#1 Posted by Lozz (301 posts) -

Just read the MGS Revengeance review and Jeff mentioned that it is a character action game. I believe the first time I heard that phrase was in Brads DMC review. Surely it's just an action game? I mean we don't call Halo a character first person shooter even though it features one of the most popular video game characters of all time. Anyone else confused by this? I don't read many other sites so I don't know if this is a GB thing or more widespread.

#2 Edited by MikeJFlick (424 posts) -

I'm not quite sure what character action is.... but I believe it's devil may cry, god of war maybe even dynasty warrior style games where it's combo action sort of gameplay.

#3 Posted by Icemael (6269 posts) -

"Character action game" is a term the crew made up some time ago. It pretty much just means "3D beat 'em up".

#4 Posted by EVO (3781 posts) -

Character action game sounds dumb. Hack n slash is much better.

#5 Posted by Lozz (301 posts) -

I just feel like it doesn't really make any sense. DMC is either an action game or hack n slash. I don't feel like the character has anything to do with it.

#6 Posted by MooseyMcMan (9743 posts) -

@lozz said:

I just feel like it doesn't really make any sense. DMC is either an action game or hack n slash. I don't feel like the character has anything to do with it.

No, it doesn't make any sense, but the GB crew seems to like using that phrase, and us talking about how little sense it makes isn't going to get them to stop.

You're better off just getting used to them using that phrase.

#7 Posted by Village_Guy (2405 posts) -

I've heard character action game plenty of times, as far as I can tell it just means "a third person (often) melee focused action game".

#8 Posted by BionicRadd (617 posts) -

hack n slash usually refers to loot-driven diablo clones. I don't blame them for coming up with a new way to describe what I usually refer to as Ninja Gaiden clones. Third Person Brawler would have been ok, but implies a focus on hand-to-hand fighting, ala Arkham Asylum. Character action game as a catchall for games like AA as well as games that follow in the DMC or Ninja Gaiden tradition seems as good as anything else to me.

#9 Posted by Yummylee (20571 posts) -

Why should it matter if it necessarily makes absolute sense or not? It's just shorthand for a series of games; when someone says this game is a ''character-action game'', that should automatically fill you in on what type of game it is. Hack n Slash doesn't work, either because you've then got something like DMC and the Koei Warriors series coexisting in the same genre. And that just feels wrong. It'd be like somebody shovelling kart racers in with hardcore driving sims.

Sure, character-action may not be entirely ideal, but lo-and-behold, video game genres are kinda fucked so we work with what we've got.

#10 Posted by GetEveryone (4454 posts) -

@yummylee: There's just a sort of dissonance between the established nomenclature of (just-plain) 'action games' or 'Hack n Slash', versus the pretty redundant insertion of 'character' into the former.

It's splitting hairs, but it does grate a little when the GB crew harp on about the lack of an identifiable genre term when we've always made do with the above.

#11 Posted by GunstarRed (4731 posts) -

I'm pretty certain I once read an interview with the dude in charge of Sonic calling Sonic Colours a character action game which muddles everything up. I don't mind the term, it's silly, but I know what kind of a game you're talking about the instant I hear it. I remember when people used to call games like Street Fighter Beat-em-ups, It really doesn't matter.

Now if only people can stop saying Metroidvania...

#12 Posted by Demoskinos (13853 posts) -

Quoting from another post from the MGS:Rising board:

Character action game has always made sense to me because they are action games about learning to master a given character. Ninja Gaiden is a character action game whose character you learn to action the game with is Ryu Hayabusa. DMC3 is Dante, DMC4 is Dante and Nero, Bayonetta is Bayonetta, Rising is Raiden. Hack and slash sounds too mindless, like a Dynasty Warriors game. Beat em ups are games like Double Dragon or Streets of Rage.

#13 Edited by Yummylee (20571 posts) -

@yummylee: There's just a sort of dissonance between the established nomenclature of (just-plain) 'action games' or 'Hack n Slash', versus the pretty redundant insertion of 'character' into the former.

It's splitting hairs, but it does grate a little when the GB crew harp on about the lack of an identifiable genre term when we've always made do with the above.

Was it really the GB crew who invented the phrase? I could have sworn that I've heard elsewhere before. Anywhoo way I see it is Action is the primary genre title, and stuff like character-action/hack n slash/beat em up are its sub-genres. The addition of ''character'' to make up the DMC's and GoW's... doesn't make that much sense, though, I agree. It may be down to how the action is defined by the character itself; Kratos has his own fighting style and uses weapons his own way, same with Dante, Nero, Vergil, Bayonetta, Raiden, Juliet Starling and so on. It's meant to infer that there's a lot more depth and nuance to the fighting system than just randomly mashing the square button, so I think a separate name for those sorts of games should definitely exist alongside the hack n slashing Dynasty Warriors and Onechanbaras.

As it is, though, I'd say character-action fits if only for simplicities sake.

#14 Posted by Brodehouse (9370 posts) -

"Hack 'n' Slash" does not make sense. It presupposes that every character uses a sword. Batman uses his fists. Does he hack and slash with his hands?

Character Action makes sense in that it is a shorter descriptive term for a melee focused 3D action game. In the same way that Cover Based Shooter describes a third person shooting game well enough for easy understanding, Survival Horror describes an action-adventure game well enough, Point-And-Click Adventure describes an adventure game well enough. And ultimately they all mean "Gears style", "Resident Evil style" and "LucasArts style".

There's no reason to dislike the term used for classification as long as it is being appropriately used to classify things. I really dislike Hack n Slash as a term because its descriptively useless. It gets used for everything from Character Action, to Sidescrolling Brawlers, to Diablo Clones (the term 'action RPG' itself is so wide as to be as useless in specific as 'action adventure').

Instead of character action you could call it flibbity flobbity floo, and I won't care as long as we are accurately placing games into the flibbity flobbity floo genre. If it plays like God of War, Devil May Cry, or Arkham Asylum, or somewhere in between, it probably qualifies as character action.

Dynasty Warriors would qualify, it's just very low quality. Genre does not make a value proposition. Character action doesn't necessarily mean Good.

#15 Edited by Miketakon (512 posts) -

Pretty sure DMC and Bayonetta are considered Stylish action games.

#16 Edited by Nux (2207 posts) -

I feel like this "what is a character action game" thread and the guys response to it has already been done already. Maybe I'm just going crazy. Also I'm pretty sure that they already said that they didn't invent the phrase and that it is an industry phrase.

#17 Edited by Pr1mus (3513 posts) -

I heard for the first time in Brad's DmC review and have hated the term since then. I still wake up at night to hate it!

#18 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1357 posts) -

I only know the term because I’ve seen it explained in other threads. I’d call it an action/hack-and-slash game, but genres are so wishy-washy that it’s hard to get worked up about them.

Patrick referred to Sly 4 as a “character-based platformer” (or something similar) in its Quick Look, which struck me as way more goofy and unnecessary.

#19 Edited by MikkaQ (10224 posts) -