Posts Tagged ‘dante’s inferno

18
Nov
10

Cinematic Game Play and Signal Scrambling

And that's how we got cyclopes

My eye! Belmont! You dick!

During the previous two generations of games, cut-scenes and full-motion video were greeted with groans and disdain.  Criticized for wresting control away from the player and forcing them to watch sub-par movies; they could become a tedious experience.  It’s a design practice that lingers in only the most firmly established franchises such as Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy.  But even then, their relevance is waning.  Have designers seen the light and steered their games towards more interactive experiences?  Kind of.

The HD era of video games has allowed developers to meld the cinematic with the interactive.  It’s a better idea than inundating the player with cut-scenes, but it’s still a practice that manages to drag down a good number of games.  In my own recent experience, I’d say that it has spoiled Dante’s Inferno, Lords of Shadow, and Vanquish.  How exactly?  Well, cinematic sequences are meant to be watched; meaning they will distract the player from what’s important to game play, by design.

Only in the case of Modern Warfare 2, mostly because Infinity Ward seemed to successfully take into mind that they don’t want to punish players for taking in the sights.  Critical, cinematic game play moments were exciting, but not really challenging.  You were only fooled into believing it is a challenging scene.  In contrast, the other examples I listed make some of the most challenging moments cinematic ones as well.

In Vanquish, the frenzy of action on the screen at any given time only serves to distract me from the fact that an instant death lay only a moment away.  With Lords of Shadow, I was expected to perform dramatic QTEs to finish off bosses.  If I failed, then I would be punished not only with having to try the sequence again, but also by the fact that the boss would have some of its health restored.  And finally, with Dante’s Inferno, I would  completely forget about poor Dante when the camera zoomed out to reveal incredible landscapes.  Other times camera angle prevented me from being able to judge depth at all, leading to many pitfall deaths.

It certainly looks nice, but it’s only trivially more interactive than cut scenes and FMVs since the player’s ability to gauge what to do ends up being severely hampered.  Nothing gets me to be frustrated with a game more quickly then poor signalling, and I’m certain that it’s a major contributing factor to the times when a game feels like it’s being “cheap.”  “Cinematic” games are this generation’s FMV.

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07
Oct
10

Lords of Shadow

"My name is Vamp. You are the Solid Snake of Christmas past! Hop on my back."

I’ve played through the demo for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, and I’ve picked up the full game from Gamefly.  I’ve been really looking forward to the game.  The trailers have been very promising (at least to me).  I’ve always enjoyed the metroidvania branch of the series, and bore with the PS2 3D iterations as well.  Unfortunately, I think my optimism about Lords of Shadow is misplaced.  The game looks and sounds great for the most part, but the story so far is copy/pasted from Van Helsing, and the game play has been uninspiring.  The real kicker is the game’s quick time events, which are liberally spread about the game.  I think QTEs can work when the player has been adequately signaled, and when they reward you for successfully executing them.  So far, LoS just throws them at me constantly.  If I complete it, then I get to continue.  If I screw up, I get penalized.  It’s not fun.  As Jim Sterling put it on twitter: “Lords of Shadow isn’t Castlevania. It’s Dante’s Inferno (but worse).

It’s a stone’s throw away from being bearable, but as it stands, LoS is tiring.  I’ll stick with it for a while, but it’s disappointing.  It’s definitely evident that a lot of work was put into it.  It’s an attractive game, but it’s not the game that I envisioned.  Maybe it will pick up later.  In the mean time, it’s a chore.

07
Jul
10

Spoilers: Things I wish that Dante’s Inferno would have done

Dante’s Inferno was on the edge of doing some very cool stuff, but it just didn’t quite make it.  Obviously, I’m going to include spoilers in this post.  So you’ve been warned.

Continue reading ‘Spoilers: Things I wish that Dante’s Inferno would have done’

05
Jul
10

Dante’s Inferno Complete

Kick his ass Dante.

Kick his ass Dante.

I finished the game despite my previous entry on it. I have similar feelings about it as with Final Fantasy XIII. Lots of wasted potential for a game that ends up consumed with itself. When I think of something cool about the game, I think of what could have been and not what is. I’m not the biggest fan of God of War style games, so I may not have the best eye for this stuff. That being said, it also seems like a rip off of God of War in almost every way. When it comes to basic combat, that’s mostly a good thing.

When it comes to presentation it either comes off as inappropriate or lazy. Just substitute hell for olympus and you’ve got Dante’s Inferno. But where Greek Mythology seems like fertile territory for epic battles between Gods and the like, Inferno is a place for dread and fear, neither of which I felt were part of the game. The God of War approach does incidentally provide some striking scenes, but when you boil it down, Dante’s Inferno is 95% about God of War and 5% The Divine Comedy. And that 95% portion isn’t done very well either.

03
Jul
10

Dante’s wicked rad adventures

I’ve had as much as I can deal with from Dante’s Inferno.  From all appearances, I’m supposed to be taking it entirely seriously.  But as evidenced by Dante rampaging through hell, punishing unbaptized babies by tearing them into pieces, I don’t think Visceral was as serious about the Divine Comedy as they expect the audience to be towards their game.  And even if I am in hell, I’m not really interested in solving it’s stupid puzzles.

I think I’ll just stick to the Dante of Devil May Cry.  At least then I can be entertained while everyone acts like idiots.




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