What's the "Character Action Genre?"

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#51 Posted by Icemael (6364 posts) -

It's a worse name for the 3D beat 'em up genre.

#52 Posted by DeF (4975 posts) -

@Joeyoe31 said:

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?

Character-based third-person action games that are not shooters. It's a pretty stupid name but at this point, almost none of the genre names makes much sense anymore.

#53 Posted by Shady (503 posts) -

Is that what Zelda is? I got tired of calling it a RPG.

#54 Edited by SlashDance (1843 posts) -

I heard it so much on GB that I found myself using it one time in conversation. Nobody knew what the fuck I was talking about.

#55 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4701 posts) -

@Shady said:

Is that what Zelda is? I got tired of calling it a RPG.

Zelda is far from a character action game. The focus in Character actions games in on the combat. Zelda could either fit into the super broad, action adventure genre or it own thing. Who care, really.

#56 Posted by believer258 (12184 posts) -

@Scrawnto said:

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.

So that's why so many character action game, uh, characters are such dicks.

#57 Posted by Gaff (1881 posts) -
@Scrawnto

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.

"MOVING character action" game. What the patent basically describes is a three dimensional Operation clone. Also: this is why the patent system is broken.
#58 Posted by GunstarRed (5450 posts) -

It's a dumb term but better than dodge-roll-slice-slice-slice-em-up.

#59 Posted by audioBusting (1672 posts) -

I've only heard of this term used on Game Center CX before the review came out. Maybe it's more used in the Japanese game industry.

#60 Posted by Brodehouse (10128 posts) -

A character action game is an third person action game based around the intricacies of mostly melee combat featuring a specific playable character, with other elements optional (shooting, exploration, platforming/traversal, puzzles).

Uncharted is not a character action game, it's a third person shooter with elements of melee, platforming and puzzles. Assassin's Creed could be described as character action, but is really more of an action-adventure, it elevates the traversal portion as being equal if not higher than pure combat mechanics.


I want to make a big post about this, but essentially there are three master gameplay types; action (challenges dictated by use of inputs/controllers), adventure (challenges dictated by use of logic or exploration), and RPG (challenges dictated by use of controllable statistics). Most games have a blend of these varieties of gameplay, and most specific gameplay variants blend them. Maybe I will type that up.

#61 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@Brodehouse:

How would strategy or puzzle or sports fall into any of that? Maybe it's just a problem with the terminologies.

#62 Posted by TheHT (11775 posts) -

Hack n' slash, action/adventure, 3D brawler, character action. All are generally fine classifications for it.

Though I tend to associate things like Dynasty Warriors with "hack n' slash", things like Assassin's Creed and Arkham City with "action/adventure", things like God Hand with "3D brawler", and things like Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden with "character action".

@_@

#63 Posted by probablytuna (3822 posts) -

Yeah I don't think I ever read the term 'character action game' in any video game articles/reviews before the DMC review. That or I never realised it was there.

#64 Posted by CornBREDX (5987 posts) -

I find it weird people haven't heard this term before.  
To be fair though, it hasn't been used in a while. I'm pretty sure it was first coined when Devil May Cry first came out in 2001 or whatever it was.  
 
It defines a more complex action game then a standard 2d brawler, but not quite an action adventure. Whereas Uncharted or Assassin's creed are more an action adventure (in scope and game play), Devil May Cry, God of War, or Bayonetta are more character action games. The focus is more on melee and combos as opposed to gun play and positioning. 
 
That's how I've always understood it anyway.  
There is too many sub genres, in games, though. I like to keep it simple, but sometimes that doesn't explain enough (such as DmCs focus on combos and upgrade system). So complicated.

#65 Posted by SomeJerk (3389 posts) -

Character driven, action genre.

#66 Posted by Brodehouse (10128 posts) -
@Video_Game_King

@Brodehouse:

How would strategy or puzzle or sports fall into any of that? Maybe it's just a problem with the terminologies.

Puzzles require logic, thus qualify as the adventure category.

Strategy is a little harder, but it depends on the elements actually within those games. Real time strategy would qualify as action, adept use of inputs is required, whereas turn based would not (unless it comes with weird QTE-esque mini games like 'pump up your attack!'). For games that actually require exploration and the processing of new ideas based on new information presented, adventure would qualify. Something like Civ would have that end to it, an arena based RTS might not depending on how randomization works in that game. Lastly, RPG depends on both the use of statistics to overcome challenges, and the players control of them. The ability to choose what to do with your 200 resource pool, whether to build a Hoplite with 40 attack or an Archer with 30 but 10 range qualifies as video game RPG. However, something like chess, where each piece essentially has 1 hit point, and you have no control over how many get played, and no control over their statistical properties, is a purely puzzle game, and thus purely in the adventure master category.

And yes, the vast majority of modern games bleed from all these genres now. I think Gabe Newell said, RPG is no longer a pure genre, it's now an element of others. He's not wrong, but he's not thinking of the wider picture. Dragon Age is not purely an RPG in the same way Borderlands is not purely an action game. Action as a pure genre is limited to one-on-one fighting games, arcade racers and corridor shooters. Once you tune a car you've got an RPG element, an open world with hidden collectibles you have adventure elements.

Exciting stuff.
#67 Posted by Klei (1768 posts) -

@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

I'd class Castlevania and God of War in the '' action adventure '' category. It's more about the surroundings than the characters themselves.

#68 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (1932 posts) -

@TrafalgarLaw said:

@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...

Wow. So a bunch of whiners that disagree with a review of a game they haven't played yell and scream about corruption with no evidence other than their hurt feelings and that is enough to say Brad was "allegedly" paid off? Baseless claims with no evidence or justification are not allegations. It's entirely possible for someone to like something without being on the take.

Also, preemptively dismissing anyone to call you out on your bullshit as part of the "Giant Bomb Defense Force" doesn't make it any less bullshit.

#69 Edited by Scrawnto (2466 posts) -

@Video_Game_King : I think sports could arguably be considered part of action, as they are generally challenges of dexterity. I do think puzzle and strategy have to be high level categories though. I'd hardly call Picross an adventure game, and I also think it would be odd to call Star Craft an action game but Advance Wars a puzzle game. Perhaps puzzle and strategy could be combined into some sort of vague "logic and reasoning" category, in the way linguistics has the "Indo-European language" category that covers over 400 languages and dialects.

@CornBREDX: Yeah, there's obviously tons of overlap and hybridization between all of these things. There will never be clearly defined walls between the genres, because as soon as you try to build them, developers will see an avenue for innovation in breaking down the walls. That's what makes them interesting to think about for me.

Edit: I think you are mad if you say adventure contains puzzle and thereby chess. I think puzzle has to be the broader category, with adventure being a hybrid puzzle/action genre.

Double Edit!:

allegation

noun

°An assertion, especially an accusation, not necessarily based on facts.

"She put forth several allegations regarding her partner in hopes of discrediting his actions."

°The act of alleging.

Emphasis added by me

#70 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@Scrawnto:

I'd just say that the issue could be solved entirely just by using "puzzle" instead of "adventure", since the former is far more inclusive.

#71 Posted by Tackchevy (266 posts) -

Awesome. A new phrase is born. I want to be part of this:

The character action genre could be defined as heavily combat centric, with a contemporary emphasis on visual spectacle or style. Plots are often cheesy, and often intentionally so. An outgrowth branch of SMU/BMU, it existed as an amorphous shadow for many years until being reconstituted by Brad.

This genre is distinct from games with similar elements, such as Action Adventure (Uncharted) or Metroidvania (Dark Souls)

#72 Posted by Scrawnto (2466 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: I would not be opposed to that proposition.

#73 Posted by Brodehouse (10128 posts) -
@Scrawnto No, I think you're confusing 'adventure' as an overall category with 'point and click adventure' or 'text adventure'. Point and click adventure games have two gameplay premises; exploring the options in an environment, and figuring out the string of logic to progress, which we refer to as 'adventure game puzzles'.

I suppose what you want to do is separate the 'use of logic' qualifier from the 'exploration' qualifier, whereas I see the use of 'adventure' to itself qualify 'there will be puzzles and/or exploration as a means to progress'. Something like Zelda, or pre-levelling up guns Resident Evil, where action, exploration and logic are all required fits as action-adventure. I could be talked into action-adventure-puzzle, but it feels unnecessary.

Also remember that we're specifically talking the VIDEO GAME descriptions of these genres. In tabletop, RPG has nothing to do with statistics, it has to do with actually playing an avatar in fiction. But for video games, we take RPG to mean "you will have controllable statistics" even if there's no actual role playing.

And sorry, I missed the sports thing; old sports games were purely action games. Mash the button, wait for the timing, etc. modern sports games are clearly action RPGs. Levelling up my wide receiver is no different from levelling up Commander Shepard.
#74 Posted by Tackchevy (266 posts) -

Also, who can I contact to get paid in order to highly review a game? I've got five stars just waiting to be doled out for your party games, horseback riding simulators, and all generally derivative non-efforts. By all accounts DmC seems to be Good-to-Great at worst, but I'm willing to put out for anything. Bring me your Kane and Lynch'es, whatever. I got bills to pay.

#75 Posted by Scrawnto (2466 posts) -

@Brodehouse: I just think Adventure makes more sense as section of the jumbled Venn diagram of video games where puzzle and exploration (which I concede as defining feature of adventure) meet, rather than a huge circle surrounding all of Chess, Tetris, the Legend of Zelda, and Escape from Monkey Island.

#76 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11390 posts) -

I hate that term, but there's no use trying to get people to stop using it because it's not really descriptive enough.

#77 Posted by Brodehouse (10128 posts) -
@Scrawnto it is kind of the thing when you have such broad genres that are based on somewhat abstract solutions to challenges within games. And being that there's only three and games can fit in all three, they're more for a philosophical descriptor rather than an effective, day-to-day one.

For instance, God of War is easily described as an action game. But it does take adventure and RPG elements, it has light exploration (not much, but some) and a bit of levelling up... it also has some of the most wonderful puzzles I've been presented with. In a game we'd easily mark 'action'

The hybrid descriptor is generally for the games where the elements feel inextricable, or at least perfectly balanced with each other. Zelda's action combat and adventure puzzles and open world perfectly compliment each other, Mass Effect's action shooting and RPG statistics feed into each other. Thus, action-adventure, action-RPG. The problem is the full blend, all three sauces; something like Skyrim. Certainly the RPG is very prevalent, but you can't play that game without solving logic puzzles or hitting buttons properly.

Fucking hell I love talking about the philosophy of game design.
#78 Posted by upwarDBound (654 posts) -

According to Giant Bomb they're 3-D action adventure brawlers. As far as I know Devil May Cry was the first game to use this particular formula with Ninja Gaiden for Xbox and God of War following suit.

It's really a pretty terrible name for a genre though. I've heard Sonic the Hedgehog referred to as a "character action" game and it makes just as much sense.

#79 Posted by kgb0515 (405 posts) -

I like the term "kicky, punchy, stabby, shooty game" better, or KPSS. It could work.

#80 Posted by aquamarin (555 posts) -

It's an action game in which you play as a over-the-top character and you run around the streets doing combos and QTE's on enemies.

#81 Edited by TrafalgarLaw (1353 posts) -

@ll_Exile_ll said:

@TrafalgarLaw said:

@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...

Wow. So a bunch of whiners that disagree with a review of a game they haven't played yell and scream about corruption with no evidence other than their hurt feelings and that is enough to say Brad was "allegedly" paid off? Baseless claims with no evidence or justification are not allegations. It's entirely possible for someone to like something without being on the take.

Also, preemptively dismissing anyone to call you out on your bullshit as part of the "Giant Bomb Defense Force" doesn't make it any less bullshit.

Did I anywhere say I believe that Brad was payed off? Oh man, you guise...chill the fuck down. I guess someone is upset his internet hero has been used in a joke.

#82 Posted by deerokus (568 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.

Lords Management, please

#83 Posted by Nettacki (1320 posts) -

I prefer the term "Spectacle fighter."

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