally doesn’t allow for that sort of control. Failure isn’t really considered as an intended outcome. When the DM throws out a DC 15 skill check for you to do your fancy stunt, he’s not doing it to make you fail – he’s doing it to validate your action. “Okay, make a skill check to make that happen” is more engaging than “Okay. That happens.” Tabletop games tend to use dice rolls to simulate player control – without a dice roll, resource expenditure, or ‘game term action’ taken, you stop feeling like you’re interfacing with a game/world governed by rules, and start feeling like ‘magical tea time with elves’ where nothing is real or matters.

            In the same way, a game developer will often want a set piece sequence of events that cannot be conveyed through the game’s normal mechanics, such as an elaborate knife-fight with a single villain in a game normally about Shooting Dudes by the dozen, or a fancy execution of a dragon in a game normally about hacking through man-sized enemies, or a high-adrenaline chase in a game normally about deliberate investigation. So, you have to go fancy with the animations and make a cut scene to sell the action. But cut-scenes are naturally disengaging, in the same way an elaborate description of a course of events in a TTRPG with no interaction with the rules can be (“And it’s Big”)… so the developer needs to put in a level of player engagement again, and that engagement should correspond roughly to what’s happening, but the actual situation means the standard mechanics don’t apply. So you get a dramatic simplification of the mechanics to “Push button, achieve objective”, or ‘spam button to overcome challenge’. It’s also sort of a self-contained tutorial for a specific piece of gameplay that doesn’t come up again. Technically, dodging all attacks are a QTE – push the dodge button at the right time, and you dodge. Fail, and splat (With HP serving as a buffer for mistakes). Same with attacking – Push the attack button at the right time, and progress toward knocking him out. Fail, and you open yourself up to needing to dodge.

            One issue that does come up with QTE’s I see, though, is the lack of an “HP” on either side, so that you don’t NEED to pass every QTE in a sequence to succeed.

  17. Shen says:

    Lots of people throwing out their ideas for good QTEs, might as well join in.
    Honestly, the only time I’d find them acceptable is if they were integrated into branching gameplay effects or storyline changes. Don’t need to be massive, game altering decisions (although I’d appreciate the occasional one) but say if you avoid that Indiana Jones boulder, you can foil the bad guys plans and nab all the pirate’s treasure for yourself but if you fail, you get knocked down to a lower level and fight your way up to a different boss. Less treasure but no gameplay lost, that sort of thing.

    1. Syal says:

      The QTEs that strike me as good are the ones in the interview in Indigo Prophecy, where you have QTEs to react to extradimensional creatures and the path to success is ignoring the prompts so you don’t look crazy.

  18. Paul says:

    I’ve got 3 QTE experiences: Final Fantasy X, Assassin’s Creed 2 and Witcher 2. I think they’re an interesting set of how QTE can work.

    In FFX on PS2, I lost the Jecht based on my initial performance and lack of familiarity with the controller. This set me up for long term suffering in underwater ball (till I went back and re-did it)

    In Assassin’s Creed 2 on the PC, I couldn’t make heads or tails of the console based directions (WTF is a triangle on a keyboard and why would I care?). So I missed a stack of cut scene content, but didn’t alter the underlying story.

    In Witcher 2 on PC they’re asking me to find keys I use every day at work. Winning a box match is practically pavlovian – I’d struggle to lose. It also only costs me up when I stuff up. I’m actually really enjoying the boxing sections…

  19. Yarrun says:

    Wonderful 101 handled QTEs in an interesting way, drawing from the very cartoony/anime/sentai tone of the game. In a cutscene, an enemy will be winding up to do an attack; one of the heroes will dramatically call out for one of the Unite Morphs; and then you have a couple of seconds to draw the specific shape for that Unite Morph. You draw it right, the attack is blocked and the cutscene goes forward. If you don’t draw it fast enough (unlikely, given how much time you get), you get a (typically goofy) fail scene and you try again. Since the Unite Morphs are the same ones used in standard gameplay, it’s not forcing the player to master something new with no preparation, but rather allowing them to be an active participant in the cutscene, following the commands of the heroes. The game also uses the fail cutscenes to hide a couple of fun gags and easter eggs, which does help.

  20. Zak McKracken says:

    I’m not trying to change your opinion of QTEs, Shamus, but I think some of your arguments against the Spiderman implementation can be countered:

    * You say the action scenes slow down for the QTEs, which makes no sense for a cinematic cutscene. I think one purpose of putting that in may be to remove the problem that the player can miss important bits of the scene while focussing on the QTE. If the action slows down during that time, the player won’t miss any important bits, while they deal with the QTE. It also helps reduce the difficulty without showing the prompt too early in the sequence, before the player sees what the prompt is even about.

    * Chaining QTEs does of course reduce the probability of getting through without failure, but so does chaining anything else that the player could fail at. Granted, regular fights just deplete hit points, so it’s not insta-fail, but tons of games have jumps you need to land, timings to get right, cars not to crash … or else you have to start over.
    So QTEs share this property with a lot of other game mechanics.

    As I said, that’s not to persuade anyone, or to claim that the Spiderman QTE implementation was good (no idea, haven’t played it), but I think some of the things you criticize may actually have more constructive thinking behind them than you give credit for.

    I see the main problems with QTEs in the fact that they’re often not “matching” the action, and that the player often sees the prompt to perform an action before it is clear what that action will be, and what it’s even supposed to achieve. Ideally, they could be an ad-hoc extension of the usual set of actions which the player can perform, in the worst case, they’re “press some random button to make some random thing happen while you’re focused on something else”.

  21. Dreadjaws says:

    This was the part of the game where the magic vanished for me. It’s kind of a problem, because it’s only halfway through the playthrough, but it’s when the game pretty much ran out of tricks and simply started repeating itself. Now that’s normal, of course, but it means that if the mechanics aren’t particularly fun they start overstaying their welcome.

    QTEs in this game are, like you say, annoying but easy. So every time one comes I don’t get frustrated, but I do roll my eyes. This is like the thirtieth chase sequence I engaged in the game at that point, and I really wish there weren’t any more (but I know for a fact there are), as the way they cheat is too obvious (i.e.: the game doesn’t want you to reach your target until certain point in the chase, so it won’t show you the “proceed” prompt no matter how close you are). The problems with the camera in combat became terribly prevalent, but they’re not the only camera problems, as the game decides to focus the camera in the mission area, removing the illusion of freedom of an open world.

    It was more or less at this point that I realized I was right in my previous belief: the reason people claim this is the best Spider-Man game is that it’s the newest one. As soon as the novelty wears off they’ll realize others are just as good or even better in many respects. I will grant that this game is probably better in the collectibles department and obviously graphics capability, but that’s it. It really doesn’t do anything better or more interesting in the gameplay department that many of the post Spider-Man 2 offerings.

  22. bigdamnnerd says:

    My least favorite thing about QTEs: console-hopping. I’m fairly platform-agnostic, and have spent the last few months bouncing between PC, xbone, PS4 and Switch. And when the QTE comes in and says “Press X” I have a brief moment of panic (and usually fail the first one).

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