A Million People Can Be Wrong

26 Jun

I’d like to briefly address an issue that’s been bothering me lately.

Yes, you can skip the cutscenes in MGS4. No, that does not forgive the ridiculous length of the cutscenes in MGS4.

Seriously, this should never come up in every popular gaming blogs’ posts that have the slightest bit to do with MGS4…but it does, every. single. time.

You don’t play a Metal Gear Solid game for the gameplay, at least not at first, and Guns of the Patriots is no exception. If you were to do that and skip every cutscene, you’d (still) have no idea what was going on and you’d find that the game is lot shorter than expected.

Basically, my point is that you play for the plot, but if the plot forces players to sit and wish they could be participating, there’s something wrong with that plot, or at least with the way it’s being handled. This brings me to a point I’ve been trying to explain to various people lately.

A game should not be a movie in disguise; it should be a game. Games were meant to be played. If you want to convert your entry in the medium into a movie-like experience, you should still place your focus on the gameplay. Otherwise, you’ve made some type of interactive movie that occassionally asks for your input. More importantly, though, a game’s plot should make sense with the gameplay.

Snake does not have time to have codec conversations about the colonel’s new wife in the middle of an active battle field with enemy helicopters patrolling overhead. I also like to think Snake’s a bit better than the silly plot tries to portray him as. Don’t make the M4 available to me if it’ll magically disappear in an early cutscene that could have otherwise ended the entire game before the second act even started.

It’s like the classic movie cliche’ of the bad guy leaving the good guy alive even though he’s been trying to kill him during the entire movie. Problem is, this cliche’ is ten times worse in video games since movies can have relatively few physical conflicts opposed to most video games where you’ll slaughter hundreds before the credits roll.

You have to build your plot and gameplay together so that both are thrilling and don’t sap the integrity of the other. MGS4 failed in this regard, but that won’t stop people from singing its praises across the internet.

Oh, and one more thing (which Adam Sessler commented on a while back after he was attacked for his Crisis Core review), just because a game is receiving relatively good scores from many reviewers, doesn’t invalidate the opinion that a game isn’t good. It’s pretty hypocritical actually considering the massive shitstorms reviewers get hit with nearly every month. So now you respect their opinions? How convenient.

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