The Problem With Cutscenes

 I wrote an essay on cutscenes a while back.  I recorded it and put in on youtube.  In my attempts to get it out there, I've had a few views, but would like to have more.  In depth discussion of video games is what they need to be seen as an art medium or even a legitimate form of expression.   

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-0_sak3VAo  
 
And now I am being a pretentious jackass .   In any case, if anyone else has any essays they've written, I'd be stoked to check them out so please direct me to them.    

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Street Fighter IV and the quality of charm


I purchased a used copy of Street Fighter IV several months ago.  It didn't grab me.  It seemed horribly complicated and I only played it for a few hours, snagging only one achievement for completing a challenge room. I was a Mortal Kombat guy, anyway. 
 
However, after reading about the relationship and Japanese name switching between Vega, M. Bison and Balrog, my interest was rekindled.  It is a silly reason to experience a rennaisance, but, there you have it.  I have now received two more acievements and I am still not any good at the game.  Why do I keep playing it? 
 
Probably just for the cutsecnes and rediculous nature of the plot threads.  I've beated arcade mode on "medium" with four characters:  Ken, Ryu, Vega, and M. Bison.  I don't have an interest in being able to pull off the moves at will, much less actually learn frame counts and reconize the need to cancel out of moves.  But I keep putting hours and hours into the arcade mode with a feverish "get through with just one more character" mentality.  I can only liken this obsession to harvest moon: " I HAVE to get this crop of potatoes in.  I just NEED to. "
 
The truth is I've been charmed.  The art style and flat out rediculous nature have me hooked, at least for a few days at least.  If you'll excuse me, I have to swear at the screen some more and get back to playing exclusively with the left analog stick and right trigger and bumper.
 

 

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Highway to Hell

So there, I am standing in best buy.  Today is payday... and  I really should be saving toward next month's rent and not counting on my tax rebate getting in by then.  But no.  There it is, Fear 2... I hadn't realized it was realeased. But no, I decide I don't need it.  Save your money.  You have Killzone pre-ordered.

When what to my wonder should appear but Brothers in Arms: Hells Highway limited edition for 50 bucks.  I know nothing about the series.  "Wow," I think to myself, "50 dollars is cheap for a collector's edition" My inner monologue doesn't actually read the difference between the words "collector's" and "limited"

A generic WW2 shooter you might say?  I don't know, I haven't played it yet.  But I gots me a 6 inch action figure of a WWII soldier and that is pretty damn cool.  I still have Call of Duty: World at War rented... I shouldn't have bought it... but yay for impulse purchases... guess I'll see.  That was a lot of ellipses.  What is the plural of ellipsis?  is it just Ellipsis?  Am I even spelling Ellipsis correctly?  Word up?  no red line.  cool.  No matter, I've got one and a half hours of gaming to do before I have to drive to Emmett to eat dinner with the parents.  Worst case scenario,  l'll trade in the game towards Killzone and keep the action figure.  action figures are sooooo much cooler than figurines (Capcom... take note... 90 bucks is a horrible price for a crappy bunch of extras in the Res 5 special edition).

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Resident Evil 5 demo, Resident Evil 4 vs Deadspace- revisited

Ok, so now I have played the Resident Evil 5 demo and... well, it felt a lot like Resident Evil 4.  A friggin beautiful, hand-your-ass-to-you Resident Evil 4, but the feeling was still there.

The demo was difficult, it was kind of the anti-twitch shooter.  The zombies are slow, but so are you.  With inventory control and ordering Sheva around, it felt a little complicated.  The gameplay in Resident Evil 4 felt revolutionary, but in 5 (so far) they just feel kinda sluggish.  This is the last game they will be able to get away with forced stop-moving-to-shoot mechanics.  Frankly, gameplay felt last gen, adding complexity to simulate realism.  Current gen can afford to be more intuitive.

Dead Space had a similar control scheme, but the Dead Space controls felt better.  The Resident Evil context-sensitive melee moves are not as cool as stomping limbs off.  Being able to creep down a hallway with my gun drawn didn't hurt the presentation in any way.  The extra frills in Resident Evil 5's controls hinder it.

Graphically, Dead Space isn't as good as Res 5, but  what is? The game is so pretty, I tried to get it drunk and take it home.

I'm still keeping my pre-order of Res 5 and will get it day 1.  I'll enjoy the hell out of it... but so far, I'm more of a Dead Space guy.  If I wanted to stomp a dude, I just did it, as opposed to thinking about shooting them in the leg, running up and contextually uppercutting him.  I could back-peddle while shooting rather than stopping.  The Res 5 demo was hard and a little frusterating.  I didn't want to die because it kind of felt like a chore. 

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Dead Space Completed... Resident Evil 4... 5?

All right, check it...

I just finished Dead Space for the first time last night... in a dark room with a tv on the floor.  Kinda friggin' creepy... Chapter 10 in particular.  56 percent of the trophies.  One gun.  Awesome.

Totally deserved the nom for GOTY.  The gameplay was fantastic, though it was comparable to Resident Evil 4:   3rd person behind the back, hold trigger to raise weapon, melee.  I enjoyed the hell out of Res 4 on the Cube and again on the PS2, but it simply didn't pull off what Dead Space did.  Pulling of a context-sensitive suplex isn't the same as manually stomping some dude's arm off.  Resident Evil 4 was terrifying at he beginning but eventuall became far too outlandish to keep me scared.  Still fantastic, but not scary.

I'm not being critical of the Resident Evil Series: different generations.

But what does this say for Res 5?  The gameplay footage up here looks pretty.  But it still appears to be the same gameplay as Resident Evil 4.  Dead Space did appear to be as generic as hell, but everyone was amazed when it came out... so Res 5 will do the same.  It simply doesn't seem to do anything new.  I'm hoping it will have that intangible quality that made Dead Space so great.  I've got a PS3 so I won't be trying the Demo for a bit... Oh well. maybe my opinion will change.

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