What's the "Character Action Genre?"

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#1 Posted by Joeyoe31 (820 posts) -

Brad review said this a couple of times. But what exactly is it and how is it separate from other sub-genres in the action genre?

#2 Posted by Cold_Wolven (2167 posts) -

Maybe it's an action game that focuses on the characters rather than the story itself. The Uncharted series could be described as that.

#3 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4655 posts) -

Character Action are action games where combat is the priority of gameplay. Something Like DmC or Ninja Gaiden. There is no real description for it as GB seems to have invented the phrase.

#4 Edited by Joeyoe31 (820 posts) -

@Cold_Wolven said:

Maybe it's an action game that focuses on the characters rather than the story itself. The Uncharted series could be described as that.

And here I thought this was going to be just pushed down into page 2 without anyone looking at it because a guy liked a game. Thanks for the clarification.

#5 Edited by Video_Game_King (34613 posts) -

Imagine it as the 3D successor to the beat-em-up genre. Focus is on a single character in physical combat against a large amount of enemies building up combos and beating off guys in every direction. While the combat systems can be deep, this doesn't have to be the case. Examples of character action games include Devil May Cry (obviously), El Shaddai, Asura's Wrath (at least in brief instances), No More Heroes, and Bayonetta.

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#6 Posted by TooWalrus (12976 posts) -

I've never heard the term used before, and when you google it, this thread is the third result, with Brad's DmC review being the second. I don't think it's an established term, so it's use sounds kinda doofy. Obviously from the context you can tell he's talking about the Devil May Cry/Bayonetta/God of War/Dante's Inferno etc type games, though.

#7 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

It's a spectacle fighter where you do all sorts of insane shit like air combos and dashing and string together 300 hit combos through like 9 enemy encounters.

Think Bayonetta.

#8 Edited by Joeyoe31 (820 posts) -

Thanks guys. I really do appreciate it.

#9 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3595 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

Character Action are action games where combat is the priority of gameplay. Something Like DmC or Ninja Gaiden. There is no real description for it as GB seems to have invented the phrase.

GB didn't invent it. It is an industry accepted term.

It's an action game that is melee focused (for the most part), more technical than a beat em up, and is usually combo based.

The definition is a bit loose but the following are examples to clarify:

Ninja Gaiden

God of War

Devil May Cry

Castlevania Lords of Shadow

#10 Edited by Yummylee (20582 posts) -

It's just another term for Hack n Slash games really.

also this:

@ArtisanBreads said:

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

Character Action are action games where combat is the priority of gameplay. Something Like DmC or Ninja Gaiden. There is no real description for it as GB seems to have invented the phrase.

GB didn't invent it. It is an industry accepted term.

It's an action game that is melee focused (for the most part), more technical than a beat em up, and is usually combo based.

The definition is a bit loose but the following are examples to clarify:

Ninja Gaiden

God of War

Devil May Cry

Castlevania Lords of Shadow

Online
#11 Posted by Joeyoe31 (820 posts) -

@Yummylee said:

It's just another term for Hack n Slash games really.

Normally I just call games of that genre action adventure games. But I guess it really comes down to preference...

#12 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Sounds dumb and I've never heard it before.

#13 Posted by Savage (297 posts) -

As with many game genres, "character action games" (CAGs) are vaguely defined through examples. The original Devil May Cry was the game that gave rise to the term, as it felt like something different from other kinds of contemporary action games like brawlers, fighting games, or action platformers; hence making people want to give it a more unique genre classification. Other premier examples of CAGs include: Ninja Gaiden, God of War, and Bayonetta. Generally, CAGs combine the gameplay speed and technicality of a rich fighting game with the extravagant production values of a linear singleplayer game. The games usually feature a single, larger-than-life character whom you control throughout the entire game, like taking a single character out of a fighting game and making an entire game around them. (Other playable characters are often unlockable after beating the game.) The games are often known for being quite difficult and having ludicrous stories and characters--again harkening to fighting game tropes.

#14 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4655 posts) -

@Joeyoe31 said:

@Yummylee said:

It's just another term for Hack n Slash games really.

Normally I just call games of that genre action adventure games. But I guess it really comes down to preference...

I would say an action adventure game is Uncharted or Assassin's Creed. Man, someone really needs to reinvent the way we do genres for video games. Action adventure and Character Action don't cut it for me.

#15 Posted by Hailinel (22712 posts) -

@TooWalrus said:

I've never heard the term used before, and when you google it, this thread is the third result, with Brad's DmC review being the second. I don't think it's an established term, so it's use sounds kinda doofy. Obviously from the context you can tell he's talking about the Devil May Cry/Bayonetta/God of War/Dante's Inferno etc type games, though.

Character action is what the GB staff has taken to calling any third-person melee-focused action game along the lines of DMC, Ninja Gaiden, God of War, and so on. It's really just another name for third-person action game.

#16 Posted by Yummylee (20582 posts) -

@Joeyoe31 said:

@Yummylee said:

It's just another term for Hack n Slash games really.

Normally I just call games of that genre action adventure games. But I guess it really comes down to preference...

Well Action/Adventure is one of those primary genres that encompasses a ridiculous amount of games. You've got series like Assassin's Creed, Batman Arkham Asylum, Silent Hill, classic Resident Evil, Zelda, Darksiders ect. which are all technically Action/Adventure. Character Action is basically just one of many of its subgenres.

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#17 Posted by ajamafalous (11592 posts) -

Kinda surprised how many people in this thread have never heard of a character action game. Prime example I always point to is God of War.

#18 Posted by TooWalrus (12976 posts) -

@Hailinel: I fell like that's pretty much what I was trying to get across. It's not really a term that's used outside of GB (yet), but from the context it's easy to tell what he's talking about.

#19 Edited by Joeyoe31 (820 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

@Joeyoe31 said:

@Yummylee said:

It's just another term for Hack n Slash games really.

Normally I just call games of that genre action adventure games. But I guess it really comes down to preference...

I would say an action adventure game is Uncharted or Assassin's Creed. Man, someone really needs to reinvent the way we do genres for video games. Action adventure and Character Action don't cut it for me.

Agreed. This is some confusing shit. It's becoming like music genres at this point.

#20 Posted by Undeadpool (4868 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

Imagine it as the 3D successor the beat-em-up genre. Focus is on a single character in physical combat against a large amount of enemies building up combos and beating off guys in every direction. While the combat systems can be deep, this doesn't have to be the case. Examples of character action games include Devil May Cry (obviously), El Shaddai, Asura's Wrath (at least in brief instances), No More Heroes, and Bayonetta.

The KING hath SPOKEN! ...yeah, it's pretty much this. Throw in God of War and Arkham Asylum/City, and you've pretty much covered the basics.

#21 Posted by ArtisanBreads (3595 posts) -

@Yummylee said:

@Joeyoe31 said:

@Yummylee said:

It's just another term for Hack n Slash games really.

Normally I just call games of that genre action adventure games. But I guess it really comes down to preference...

Well Action/Adventure is one of those primary genres that encompasses a ridiculous amount of games. You've got series like Assassin's Creed, Batman Arkham Asylum, Silent Hill, classic Resident Evil, Zelda, Darksiders ect. which are all technically Action/Adventure. Character Action is basically just one of many of its subgenres.

Yeah exactly.

If the term bothers you, well, we could try and come up with some other term other people will think is dumb. At the end of the day it doesn't matter. They are rather well defined.

@ajamafalous said:

Kinda surprised how many people in this thread have never heard of a character action game. Prime example I always point to is God of War.

Same here. It's been standard since last generation.

#22 Posted by Hailinel (22712 posts) -

@TooWalrus said:

@Hailinel: I fell like that's pretty much what I was trying to get across. It's not really a term that's used outside of GB (yet), but from the context it's easy to tell what he's talking about.

Yeah, the context is easy to understand. I just don't think it's a very good term and I never use it to describe such games myself. Sort of like how Jeff practically has to have his arm twisted to utter "Metroidvania."

#23 Posted by Scrawnto (2413 posts) -

@Yummylee: I always associated Hack and Slash with games like Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, Heroes of Newerth, and to a lesser extent various Diablo type games, although it seems rather loosely defined in the Giant Bomb database. I think those skew slightly more on the Action-RPG side of things, where character action games are more centered around a defined character (Ryu, Dante, Bayonetta, Kratos, etc.) and combo-based combat.

#24 Posted by Video_Game_King (34613 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

It's really just another name for third-person action game.

More a subgenre, really. I mean, Gears of War is also a third-person action game, but it'd be difficult to group it with Ninja Gaiden unless you're painting with broad strokes.

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#25 Posted by Hailinel (22712 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Hailinel said:

It's really just another name for third-person action game.

More a subgenre, really. I mean, Gears of War is also a third-person action game, but it'd be difficult to group it with Ninja Gaiden unless you're painting with broad strokes.

Gears of War is a third-person shooter.

#26 Posted by Video_Game_King (34613 posts) -

@Undeadpool:

The Arkham games are more action/adventure games with beat-em-up elements. There's more focus on adventure in those games than you'd find in a character action game.

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#27 Posted by ArtisanBreads (3595 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

@Joeyoe31 said:

@Yummylee said:

It's just another term for Hack n Slash games really.

Normally I just call games of that genre action adventure games. But I guess it really comes down to preference...

I would say an action adventure game is Uncharted or Assassin's Creed. Man, someone really needs to reinvent the way we do genres for video games. Action adventure and Character Action don't cut it for me.

Funny you say this because Uncharted and Assassins Creed aren't even similar games at all.

Uncharted is just a third person shooter.

Assassins Creed is action adventure. And is that like Ninja Gaiden or God of War? No.

The definitions make sense.

#28 Posted by Video_Game_King (34613 posts) -

@Hailinel:

Are you saying that Gears of War has no action whatsoever? So it's a third-person tactics game? You'd group Gears of War with Fire Emblem?!

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#29 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3595 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Hailinel:

Are you saying that Gears of War has no action whatsoever? So it's a third-person tactics game? You'd group Gears of War with Fire Emblem?!

No it's a shooter.

Shooters are not in the "action game" genre under popular convention at this point. You have your first person and your third person shooters, but they are shooters at the end of the day.

Would you say CoD is a first person action game? No.

#30 Edited by Undeadpool (4868 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Undeadpool:

The Arkham games are more action/adventure games with beat-em-up elements. There's more focus on adventure in those games than you'd find in a character action game.

I'll accept that. There definitely is more of an "exploration/puzzle" aspect than something like DmC or GoW.

#31 Edited by Yummylee (20582 posts) -

@ArtisanBreads said:

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

@Joeyoe31 said:

@Yummylee said:

It's just another term for Hack n Slash games really.

Normally I just call games of that genre action adventure games. But I guess it really comes down to preference...

I would say an action adventure game is Uncharted or Assassin's Creed. Man, someone really needs to reinvent the way we do genres for video games. Action adventure and Character Action don't cut it for me.

Funny you say this because Uncharted and Assassins Creed aren't even similar games at all.

Uncharted is just a third person shooter.

Assassins Creed is action adventure. And is that like Ninja Gaiden or God of War? No.

The definitions make sense.

Not to try and start a definition war here, but I'd say Uncharted is also an action/adventure series. For as much shooting there is, there's also plenty of platforming and puzzle elements right alongside as well. Much more so than something like Gears, which is perhaps more easily recognised as a straight third-person shooter.

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#32 Posted by Video_Game_King (34613 posts) -

@ArtisanBreads:

I'd say the "action" label is as broad a term as "sports" is. It can encompass a ton of things, but it works because it's still exclusive enough not to be utterly useless.

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#33 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3595 posts) -

@Yummylee said:

@ArtisanBreads said:

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

@Joeyoe31 said:

@Yummylee said:

It's just another term for Hack n Slash games really.

Normally I just call games of that genre action adventure games. But I guess it really comes down to preference...

I would say an action adventure game is Uncharted or Assassin's Creed. Man, someone really needs to reinvent the way we do genres for video games. Action adventure and Character Action don't cut it for me.

Funny you say this because Uncharted and Assassins Creed aren't even similar games at all.

Uncharted is just a third person shooter.

Assassins Creed is action adventure. And is that like Ninja Gaiden or God of War? No.

The definitions make sense.

Not to try and start a definition war here, but I'd say Uncharted is also an action/adventure series. For as much shooting there is, there's also plenty of platforming and puzzle elements right alongside as well. Much more so than something like Gears, which is perhaps more easily recognised as a straight third-person shooter.

Eh yeah definition war. I see your point but the central action by far is shooting, so to me it's a shooter.

@Video_Game_King said:

@ArtisanBreads:

I'd say the "action" label is as broad a term as "sports" is. It can encompass a ton of things, but it works because it's still exclusive enough not to be utterly useless.

If we are putting Gears and CoD under the action label it seems kind of useless to me.

Anyways, definition wars left and right. It's ultimately not very important. I think Character Action is pretty well defined.

#34 Posted by Video_Game_King (34613 posts) -

@ArtisanBreads:

That's why you subdivide. "Shooter" would still be under "action", since action is still the focus within shooters, but not all action games focus on shooting.

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#35 Posted by Scrawnto (2413 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@ArtisanBreads:

I'd say the "action" label is as broad a term as "sports" is. It can encompass a ton of things, but it works because it's still exclusive enough not to be utterly useless.

Agreed. Not all genres have the same granularity. There are sub-genres and sub-genres of sub-genres. "Action" is pretty much right at the broadest level, alongside "Puzzle".

#36 Edited by Joeyoe31 (820 posts) -

@ArtisanBreads said:

@Video_Game_King said:

@ArtisanBreads:

I'd say the "action" label is as broad a term as "sports" is. It can encompass a ton of things, but it works because it's still exclusive enough not to be utterly useless.

If we are putting Gears and CoD under the action label it seems kind of useless to me.

Anyways, definition wars left and right. It's ultimately not very important.

The term "Rock" in music is used as a giant overarching genre for other subgenre's that go into it. Usually you can get a very basic idea of what it is but if you really want to know what this particular piece of music is you have to go to sub genres within the Rock category.

Just giving an example.

#37 Posted by FloppyDog (9 posts) -

A lot of video game "genres" have pretty dumb names as they are often unclear but "character action" has been a pretty established thing since the early 00's. This whole thread is kinda confusing to me. I thought "character action" was a well known enough term that people who post on a video game message board would know what it means.

#38 Posted by Hailinel (22712 posts) -

@FloppyDog said:

A lot of video game "genres" have pretty dumb names as they are often unclear but "character action" has been a pretty established thing since the early 00's. This whole thread is kinda confusing to me. I thought "character action" was a well known enough term that people who post on a video game message board would know what it means.

What?

#39 Posted by Scrawnto (2413 posts) -

Hahaha, according to this patent, a character action game is:

A game involving the insertion of items into an open receptacle connected to an elongated member that is removably mounted on a hollow body containing a mechanism for effecting movement of the body relative to a playing surface. As the body moves about the playing surface, the elongated member, which is sufficient rigid to support the receptacle spaced from the body, is sufficiently flexible so that the receptacle moves asynchronously with respect to the body as a result of the movement of the body. The elongated member is hollow and receives items through an opening in the back of the receptacle. To facilitate storage of the game and emptying of the items from the elongated member, it is removably mounted to the body. Players are provided with a device to use in inserting the items into the receptacle and try to be the first to dispose of the items allocated to them.

Try and parse that, suckers.

#40 Posted by TrafalgarLaw (864 posts) -

A genre Hideo Kojima will pioneer with MGS: Rising. Tactical Character Action.

Brad has been payed to use that catch-phrase.

#41 Posted by Slag (3345 posts) -

The term which I hadn't heard of before is just as silly as "Hero Action Game", which I've heard used to describe MOBA/DotA games.

#42 Posted by Video_Game_King (34613 posts) -

@TrafalgarLaw:

Who are you mocking? Hideo Kojima or Brad Shoemaker?

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#43 Posted by mosespippy (3751 posts) -

@Sooty said:

Sounds dumb and I've never heard it before.

I was listening to some 2009 bombcasts and they used it, so I bet you've heard it before. Brad had discovered LOL and HON. MOBA hadn't been an established term yet. They were talking about possible names for the DOTA clone genre and Vinny suggested Hero Action Game, which they rejected because it was too similar to the already existing Character Action Game.

#44 Edited by TrafalgarLaw (864 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@TrafalgarLaw:

Who are you mocking? Hideo Kojima or Brad Shoemaker?

It's a pun on Brad allegedly being payed to give DmC 5 stars (please don't kill me GiantBomb Defense Force :( :( )...and also pun on Hideo...

#45 Posted by Barrock (3525 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

Imagine it as the 3D successor the beat-em-up genre. Focus is on a single character in physical combat against a large amount of enemies building up combos and beating off guys in every direction. While the combat systems can be deep, this doesn't have to be the case. Examples of character action games include Devil May Cry (obviously), El Shaddai, Asura's Wrath (at least in brief instances), No More Heroes, and Bayonetta.

Oh my.

#46 Posted by Video_Game_King (34613 posts) -

@Barrock:

Congratulations. I was waiting for somebody to call me out on my sexual innuendo.

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#47 Posted by Barrock (3525 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Barrock:

Congratulations. I was waiting for somebody to call me out on my sexual innuendo.

Was really surprised it took 3 pages. I even searched each page. Sad state of affairs.

Excited about DMC. Demo is absolutely gorgeous and was a lot of fun.

#48 Posted by PandaBear (1264 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

Imagine it as the 3D successor the beat-em-up genre. Focus is on a single character in physical combat against a large amount of enemies building up combos and beating off guys in every direction. While the combat systems can be deep, this doesn't have to be the case. Examples of character action games include Devil May Cry (obviously), El Shaddai, Asura's Wrath (at least in brief instances), No More Heroes, and Bayonetta.

Nailed it.

#49 Posted by zerdune (150 posts) -

I 've always thought these games as 3D beat 'em ups. "Character action" sounds something Brad made up. Never heard the term used elsewhere.

#50 Posted by BlackLagoon (1322 posts) -

@zerdune: But 3D brawlers/beat 'em ups already exist (Yakuza for example). IMO "character action" games have protagonists that are much more agile and have attacks with more reach than in the traditional beat 'em up.

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